Mondello Park - April 19th
The Leastone team continued their solid start to the 2015 season at Mondello last weekend during round 3 of the Irish Formula Vee Championship. Qualifying was scheduled for Saturday but a timing glitch saw it cancellation and due to time constraints on Sunday morning, grid positions were decided on national championship positions. This left Des Foley 3rd on the grid for the heat, with team mate Brendan O’Brien back on the 5th row, due to his previous DNF.
O’Brien made a good start, moving up inside the top 6 in the early stages while Foley wasted no time in dispatching second place man with an aggressive move before setting off for the race lead. While Foley harried lead man Anthony Cross, the slowed pace bunched up the entire top 6, which meant that Des had to have one eye on his mirrors, while trying to find a way into the lead.
The race was punctuated by the appearance of the safety car, in order to recover a car stopped at Turn 1. This was quickly dealt with and the field was back racing within two laps. Foley stepped up the intensity and continued to try all sorts of lines in order to find a way by the lead car, which was putting up an impressive defence. O’Brien was the 6th car in the lead train after the safety car and managed to squeeze his way into 5th, not long after the lights went out
Foley eventually found a way into lead, with a diving move around the outside under braking into Turn 1, even completing the move before the apex! Unfortunately the 4th place man lost a wheel at turn 2, causing Brendan to spin in avoidance. This brought out the red flag and the count back was unfortunate for Des as it dropped him to 2nd but fortunate for his team mate, as it gave him back his hard earned 5th place.
Even still Des Foley took full points in the Finol Star of Tomorrow championship, giving him 3 maximum scores from the opening 3 rounds.
Colm Blackburn was straight through to the main event, thanks to his National Championship status but even so, he lined up 9th overall, following his recent Kirkistown DNF. Both Des and Colm had good opening laps, dipping inside the top eight. A mighty battle ensued, with the two Leastone’s racing millimetres apart at times, as the two team mates pushed each other hard. Foley came out on top and by that stage the boys were 4th and 5th overall.
Brendan was embedded in a typical Formula Vee battle just outside the top ten as number of cars swapped places in the mid field. Further up the road, Foley had set off in pursuit of a podium slot with Blackburn following in tow. Foley employed similar aggression to what he used in the earlier heat and managed to slip in 3rd with an impressive move into Turn 1, again showing great confidence on the brakes.
The pair swapped places for the remainder of the race in an entertaining dice with Foley losing out on the final tour and coming home 4th. Colm had prime viewing of this battle, not quiet having the pace to join the party but still getting himself a top 5 and a haul of National championship points. Brendan continued his race long battle, racing extremely well to get the better of a 4 car train and snatch 12th spot, having grabbed himself 4th place points in the Crowne Plaza Championship in the heat earlier.
It now appears that the team have ridded themselves of the frustrating mechanical issues that plagued them in the opening 2 rounds and are now looking forward to focusing on out and out pace for the next 2 rounds, which will be held at the popular Bishopscourt track on the 9th and 10th of May.
Check out some footage of the weekend below, compiled by Des. External footage is from monello.tv, click here to find full coverage of the weekend.