The Irish Formula Vee championship made its first appearance at Mondello’s 2.2 mile International circuit last weekend. The Leastone team arrived at Mondello off the back of a strong performance at Bishopscourt but had a weekend of ups and down, which has been somewhat a trend for 2015.
Des Foley continued his good form and despite his limited experience of the international loop, he managed to grab himself 6th place overall with teammate Colm Blackburn in close proximity on the 5th row. Brendan O’Brien was looking for a trouble free run, after a weekend to forget in Bishopscourt, and he lined his Global Tyre Services JH004 on the 9th row overall.
Des and Brendan’s B and C seeding meant they got to hit the track early in the afternoon for the heat. Unfortunately this did not go to plan for both drivers, with Brendan retiring on lap 2 and his teammate following shortly with a track rod failure that likely related back to a problem in qualifying. Unfortunately this meant zero points for Des in the Finol Star of Tomorrow championship and a similar result for Brendan in the Crown Plaza Championship.
Thankfully, with the Formula Vee format, both drivers could start the main event from their earlier qualifying slots. Things went better for Des from the get go as he was battling for a podium spot in the opening stages of the race. A 4 car train battled have for 2nd place trough to 5th, allowing the leader to make a break at the head of the field.
Colm had a decent start but lost some ground on the opening lap which put him out of touch with the lead train. He settled down and clambered his way up the leaderboard , helped by a mid race safety car. Brendan was in the thick of it but his day came to an abrupt end, when he lost a battle for real estate with a fellow competitor. He spent the remainder of the race observing from the turn 1 gravel trap.
Des’ strong start faded shortly after the safety car was withdrawn and he fell back into the clutches of teammate Blackburn. Colm tried hard over the remaining few laps but could not find a way past, meaning a 5th and 6th finish and another bagful of championship points with it.
The Vees are back in action on the 12th of July on the shorter Mondello National track. This will mark the start of the second half of the 2015 season and all three drivers will be looking to improve on the solid opening half of the year. As always, streaming will be live on www.mondello.tv throughout the day.