IDC Round 1 2015
Mondello Park was the venue for the beginning of the 11th season of Irish Drifting. Mondello as Ireland’s only international race circuit, it will host three rounds of the five round championship albeit with different track layouts.
As ever the off season provided the opportunity for drivers to enhance their cars both visually and mechanically for the season ahead. There were also a few interesting builds taking place, but unfortunately some were not completed in time for round 1.
Adrian Walsh and Trevor Murphy were two such drivers in borrowed cars awaiting the completion of their new builds. Adrian is revamping his AE86 with a Chevy LS series V8 engine. Jack Shanahan debuted his new BMW powered S14 Silvia at the first round of the British Drift Championship in style, taking the Super Pro Class win, on his first day driving the car. The car is powered by a turbo M3 engine producing over 700 bhp and Jack while now drifting since 2013 is only 15.
The pro class also features another 15 year Tomás Kiely, seen above in his second car a 1JZ powered 180SX. Tomás is another driver awaiting the completion of his new car, a stroked 2JZ S14 Silvia.
Now into the competition, each IDC round is split between a number of classes Rookie, Semi-Pro and Pro. Progression within classes also takes place within a round, and it’s possible for a driver in the rookie class to make it to the Pro class in one weekend. Saturday saw the rookie and semi-pro class compete in atrocious conditions with almost continuous rain fall throughout practise and qualifying. The wet conditions coupled with the high speed blind entry and a qualifying line consisting entirely of outside clip points, it was a challenging track but the drivers rose to the challenge with many spectators questioning whether there were indeed rookies and semi-pro drivers.
Mud drops were the order of the day, and soon the outside edge of the track could not be seen with the mud pool. Below James Spillane who qualified first for the top 32 battles in his RB25 Powered S14.
Following rookie and semi-pro qualifying, we were given a glimpse of what was the come in the Pro competition with Pro practise. Some of the drivers attempted extreme speed entries and got caught out on the second clip and ended up in the mud in spectacular fashion.
The weather began to improve throughout the top 32, but still played its part in some battles as the track was drying. The four drivers to reach the semi-finals were Darren Coates, Niall Whelan, Anthony Galvin and Kevin Quinn.
Anthony and Kevin made it to the final. Experience showed and Anthony took his first IDC semi-pro win, as Kevin Quinn takes second as an IDC rookie in his first round at the competition. All top 4 drivers would now progress to the Pro class on Sunday.
The weather had improved for Sunday’s Pro Class, so loads of smoke would be seen on track. During recent years IDC has been visited by many international drivers from various different competitions globally, including D1GP, Formula D, European and Middle East series. However no visiting driver has even won a round in Ireland, some have come close but the top podium spot has never been claimed in 11 years.
For this round three international drivers came to prove the elusive win is possible, Luke Fink from Australia, Lluis Lopez from Spain and Ahmad Daham from Jordan.
Ahmad failed to qualify for the sudden death battle due to mechanical issues. It was disappointing not to see him battle. A battle with James Deane could have been a highlight of the weekend, as these two drivers hold the world record for the longest twin vehicle drift at over 28km.
New for 2015 is the introduction of sudden death. After qualification the top 8 qualifiers gain an automatic place within the top 16. The next 16 drivers will now battle for the remaining 8 places in the top 16.
Top Qualifier was James Deane, in his Falken Tires 2JZ Silvia, with last years champion Duane McKeever taking second with only one qualifying run.
The top 16 had a number of interesting battles such as the battle between last year Champion Duane McKeever and BDC Round 1 winner Jack Shanahan. Mistakes by both drivers lead to an OMT with the final decision going in favour of Jack Shanahan. Another important battle in the top 16 was between Luke Fink and Alan Lenihan. Alan as the higher qualifier lead them through the first bend and Fink goes wide and puts three wheels off track. It looked certain Alan would go through but with the reverse run its Luke Fink that progresses.
The semi-finals consisted of Luke Fink the only remaining international driver against Nigel Colfer. The second between James Deane and the Tomás Kiely.
Nigel and Luke had to go one more time as nothing could separate the drivers (see below!) The OMT battle ended with a collision between the two. Nigel was deemed the winner and would face James Deane in the final.
Tomás and Luke battled for third place with Tomás taking the battle.
In a close final, James continued his winning streak in Mondello, having won all round he has entered here for a number of years.