Murphy And McGovern Share SEAT Spoils.

Mondello Park was the destination for the opening rounds of the SEAT Supercup Ireland series; in association with SEAT Ireland.

With Ireland’s only manufacturer supported race series offering an end of season prize test drive in the latest Cupra Leon TCR, competition was always going to be fierce and this weekend proved the case.

The SEAT Leon Supercopas returned to the Kildare circuit as the fastest one make class in the country, with the purpose built racers boasting 340 bhp. This was reflected in the qualifying times, which saw Cork’s Shane Murphy lap the circuit faster than ever before to set a new SEAT lap record of 57.3 seconds on his pole position lap.

The first race saw Murphy encounter problems on the opening lap; by his own admission a braking problem and his own error. This saw Barry English in The Johnstown Estate Leon take up the lead from a hard charging Rod McGovern, while Murphy had battled his way back up to 3rd from the impressive debutant Darragh McMullan, from Limerick in the Fleet ID Leon. The battle between English and McGovern raged throughout the race, with McGovern making an ambitious move count at the bottom corner to take the lead from English and to allow Murphy and McMullan make their way past the Tipperary man. An incident brought out the safety car to bunch up the pack, but this was to be of little comfort to Shane Murphy in the Tervas Gas Racing car who was suffering with fuel issues and dropped out of the top 3 to allow fellow Munster man Barry English to take the final podium spot, with Darragh McMullan an impressive 2nd and Rod McGovern taking a fine win following a long lay off.

Race 2 saw the results of the opening race reversed and with that, Shane Murphy started from the front row. The race now also had the added spice of Niall Murray making a late entry in the Murray Motorsport Leon, with the multiple single seater champion hoping to upset the form book from race 1.

Shane Murphy took the lead from the start and was never headed, with the former National Hot Rod World Champion taking a dominant lights to flag victory. But the real spectacle was the three way battle for the remaining podium places, as McGovern, English and Murray swapped positions for the length of the race in a display of some of best saloon racing seen at the circuit. McGovern battled his way from the back to a fine second place, with Barry English taking another hard earned third.

Rod McGovern expressed his delight at his race 1 win “it was great for the confidence to get the win, as I haven’t driven the car since the middle of last year and great to be back in the car, they really are amazing machines!”

Shane Murphy’s feelings on his days’ work were; “we had an up and down first race, when we lost the back of the car, through a mixture of adjustments and my own error! We fought back to third but had a fuel issue so dropped back again, so to win the second race, we’re absolutely over the moon”

With a bonus point being awarded to drivers for pole position and fastest lap in each race; Rod McGovern’s race pace has gained him 2 extra championship points, while Shane Murphy’s stunning pole lap has provided him with an extra point, all of which could become very valuable by the end of the season.

Championship Standings

  1. Rod McGovern Mick Merrigan Racing 20pts
  2. Shane Murphy Tervas Gas Racing 16pts
  3. Barry English The Johnstown Estate 12pts
  4. Neil McMullan Fleet ID Racing 12pts
  5. Darragh McMullan Fleet ID Racing 12pts
  6. Niall Murray Murray Motorsport 5pts
  7. Niall McFadden Murray Motorsport 4pts

Next race meeting will be at the Bishopscourt Race Circuit on May 11/12.

Images:  Carl Cleary