With an epic 2015 season so far the pressure was on for the team at the Irish Drift Championship to put on a spectacular finale to end this year’s series and it would be fair to say the event really did live up to the hype. Taking place alongside the Irish Japfest show and hosted at Mondello Park…a favourite with the Irish drift community as well as a number of big name appearances including Daigo Saito and Robbie Nishida competing in their own cars; it was clear from the off this was an event not to be missed.
To go with such a grand finale to the series everything was in place for the first competitive event for our new V8 370Z! Unfortunately a last minute issue meant the car would not be on top form and that’s no way to start in competition, so Shane Lynch would join fellow Irishman and Team Japspeed teammate Shane ‘Sully’ O’Sullivan behind the wheel of his newly built Rolls Royce drift car taking part in the Fueltopia Barrel Sprint event. Meanwhile Sully would be going for gold in the Japspeed RB25-powered S15. With everything ready it was time for the Final Fight.
Being hosted at Mondello Park the track would be familiar to Shane which played to his advantage when it came to qualifying. Following a series of successful qualifying runs, Shane soon found his rhythm which saw him awarded 7th place and straight into the top 32 battles. Qualifying 7th in the top 32 from a grid of 42 pro drivers, Shane was off to a great start.
Coming straight into the top 32 Shane found himself battling against Mike Fitz. With a strong qualifying position Shane was on form and applied the pressure on Fitz. With both drivers giving their all the judges had a tough call to make however Shane had done everything he needed to gain those all important votes in his favour and advance through to the top 16.
Heading into the top 16 Shane came up against Alan Lenihan who would be retiring from the IDC immediately following the event. Despite this both drivers put on an incredible performance however a clean run from Shane combined with a slight misjudgement from Lenihan on the chase would hand Shane the advantage. Shane then applied the pressure to Lenihan on his chase; taking the victory to go through to the top 8.
Shane came up against Anthony Galvin in the top 8. Anthony had already claimed the 2015 semi-pro Championship by this point and put in an amazing performance in the pro class which saw him through to face Shane O’Sullivan. With tyre smoke filling the air at Mondello and incredibly close performances from both drivers it was Shane’s experience and aggressive driving style which saw him advance to the top 4 and maintain his chances of claiming the Championship title.
Straight into the top 4 Shane first faced off against Nigel Colfer. Both drivers clearly keen to claim their place on the podium the winner of this battle faced James Deane for the 1st/2nd place. Both drivers put in an epic performance with close proximity and plenty of tyre smoke. With both runs amazingly close a tough call from the judges awarded Shane O’Sullivan his chance at the top spot against James Deane.
With everything to play for Shane O’Sullivan met James Deane in the final fight for the top spot. Both well renowned drivers and both highly competitive it would also seem almost inseparable. With both drivers putting on what was undoubtedly their best performances of the day the gathered spectators would be treated to a fitting final and closing battle of the 2015 Irish Drift Championship.
Unfortunately Shane’s aggressive driving style would become his undoing on this occasion and a slight misjudgement would cause him to drop a wheel off track, handing the advantage to James. With the smoke clearing Shane could proudly take his place in 2nd position on the podium.
All things considered this was a fantastic weekend and an incredible end to the 2015 Irish Drift Championship. We’d like to take this opportunity to congratulate Kevin Quinn, Anthony Galvin and James Deane on their success in claiming this year’s Championship titles.
Placing 2nd at the final round also means Shane ‘Sully’ O’Sullivan has finished the 2015 Irish Drift Championship in 3rd overall! Everyone at Team Japspeed would like to thank all our partners for their continued support throughout the 2015 season.
Next up is a visit to Gymkhana Grid at Santa Pod as well as Drift Matsuri at Anglesey Circuit on 24th-25th October. We’ll see you there!