Wigan racer Tony Lynch emerged from a challenging weekend on track at Pembrey as the man to beat in the Super National Class of the MSA British Rallycross Championship in association with Odyssey Battery, with a pair of podium finishes putting him into the points lead with four rounds of the season complete.
Westhoughton-based Tony went into the Bank Holiday double-header sitting third in the championship standings on the back of a fine second place finish last time out at Lydden Hill, and was optimistic about challenging for a first win of the year in his new Lucas Oil Team Geriatric Ford KA.
The first of two rounds at Pembrey was held in difficult wet conditions on Sunday (1 May), with the added challenge of drivers racing on the reverse layout of the Welsh circuit for the first time.
Despite the conditions, Tony was able to qualify third quickest after the heats and then went on to secure victory in his semi-final, leaving him well placed for the all-important points scoring final.
Although he managed to climb as high as second, issues with visibility in the KA saw him slip back to fourth place before the race was red-flagged, with officials instead taking the result from the last completed lap – a fact that saw Tony classified in third place.
Monday’s fourth round would again be filled with drama, with Tony qualifying fourth fastest after three hard-fought qualifying heats.
Again victorious in his semi-final, Tony made the perfect start in a re-run final to jump into the lead before electing to take his joker lap – an alternative route drivers must complete once in each race – at the end of the first lap.
Unfortunately for Tony, a second lap stoppage would then see the result declared at the end of lap one – leaving him classified second behind a driver who had not yet taken their joker lap.
Despite once again missing out on a potential victory, Tony’s double podium means he now heads the Super National Class standings at the half-way stage of the season, leaving him well placed ahead of round five at the Maasmechelen circuit in Belgium in July.
“It was a bit of a weird weekend at Pembrey with both finals being red-flagged as they were, and while it’s a shame that we missed out on a possible win as a result, it’s fantastic to hit the half way point of the season leading the championship standings,” Tony said.
“After our performance at Lydden Hill, we knew we were making real progress in unlocking the potential that there is with the KA although I don’t think we got the most out of it in the heats on Sunday. The conditions were really tricky with the rain and in the final, I had an issue with the screen misting up, which made visibility difficult. In the circumstances, third was a good end result.
“The boys did a great job as usual to prepare the car for Monday and having put myself in a good position for the final, I was able to break away at the front and had built a big lead so I decided to take the joker lap early. Unfortunately, when they then stopped the race and took the result back to the end of the first lap, it meant I dropped behind someone who hadn’t taken the joker, so what looked like being the right strategy call actually worked against me.
“I can’t be too disappointed however given that I’m now leading the championship, which is a real reward for the guys who have put in so much work on the car so far this season, and also great for the sponsors who have once again shown us fantastic support.
“There is still a long way to go and we can’t get carried away, but to be where we are in the standings at this stage is more than we expected.”