Griffin focuses on Spa after British GT frustrations

Denied victory in last week’s third round of the British GT Championship at Rockingham by a controversial penalty, Cork’s Matt Griffin turns his attention to tomorrow’s World Endurance Championship (WEC) second round at the Spa Francorchamps circuit in Belgium.

The former Motorsport Ireland International Driver of the Year award winner also switches teams for this series as he joins up with Mok Weng Sun and Kieta Sawa in the Ferrari 488 GTE of the Clearwater Racing outfit.

Last Sunday, Griffin took the chequered flag in his 100th British GT race.

Following a fine opening stint by teammate Duncan Cameron, Griffin exited the pits in fourth and having overtaken the three competitors, a safety car error occurred and Griffin finished the race 25 seconds ahead of the field.

But a post-race protest by Parker Racing team saw the Spirit of Race crew of Griffin and Cameron receive a 26- second penalty for some light contact earlier in the race.

Griffin admitted: “It was very controversial and I am still unhappy about it. I dominated the second part of the race and deserved the win I earned. So while I respectfully do not agree, I accept the decision of the clerk of the course.”

The entry for Sunday’s Seven Oaks Hotel Carlow Rally is dominated by Mk. 2 Escorts with Cavan’s Jonathan Pringle heading the 70-plus entry list (last year there were 128 starters in the main field). The Carlow Mk. 2 Challenge is extremely popular with the likes of Wesley Patterson, Frank Kelly, Enda O’Brien, David Condell and Adrian Hetherington providing the principal opposition.

They are also contenders for the outright win, however, should conditions remain dry, the Darrian of Maynooth’s Ian Barrett will provide strong opposition. The top 10 also features Vivian Hamill (Escort) and the Subaru WRCs of PJ McDermott and Kevin Barrett. Others to watch on the stages around Castlecomer are Mike Quinn and Colin Byrne in Ford Escorts and Daniel Cronin (Mitsubishi). Dubliner Neil Tohill is the leading Group N driver. The first of the day’s nine stages starts at 10.17am, servicing at Gowran Park.

Meanwhile, the Northern Ireland Rally Championship continues tomorrow with the River Ridge Recycling Glens of Antrim Rally in Ballycastle. Derek McGarrity (Ford Fiesta WRC) and his Tralee co-driver Diarmuid Falvey are the top seeds while Jonny Greer (Citroen DS3 R5) and Conor McCloskey (Ford Fiesta WRC) will be expected to mount a strong challenge.

Meanwhile following some changes to the results of last week’s Rally of the Lakes, Sam Moffett’s winning margin over Robert Barrable was eventually confirmed at 16.5 seconds, for several hours after the finish the margin was shown as 29.5 seconds.

Motorsport Ireland has invited competitors to a meeting on May 23 at the Hodson Bay Hotel, Athlone to discuss arrangements for insurance and also to hear the views of competitors and how to progress from the current situation.


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