Matt Griffin eyes strong finish to Euro Le Mans Series

Good performances don’t always guarantee good results according to Cork racing ace Matt Griffin, who competes in the penultimate round of the European Le Mans Series at Spa Francorchamps in Belgium this weekend. 

The 2013 European Le Mans Series GT champion reckons his form is better than what he showed three seasons ago.

Incidents in other rounds of the ELMS involving team-mates Duncan Cameron and Aaron Scott have ruled out another title win but Ballincollig-based driver Griffin is confident they can still claim third overall in the series that finishes in Estoril in late October.

Just last week in the final race of the Blancpain Endurance Series race at the Nurburgring, Griffin qualified the Ferrari 488 in seventh place (P2 in class) out of 54 cars. Cameron started the three-hour race but had contact at the first corner and lost some 40 places.

After an hour behind the wheel, Cameron pitted in 42nd position and Griffin chewed up the opposition bringing the car up to fourth overall and second in class before he handed over to Cameron, who was caught out by a full course yellow (virtual safety car) and he went on to finish fourth on class.

In Sunday’s race the team will revert to the AF Corse run number 55 Ferrari 458 GTE. “We have been very unlucky so far this year in the ELMS. In round three at Paul Ricard, France we were very fast all weekend and probably the fastest GT car, but a few issues robbed us of a podium. The main thing is that we try to bring that speed to Spa this weekend and hopefully convert it into a good result.”

Motorsport Ireland have announced that Mullingar’s Jordan Dempsey (16), the runner-up in last year’s runner-up Young Driver of the Year Award will compete in the FF Festival Brands Hatch (October 22/23) and the Walter Hayes Trophy at Silverstone (October 31/November 1). Last June, Kildare’s Jake Byrne, who won the Motorsport Ireland award, abandoned the programme citing that he didn’t feel the support he was promised was forthcoming.

In rallying, Monaghan’s Josh Moffett (Fiesta R5) heads the entry for tomorrow’s Omagh-based Bushwhacker Rally, a seventh round of the McGrady Insurances Northern Ireland Rally Championship. The 11-stage encounter has attracted an entry just shy of 100 crews.

For Moffett, this will be his third rally in four weeks and next week, he will continue his busy season on the Acesigns Cork “20” International Rally. Multiple Northern Ireland champion Derek McGarrity on board a Fiesta WRC, Strabane’s Martin Cairns (Fiesta WRC) — a former winner of the event — and Niall McCullagh (Subaru WRC), who will be on home ground, will all be aiming to give Moffett a good battle.

The Hewison Autotest series continues with a double header in Garryhill, Carlow tomorrow and on Sunday.

Isle of Mull resident Calum Duffy is a late entry for next week’s Acesigns Cork “20” International Rally where he will drive his 2.5 litre Millington-engined Skoda Fabia. Longford’s Tommy Doyle (Renault Clio) is another of the 12 late entries up to Wednesday of this week.

This weekend is the first of two reconnaissance periods for the rally that will determine who will become the Clonakilty Blackpudding Irish Tarmac champion. It looks to be a straight battle between Tyrone’s Alastair Fisher and West Cork’s Keith Cronin while both Sam and Josh Moffett still have an outside chance of lifting the title but need results to go their way.


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