Formula Ireland Kirkistown summary

Sammin leaps to the front in Formula Ireland opener. Mayoman Paul Sammin took his maiden car race victory in a stunning Formula Ireland championship opening round at Kirkistown on Saturday last. In a race of relentless overtaking action that...

Sammin leaps to the front in Formula Ireland opener.

Mayoman Paul Sammin took his maiden car race victory in a stunning Formula Ireland championship opening round at Kirkistown on Saturday last.

In a race of relentless overtaking action that ranks amongst the finest seen at the Co Down venue in many a year, Paul stormed to the front of the field from fourth on the grid and was never headed despite intense pressure from a selection of second placed men.

The ex-Formula Vee Novice Champion from Louisburgh had never won a race before today's stunner but if he was feeling nervous it never showed as he drove like a veteran to hold off some of the most talented racers in Ireland.

From a starting position of fourth on the grid behind pole sitter Paul Dagg, car race debutant Emmet Queenan and ex-karting champion Mark Smith, Sammin made one of his trademark blistering getaways to head the field as they emerged from the first corner.

Paul Sammin then settled down to 15 laps of the challenging former airfield circuit trying to hold off a squabbling pack intent on making their mark on the second season of Ireland's premier single seater racing series.

Four drivers quickly formed the lead group with Sammin hanging on grimly at the hairpin each lap as Dagg, Queenan and former Irish karting champion Mark Smith took turns to try and wrest the lead from him.

While Sammin kept control at the front in his Alan McGarrity Racing machine, the other three swapped places throughout the race which kept the crowd on their feet all the way to the finish.

At the chequered flag Sammin punched the air in delight as he held off reigning Formula Ford champion Dagg (Damian Doherty Racing) and Queenan (Damian Doherty Racing.

"Brilliant, absolutly brilliant," said a delighted Sammin after the race. "I started fourth and made a great start, once I got the first corner I was in the lead and that was it. The pressure was immense, Paul Dagg I could see in my mirrors. Everyone was trying to get a cut of it, but I drove a good race."

"The team had me schooled very well and without the boys here it would not have been possible. I'm really looking forward to Mondello. I'd like to think I can have a really good crack at it now," the winner went on to say.

Sammin thus takes an early lead in the race for championship honours and with it a prize test with a British Formula 3 team. The exploits of the Formula Ireland runners were seen in a first round report shown on the RTE Grand Prix show ahead of the San Marino Grand Prix on Sunday April 6th.

The second round of the 12 round series is at Mondello Park on April 7th when Formula Ireland runners guest on the support bill of the British Touring Car Championship race, one of the biggest motor race meetings of the year.

Formula Ireland Round One, Kirkistown, 15 Laps
1, Paul Sammin (AMR), 13m34.09s;
2, Paul Dagg (DDR) +.06s;
3, Emmet Queenan (DDR) +.75s :
4, Mark Smith (RJC) +.98s;
5, Barry Waugh (AMR) +2.09s ;
6, Jeff Collier (DDR) +2.71s .
Fastest lap: Emmet Queenan, 57.12s (record).

Next round: Mondello Park International, April 21st.

-js-

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Series Other open wheel