Irish star skips H1 rather than risk engine
Derek Tohill and his team face a long Saturday night of work to check the engine in their TouringCar Ford Fiesta after a stone cut the oil pump belt in practice.
Tohill decided to skip the first heat in favour of inspecting the engine and trying to rejoin the event on Sunday, rather than take the risk that the motor was had survived the incident without damage and run the risk of blowing it up by starting the first race. By the end of Saturday afternoon the team had removed the engine from the Fiesta and were ready to remove the sump so that engine tuner Julian Godfrey could check the bearings for any possible damage. “The engine shuts down automatically if it loses oil pressure but that process can take a couple of seconds,” explained an engineer, “Obviously two seconds off throttle is different to two seconds at 9000rpm so there is still a chance that it could have damage a bearing and the only way to tell is to open the engine up and have a look. We should be okay and if there is no damage it’s just a case of putting it back together and getting the engine back in the car ready for the morning.”
Entering this weekend’s event, Tohill held second place in the championship, three points behind Anton Marklund. Assuming he can rejoin the event on Sunday, he must finish in both remaining heats in order to qualify for a final.