With the 2018 Patch Tyre Equipment Fiesta Zetec championship title already wrapped up, by Harmonstown’s Owen Purcell, the main battle at the season final at Mondello Park today, Sunday September 16th, was for second and third places. Mark Johnston, from Kilbride and Kells teenager William Kellett sat second and third going into the weekend with Kellett still in with an outside chance of taking the runner-up spot.
Purcell continued the fine form he has shown all season in qualifying, where he picked up pole position by a huge margin, by Fiesta standards, of seven tenths of a second from Michael Fitzgerald. Kellett improved his championship chances with third on the grid, while Johnston could only manage sixth.
Kellett continued his push for second in the points with a strong opening couple of laps which saw him hit the front by the start of the second tour, while Johnston initially ran in fifth. As Kellett led, Johnston was pushing to make up ground, but a couple of off’s saw him drop down the order to as low as twelfth, before improving to ninth at the flag. Meanwhile, Kellett continued to run strongly at the front, despite being caught and passed by Purcell, and he came home second to keep his championship runner-up hopes alive. Colin Murray took third.
Starting fourth for race two, Kellett initially held that place, but lost out once again to Purcell at the start of lap two. Johnston too was making progress and now sat just behind his championship challenger in sixth. Purcell continued to move towards the front, going past Colin Murray and Andy Kavanagh, and when he did Kellett followed him through to bring himself up to third and right into contention with Johnston.
Unfortunately for Kellett the race was stopped as the drivers started lap four and with the red flag rules meaning the result was taken from the end of lap two, Kellett found himself back down to fifth, just one place ahead of his rival. Michael Fitzgerald, who had led from the off, continued his late season charge with his third win in five races, while Kavanagh took his best ever result in second with Murray third.
At the end of the twelve race Patch Tyre Equipment Fiesta Zetec Championship, Owen Purcell lifted the crown with a healthy fifty three point margin from Johnston and Kellett, whose overall points totals were tied. However when each driver dropped their two worst scores, Johnston retained a six point margin over Kellett to pick up his best championship finish.