When Derek Tohill embarked on his first season of rear-wheel-drive competition in 2010, no-one, himself included, expected him to become the first Irishman to win the European Championship. Come the end of the final round that season, in the Czech Republic, Tohill and his team had done just that, winning the title in a dramatic final race showdown.
The following weeks were full of speculation as to whether Tohill would move up to Supercar, and although it was considered, the Irish driver elected to continue on his plan of learning in TouringCar, despite winning the title far earlier than expected.
The following two years didn’t produce the same championship results for Tohill, but 2013 has been different. With four wins from eight rounds so far, the Ford Fiesta driver claimed this season’s crown with victory at the penultimate round last weekend in Austria, in another dramatic final. “I got pushed wide on the first lap of the final, so I got my head down. [Robin] Larsson was trying to cover when we were going to joker, but he went first and I got a really good lap before I took my joker and came out just in front of him. That’s the best possible way to win the championship; when you have to fight it makes it much more special!”
On the back of his second title, Tohill has committed to his future in the sport, and a graduation to the highest level in rallycross.
“We’ve been working on the double championship in TouingCar for three years, to show that 2010 wasn’t a fluke. We had to prove we could do it again, people didn’t think we could. There’s only one problem now, we’ve got to move up. We can leave TouringCar proud and happy, but Supercar is the only option now.” says Tohill, who will race in TouringCar for the final time this coming weekend in Germany. With the proposed World Rallycross Championship on the horizon, Tohill is yet to commit to the path he will take in the next stage of his career.
“There are two options for us with regards to what we do in Supercar. Either we get a big sponsor and move into an existing team to do the World Rallycross Championship next season, or we will build our own car and develop it in a three to five-year project.”
Tohill’s planned moved is just at the right time to benefit from the newly introduced RallycrossRX prize of a Supercar test that both the Super1600 and TouringCar champions will receive. Each of the champions will also be offered a 50% reduction on a 2014 Supercar entry as part of their prize package. The test will be Tohill’s first taste of a Supercar.
Tohill’s announcement comes just days after one of his main TouringCar rivals Robin Larsson declared that his Supercar debut would take place at the final round of the Swedish Rallycross Championship in three weeks time driving a Kristoffersson Motorsport run VW Scirocco. Larsson also has hopes of competing the Supercar category next season.
The pair will go head to head in TouringCar for the final time this weekend, both drivers will want to end their time in the category on a high.
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