Driver Blog Dopeness >>> Alan Lenihan at Japfest

Hi once again guys.

Firstly I would like to apologise for the late write up here, on Round 5 of the Prodrift Irish Championships held at Mondello Park, Kildare in conjunction with the Japfest event.

It has been a difficult season for me this year, in regards to making sure to be at each round to compete, because of the line of work we do, and commitments we have. Weather plays a big factor when working the land and as the saying goes, you got to make hay when the sun shines.

So, with the excitement building the week leading up to the final round, everyone was going to be on a charge. The weather was exceptionally good this week also, which led to work at home being really busy. I was lucky coming out of a third place podium at round 4, that I had very little to do to the car, thank god. A few cosmetic touch ups after few wall scrapes and a general check over and I was good to go. I did these few jobs by night the week after round 4 and had the car loaded early.

I had originally planned to do the Friday practice day as well, to try get a good feel for the track. This did not happen afterwards though, because I had to work both the Friday and the Saturday the weekend of the event. We headed up early Sunday morning and made sure to try get in as much practice as we could.

Not without a small spot of bother though. We pulled in to the paddock and seen some pretty impressive machinery and the beautifully set up Hankook tents and truck in front of me. I got the car de strapped and as I went to start it, it just did not want to fire up. At the same time alongside me, my brother Gavins car had the same problem. 12 hours before this, the car started fine at home and ran fine. Thanks to Ken and Mike from DeaneMSport and our own team crew, they traced the problem back to the ecu contacts. We got these dried out and cleaned up and away we went again. Thanks lads ;-) Thanks also to John Shanahan from Shanahan Car Sales for giving a great hand to get both cars up and running again ;-) and as well my Hankook Tire team mate Mike Fitz for offering both his car to me and his services.

I got out on track straight away after the problem was fixed, with new 265-35-18 Hankook Evo tires equipped to the rear. I found after four practice laps I just was not at the races and could not get into a rhythm and just did not feel comfortable for some reason. I still cannot make out what was wrong, whether it was the pressure of so many drivers competing for just sixteen places, the car not feeling right, or just myself, I do not know what it was.

I made a few changes to the car for qualifying, but even after these changes the car was not doing what I wanted it to. I knew I was off a good few of the clips, and a spin in my first run did not help the cause either. For my second run, I went in fast down the straight to turn one, but when I initiated on clip one for clip two, I slowed down the car too much on the handbrake, which led to the car not getting out to clip 3 therefore leaving me a lot to do to make up those loses, but I knew I was not going to be able to on one bend. The second I went over the finish line, I was gutted for the team and my sponsors. Being at a Pro level now with a good few years, I have learned a lot, and one thing is that day, I knew instantly that I was not going to qualify with those two runs. It’s the type of track and course, you get it right from the first initiation, it works and works really well, you get it wrong early, and will stay wrong for the rest of the course.

I went back into the paddock and got my car backed in under the Hankook tent again, and spoke to few of the team and friends, that were watching, and I know when I was after doing really bad, when I am telling people that it was poor and they don’t say nothing and just listen and nod their heads.

I went to the top 16 announcement next and awaited the judges to call the drivers who were going to compete. Unfortunately as I was expecting, I was not called out.

So, I was left looking on from the fences for this one. I was very disappointed for myself, the team, and my sponsors. It is such a big event, and it was the last of the season and it would have been great to be competing with such a talented grid.

The battles throughout the day, some were just unreal to watch, from several one more time battles to extremely fast and quick battles, it was great to watch.

With 5 round done and a lot of travelling, and driving done. Finishing 8th in the championship overall was not too bad, considering it was a difficult year for me for a few rounds.

I would like now to thank some people now while I have the chance here, whom without these,

Hankook Tires: Thanks to Niall, Cormac and Karl for their great support all year, both in tires and product, and having faith in me to represent the Hankook Tire brand to the best of my ability at each event for them.

C.M.D LTD: A big thank you to these guys for their financial and transport facilities for the year ;-) Having this construction/chimney repair specialists on board with me this season, really helped me to build this car to the way it is today.

Racing Logic: These guys equipped the car the start of the season with a fantastic set of their coilovers for all round. These worked really well all season and I am happy with them.

New Horizon Styling: I was supplied with a set of top quality fibreglass doors for the car. Excellent fitment.

Cool Race Products: I received a package from this company with loads of heat wrapping for pipes and hoses, turbo bags, etc.

Japspeed.co.uk: Thanks to Paul and the guys for supplying me with a manifold, gloves, hat, stickers.

Step by Step Childcare: Thanks for supporting me all season ;-)

Brian Hutton Autobody: This mans work is excellent. From start to finish from the time the car left home, until I got it back finished. There was no faults with the workmanship. Thanks Brian ;-)

DeaneMSport: The lads made a great job of re wiring the car for me, thanks to Mike and Ken for their great work, support and on event help from all their team, when we got into car trouble throughout the season.

Exact Signs: Thanks to Dave and Seamus for supplying and fitting all the graphics to the car.

T.D.P. Thanks to the lads for the building and mapping of my SR217 engine.

OMGDrift / Martin Cunningham Photography: Thanks for giving me the opportunity of being able to report on each round. It was great to be offered this piece and thank you Martin for piecing these reports together all season with excellent photos.

Good Luggage: Just want to give Paddy a mention here as well, for the great footage and featuring my car in numerous videos throughout the year.

Shanahan Car Sales: Thanks to John and Co. for all their help this year, they were always on hand to offer their services, parts, car, food, everything. Thanks lads ;-)

I hope I have not forgotten anyone or anybody here, but lastly I would like to thank my family for helping me build my car over the long, cold, winter nights, my girlfriend Siobhan, and all my supporters and fans who all keep me going.

I know its repetitious now for you guys to read and hear me say this, but I really do mean it when I say this, without all these people I have mentioned above, I honestly would not be able to compete. These people are so important to me, when it comes to having the car turn out the way it is.

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