May 15, 2009
Published on tags: Superleague
Evans Blue Racing's Janne Tanskanen won the inaugural Irish Grand Prix in dominant fashion, leaving all opposition fighting for the remaining positions while he sped to victory with apparent ease.

After smashing the ranks in qualifying, where he recorded a sub-72 second time (the only one in the whole field to do so), the Finn led from start to finish closing home in front of Adam Rouse (2nd) and Phil Perkins (3rd).

Qualifying was a tense affair, with Championship leader Joe Consiglio sharing first row with pole-sitter Tanskanen. Rouse was 3rd, with a very quick Chris Allen qualifying 4th for the second week running. Further down the field, Michelangelo Manrique started to show what Platform can do, and qualified 10th - an encouraging sign for a team rumoured to sign an extremely talented driver in the coming days.

As the lights turned green, Janne Tanskanen took the best possible line and, thanks also to Consiglio running slightly wide, was free to go and never look back. Behind the leaders, a spin by Mark Fuller unleashed mayhem - unusually resulting in no major damage for any of the remaining competitors. The first laps saw some interesting battles, and also the first driver to be victim of the so-called "punt rule": William Ponissi, in fact, was far too eager when attacking Mark Wicks, and paid the price of his impatience with a drive through penalty.

With the field spreading out, the themes of the race started to delineate: Mark Stanton, so far one of the most regular drivers in the season, ran into a torrid afternoon that resulted in his race being over due to suspension damage; a similar fate was shared by both CRC's and Jyri Lylykorpi on the other Evans Blue.

The waltzer of pit stops - most driver choosing a 2 stop strategy - changed little: but around lap 36 the race, and potentially the season, took a turn towards the exciting. Joe Consiglio, who was then comfortably 3rd, retired due to yet another Honda engine failure (the third for Nordsjoen, in 5 races); at the same time, 2nd placed Adam Rouse got tangled in an epic fight with Phil Perkins. In one of those moments which make the history of a league, the two drivers engaged each other for the whole of 20 laps, the Nordsjoen driver eventually having the edge and closing in behind Tanskanen.

For Phil Perkins, nonetheless, a wonderful performance such as today's brought him the first podium in the Superleague (and Phoenix's too). The last remaining point-scoring positions were taken by Chris Allen (4th), Philip Cullen (5th), Mark Wicks (6th), Mark Fuller (7th) and Ryan McConkey (8th), the American driver gaining the crucial position via his cunning choice of a 1-stop strategy which enabled him to remain in front of Ponissi after the mid-race point.

With Consiglio failing to score, the Championship is now wide open. The Maltese driver shares the top of the ranking with Janne Tanskanen, the leading duo being followed closely by Adam Rouse.

With the narrow, twisty streets of Monaco in just a week time, the race for the crown is still wide open.