Saturday 21 October 2017

Daly aims to follow up maiden win

AFTER his breakthrough GP3 series win in Barcelona last weekend Conor Daly heads to Monaco next week determined to break the family duck at a venue that was pivotal in his father's Formula One career.

The famous scenes of Derek's spectacular start-line shunt in 1980 and his race-leading exploits in the Principality two years later remain etched in the minds of Irish F1 fans, but Indiana-native Conor is determined to close the deal this time round.

"I have been looking forward to Monaco ever since the race was put on the schedule," the 20-year old told the Irish Independent.

Daly's victory in Sunday's sprint race second round of the GP3 series puts him second in the early points standings.

Racing in his second season in Europe with the ART team under the Lotus GP banner, Daly has blossomed to become one of the front runners in the important F1 feeder series.

After finishing a slightly disappointed sixth in Saturday's first round, he converted his third place starting position into second at the start on Sunday morning and was in prime position to make the most of a drive-through jump-start penalty for early leader Tio Ellinas.

He kept his cool to take his first win in the series and now the US driver, whose Irish heritage is displayed in his helmet livery, is chomping at the bit ahead of GP3's first visit to motor racing's most glamourous location.

"My favourite circuits seem to be street circuits. Heading into Monaco with a win is also a huge confidence boost. I'm just hoping I spend more time on the track than in the air like my dad!

"I know my dad has had quite a history at Monaco and he nearly won! I wish he could be there for the race, but I know he will be paying close attention to everything going on.

"I'm hoping to get out of there with some good points finishes and will do everything in my power to win at the prestigious and historical venue."

Meanwhile, the other objects of Irish interest in the series had mixed results. William Buller was 23rd and final classified finisher in race one but battled through for a hard-fought ninth in race two only to be awarded a five place grid penalty for the next race in Monaco for causing an avoidable collision.

Robert Cregan finished a creditable 15th in race one in his first outing on the F1 support calendar series, but the Dubliner was a first lap casualty in race two.

Meanwhile, Alice Powell, a dual national with Status Motorsport who wears an Irish flag on her helmet, impressed many with 11th in race two from the back of the grid.

And reigning Valvoline National Forest Rally champion Owen Murphy is out to claim his home event and put current series leader Garry Jennings under pressure at the Jim Walsh Cork Forestry Rally on Saturday.

Cork MC member Murphy, partnered by James O'Brien in their Mitsubishi, face stiff competition from Jennings, whose performances in the Irish Tarmac Series mark him out as one of the top all rounders on the local scene.

However, it's unlikely to be a match race at the front where last year's event winner Pat O'Connell will be expected to make an appearance given his penchant for Cork forests.

On the last national round the top five cars were separated by just 25 seconds, indicating the level of competition in forestry rallying.

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