independent

Friday 18 April 2014

Clonegal man wins European Drift title

A CARLOW man has made fast and furious attempts at securing a name for himself on the European drifting map.

Alan Sinnott from Clonegal enjoyed a very successful first championship season in Europe and was named Drift Allstars European Champion 2012 after he had five podium finishes from six races.

He has been involved in professional motorsports for the last number of years and was the 2011 Irish Prodrift champion. This title secured him a sponsorship offer from prestigious Korean tyre manufacturer NEXEN and with this support behind him he ensured the Irish flag was flying high.

It all kicked off back in May when Alan won round one which took place in Birmingham and a month later he took third place at round two in London.

'At this stage Alan's trusty and almost trademark Toyota Corolla AE86 was feeling the pain after four hard years of competitive pro level drifting and having suffered an impact in London against fellow Irish driver James Deane, Alan needed a new car to enable him to remain competitive in this year's championship,' said his wife and team boss Alexis.

He sourced a bare Nissan silvia shell and through hard work, sheer determination and Alan's 'never quit' attitude a full pro-spec car was built, painted and finished in the NEXEN livery in just one month thanks to the help of his sponsor's and friends, Brian Hutton, Dennis Healy, Shane Hade, Matt Pender, Sean Sinnott, and Nicky Moran.

Alexis, who acts also as his counselor when the going gets tough, gave him great support throughout and with the new car finished just in time for his home event round three, in Punchestown, he took second place. In August, Rounds four and five in Romania and Hungary proved most challenging.

Round four in Romania would see Alan with another podium finish with second place and a week later, it was round five in Hungary when he came in fourth with engine trouble.

'Drifting in temperatures of 40 degrees was starting to take its toll on the car,' said Alexis.

Alan returned home from Hungary and the car was transported to Malta for the final round. It was a close competition between himself, Juha Rintanen (Finland) and Nigel Colfer (Ireland).

'Alan wasn't going to give up without a fight, so he checked in a bag full of engine parts with Ryanair and headed out to Malta a week before the event to fix the engine,' she added.

Friend and Pit crewman Matt Pender went with him to help him get sorted for the final and most important make or break event.

'After a tough week trying to sort mechanical issues and with the car being down on power all the commitment, dedication, determination and hard work paid off,' she added.

'On Race day tensions were at an all time high, Alan's sheer determination saw him one by one out-drive the best Europe had to offer. The Final battle would see him compete against great friend and Nexen Team Mate Lluis Lopez from Spain.'

He ended up with first place to ensure that a European pro level championship cup would rest in a trophy cabinet in Clonegal.

'Preparations are already underway for the 2013 season when he'll be back in the hot seat flying the flag for Ireland and for Carlow. Any local support and sponsorship for Alan is greatly appreciated you can also follow Alan's progress on facebook,' she added.

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