The second round of the Extreme Festival at Killarney International Raceway was an exhilarating event, with the highlight being the stunning performance of local hero Andrew Rackstraw, who races in the Volkswagen Golf 8 GTI Global Touring car.
As a seasoned driver with years of experience, Rackstraw had his sights set on claiming his first-ever GTC race win at his home track, and he did not disappoint. With a packed crowd of enthusiastic supporters cheering him on, Rackstraw put on a masterclass.
The weekend got off to a slightly rocky start for Rackstraw, who faced a few challenges during practice, including a puncture that forced him to miss out on some valuable track time. However, with his trademark determination and focus, Rackstraw bounced back and put in a solid performance during qualifying, securing an impressive P4 starting position for the first race.
Race 1 was a tense affair, with Rackstraw battling it out with some of the best drivers in the series. With the pace so evenly matched between the cars it was difficult to find an opportunity to overtake. Despite facing some tough competition, he managed to maintain his position and crossed the line in a respectable fourth place, setting himself up nicely for the reverse grid race 2.
Starting from pole position in race 2, Rackstraw faced a difficult start, dropping back to second place in the opening laps. However, he refused to give up and fought his way back to the front of the pack with an outstanding overtake that started in turn 2 and ended in turn 4. Showing incredible skill and precision, Rackstraw drove flawlessly for the remainder of the race, crossing the line in first place and claiming his first-ever GTC race win to the delight of the ecstatic crowd. It must be said that the close, clean racing between the drivers in Race 2 really added to the excitement and entertainment. They showcased some world-class racecraft and we hope to see more of that as the season progresses.
The victory was a huge moment for Rackstraw and his team, Lee Thompson Racing, who have been working tirelessly to fine-tune their car and make it competitive in the fiercely contested GTC series. The Golf 8 GTI was clearly performing at its peak, thanks to the expertise of the team and the support of their partners and sponsors, including RDSA, Sparco, SimGrid, Ravenol, Investchem, BLK and Racebook Media.
ANDREW’S THOUGHTS AND A WORD FROM LEE THOMPSON RACING
Reflecting on the race, Rackstraw was understandably elated with his performance.
“A weekend I won’t forget. Quali and Race 1 we had a few issues to sort out, which led to us not being able to show our true potential.
Race 2 it all came together for us! The team did an amazing job to get the car dialled to give me the best possible opportunity to get my first race win!
I drove my heart out and managed to get my first GTC win in front of my home crowd. It was a truly special moment doing it in front of such a supportive crowd.
This win will be the first of many! A massive thanks have to go to LTR for all the hard work and car preparation.
I also have to thank my Sponsors Sparco, RDSA, Investchem, Ravenol, BLK and RaceBook Media, without them none of this would be possible.
A special thanks have to go to all of the supporters cheering me on from the sidelines, it was a very special moment.
We now have the momentum moving forward, let’s see what we can do at Zwartkops!”
The victory also marked a significant moment in Rackstraw’s career, as he continues to establish himself as one of the most talented drivers in the GTC series. With his confidence riding high and the momentum firmly on his side, Rackstraw is now looking ahead to the next race and aiming to build on his success at Killarney.
Team boss Lee Thompson was elated with the result and had the following to say, “We knew that Andrew would have a good chance at Killarney because it’s his home circuit and he has a lot of track knowledge.
For some reason, we didn’t hook up qualifying the way we wanted but he could do something starting from 4th.
The pace was so evenly matched that it was difficult for Andrew to make a pass in race 1, so that is where we ended, but this also gave us pole position for race 2.
The Golf looks well after its tires so I knew if he could handle the pressure from the others in the first 4-5 laps, then he would have a good chance to win in, and so he did.”
Overall, Round 2 of the Extreme Festival was a fantastic event, with some incredible racing on display from all the drivers. However, it was Andrew Rackstraw who stole the show with his stunning performance, securing his first-ever GTC race win in front of his adoring fans.
It was a moment that will live long in the memory of all those who were lucky enough to witness it, and a testament to the skill and dedication of this talented young driver.
With his eyes firmly set on more success in the future, Andrew Rackstraw is definitely one to watch in the GTC series.
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Photography by: Motorsport Fanatix – Raymond Cornwell
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