All-Ireland and British National Formula Ford champion Jonny McMullan keen to clinch elusive Martin Donnelly Trophy
It has already been a stellar season for Jonny McMullan. Crowned All-Ireland and British National Formula Ford champion on successive weekends, he has set his sights on winning Northern Ireland's end-of-season showdown, the Martin Donnelly Trophy.
Presented by former Lotus F1 driver Donnelly in honour of his father, Martin snr, it is one trophy Motorsport Ireland Young Driver of the Year McMullan has never won but he goes into tomorrow's races at his home Kirkistown circuit on the back of a string of victories in the UK.
Cross-channel commitments have meant McMullan's Kirkistown appearances have been rare this season but he did win early in the year and now returns with his prize-drive Van Diemen in an effort to add his name to the list of trophy winners which include Ivor McCullough, Peter Dempsey, Patrick McKenna and Noel Robinson.
Former Loughgall footballer Robinson also returns in an effort to become the first three-time winner, stepping back into a Formula Ford after driving in the BOSS Ireland series.
Robinson said: "The competition is going to be very strong but I'm looking forward to it.
"The format is similar to the Formula Ford Festival at Brands Hatch and the Walter Hayes Trophy at Silverstone. I like that."
Jake Byrne, the 17-year-old from Kildare, has dominated at Kirkistown this season, winning the Northern Ireland Championship, and he is in the line-up along with last year's Donnelly Trophy winner Alan Davidson and Ireland's fastest lady, Jennifer McMullan, but the focus will be on Jonny McMullan.
Meanwhile, Kris Meeke was second fastest in the shakedown ahead of the start of the Tour de Corse. In damp conditions, the Ulsterman, in his Citroen, was fractionally slower than former F1 star Robert Kubica's Ford but ahead of the VWs of Jari-Matti Latvala and World champion Sebastian Ogier.
The Irish Tarmac championship concludes this weekend with the Cork '20' International and although the title has already gone to Donagh Kelly, triple British champion Keith Cronin, in his R5 Citroen, gives a boost to an already strong entry list headed by four-time winner Daragh O'Riordan.