Wayne Boyd scored a dramatic maiden British Formula Three championship victory at a rain-hit Donington Park.
The 18-year-old Ulsterman, who swept all before him in Formula Ford last year, has struggled to adapt to F3 but yesterday he emerged out of the spray to win for the first time in his DHL Dallara-VW.
The victory was all the more remarkable because Boyd had finished 10th in the first of the two Donington rounds and started race two back on the fifth row of the grid. He even slipped to 12th in the opening laps.
But he staged a magnificent fightback in treacherous conditions to scythe through the field and lead home his T-Sport team-mate Adriano Buzaid.
Championship leader Daniel Ricciardo led the way from the pole in the early, dry laps, pursued by Buzaid, Renger van der Zande and Walter Grubmuller. But at the completion of a two-lap safety car period, Ricciardo was passed by van der Zande and Buzaid.
The Australian then spun back to seventh, just ahead of Boyd, who had recovered well from a grassy moment on the opening lap and was revelling in the increasingly wet conditions.
Boyd made short work of Ricciardo and within a further two laps had dispensed with the cars of Carlos Huertas and Max Chilton to move into fourth. Both Grubmuller and Buzaid fell victim to the charging Ulsterman on the 15th lap and then, after five laps shadowing van der Zande, Wayne put in the overtaking move of the season at Redgate, around the outside of the Dutch driver, to claim the lead.
With van der Zande fading towards the end (and later slapped with a 25-second penalty for his incident with Ricciardo), Buzaid moved into second for a T-Sport 1-2.
“It's absolutely amazing,” said Belfast Telegraph-backed Boyd. “After being so dominant in Formula Ford last year, jumping up to F3 was a big step. People doubted I could do it. But now to get my first win in the hardest conditions we've seen all year... it's absolutely brilliant.
“I got pushed on to the grass at the start, and that fired me up a bit. Big thanks to T-Sport, the car was absolutely brilliant.”
Grubmuller, who won race one from van der Zande and Ricciardo, finished third.
Meanwhile, John McGlaughlin snatched another late win in the Irish Mitsubishi Evo Challenge series on the ALMC Rally.
The Cookstown driver had been in fifth place overall and second in the Mitsubishi category behind fellow Ulsterman Neil McCance with just three stages of the Gormanstown based event remaining. But as the rain came down, the leaderboard changed dramatically with McCance, in third place overall, retiring with clutch failure and Adrian Hetherington, who had been second in his Ford Escort, also going out with mechanical trouble.