Belfast Telegraph

Cruze control at Silverstone for the new Belfast logo

 

By Sammy Hamill

The new Belfast logo will be showcased on the track at Silverstone this weekend, emblazoned on the Chevrolet Cruze cars of the Ulster-owned BTC Norlin team.

It will feature on the Chevrolets of Ulsterman Chris Smiley and his Welsh team-mate Dave Newsham in the trio of British Touring Car Championship races with the Northern Ireland owner of the Norlin team, Stephen Symington, saying he was "absolutely delighted" to be involved as one of the first platforms to showcase Belfast's new branding.

"It looks fantastic on the cars and I think it really highlights how vibrant, lively and energetic Belfast has become in recent years," he said.

"We can't wait to display it on race day - the BTCC is streamed live across the world and I'm sure it will prove to be a hit with local and international audiences, both trackside, online and live TV," he said.

Still in his debut season, Smiley, the 23-year-old Carrickfergus driver, has made significant progress in recent races with two top finishes at Rockingham and he is now up to 11th in the Independent driver standings.

Meanwhile, Keith Cronin stepped up the pressure on British Championship title rival Fredrik Ahlin by winning the first leg of the Rally Isle of Man.

Cronin needs to win both legs if he is to overhaul the Swedish driver at the top of the standings and, despite damaging his M-Sport Ford Fiesta when he hit a bank yesterday, the three-time champion from Cork dominated the first leg to win by 18 seconds from the Fiesta of Matt Edwards with Ahlin's Skoda Fabia third.

Ahlin said he was happy with his cautious third but his car needed a change of gearbox before he could start the second leg last night. If Cronin wins both legs, Ahlin will need to finish second on leg two to win the title.

In the battle for the British junior title between two young Ulster drivers it was first blood to Callum Devine who finished top in the first leg. It was wrongly reported his Opel Adam had suffered a puncture on the Marine Drive spectator stage in Douglas on Thursday night costing him some two minutes but it was a timing error and he was reinstated in the top 10.

His big rival William Creighton had a difficult first leg with two off-road excursions and engine issues plaguing his Peugeot 208 R2 which dropped him to fourth place in the junior series.

It leaves a winner takes all situation for the £30,000 prize on leg two. If Devine wins again, he takes the title while it's vice versa for Creighton.

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