Belfast Telegraph

Lyons makes European return in Spa 24 Hours for Audi

 

By Sammy Hamill

Richard Lyons will make it four Ulster drivers lining up on the grid for the biggest race of the Blancpain European GT series, the 24 Hours of Spa, on Saturday and Sunday.

The former Formula Nippon and Super GT champion has spent most of his racing career in the Far East but returns to Europe to join the Belgian WRT Audi team for their home round of the endurance championship.

With Steven Kane leading the Bentley team and Jonny Kane and Andrew Watson part of the Strakka McLaren squad, the vastly experienced Lyons comes in to join Jon Venter, Josh Caygill and Niki Mayr Melnhof in one of three WRT Audi R8s in the race.

Still based in Lisburn, Lyons commutes to Japan to drive for Team Hitotsuyama in the Super GT championship - he had a disappointing race at Sugo yesterday - and is flying back to meet up with the WRT squad.

"It's been a last minute deal, but after having built a relationship with WRT and my team in Japan, it seemed like the perfect opportunity," said Lyons. "WRT have been collaborating with our team in Super GT since 2015 and now I get the chance to drive at their home race.

"Spa is a circuit I have had good success on in the past, although I haven't raced there regularly, so I'm super excited to be taking part in one of the biggest endurance events in the world."

The two Kanes - they are not related - and Watson are all regulars in the European GT3 championship.

Meanwhile, Wayne Boyd's bid for a first European Le Mans LMP3 victory was short-lived at the Red Bull Ring in Austria yesterday. He completed just one lap of the scheduled four-hour race before being forced to retire.

After his United Autosports team had been called into action to repair their Ligier-Nissan following co-driver Christian England's crash in practice, Boyd qualified the car on the second row of the grid.

But in a chaotic start he was forced off the track and over the kerbs on the opening lap and shortly afterwards snapped into a sudden spin as the result of a broken drive shaft. Boyd was left stranded out on the circuit, his race over.

However, it was a great race for the Anglo-American United team with Will Owen, Hugo de Sadeleer and Filipe Albuquerque winning overall in their LMP2 Ligier and Americans John Falb and Sean Rayhall taking the LMP3 category.

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