First he had the cake, then the crash. It wasn’t the 45th birthday party Jonny Kane had expected or hoped for.
Little more than 60 minutes into the three-hour race, Kane was lapping a backmarker Mercedes when it moved into his Strakka McLaren, sending it into a spin and tearing off a wheel. The car shot across the grass and slammed into the barrier, bending the Armco to such an extent that it took more than 15 minutes to repair.
Kane, a veteran of hundreds of sports car races including an LMP2 victory at Le Mans, walked away from the crash, the McLaren team reporting he was “okay”. The Mercedes driver was penalised with a stop-go penalty.
Kane escaping without injury was the one bit of good news on a disappointing weekend for Ulster drivers at Silverstone, Monza and Monaco.
Steven Kane — no relation —finished in ninth place for Bentley, and Andrew Watson was 29th in another of the Strakka McLarens despite running as high as 11th in his opening stint for the team.
Wayne Boyd did everything he could to achieve his first LMP3 win in the European Le Mans series four-hour race at Monza but in the end didn’t even make the podium.
The former Formula Ford champion from Templepatrick qualified his United Autosports Ligier-Nissan on pole position and led throughout his first one-hour stint at the wheel, setting the fastest lap.
He came back for the final hour after team-mates Mark Patterson and Christian England had filled the middle stints but could only gain two places, climbing from sixth to fourth.
There was no joy either for Adam Carroll, who could only finish 14th in the FIA Formula E round in Monaco. The Portadown driver and his Jaguar team-mate from New Zealand, Mitch Evans, were hoping to build on their double points finish in Mexico but neither figured in the race which was won by Renault’s Sebastien Buemi, his third win of the all-electric series.
On a circuit where overtaking was all but impossible, Carroll started 17th and gained four places while Evans moved up from 15th to 10th.
Meanwhile, Marty McCormack had the perfect warm-up for this weekend’s British Championship Scottish Rally with a start-to-finish win in the Donegal Forest Rally.
Driving his Tiger Risk Skoda Fabia, the former British junior champion set fastest times on all seven stages to win by more than a minute from the Mitsubishi Evo of fellow Tyrone driver Patrick O’Brien.
David Crossan was third in his Ford Escort, top finisher in the two-wheel-drive category.
McCormack moves on to Scotland, where he will try to better his third place on the previous BRC round in England. The Scottish Rally starts on Friday.
Lucky escape: Ulster’s Jonny Kane