Boyd takes long awaited Le Mans prototype series victory in Portugal
Finally a European Le Mans series victory for Wayne Boyd in the last race of the season at Portimao in Portugal.
After a series of pole positions, front row starts, fastest laps and podium places in the past two years, Boyd and his United Autosports team-mates Mark Patterson and Christian England got their Ligier-Nissan prototype over the LMP3 finish line in first place.
The former British Formula Ford champion from Templepatrick had again qualified on the front row of the grid at Portimao and although he fell to third early during the opening stint of the four-hour race, he clawed his way back to the front and handed over to Patterson in first place.
Patterson dropped to fifth after the pit stop but regained fourth before handing over to England for the final stint. He climbed to second and took the lead when the leader, American team-mate John Falb in the sister Ligier, slowed.
There was a late scare when England collided with an LMP2 car and spun but he recovered to bring the car safely home for their first victory ahead of Falb, who with Sean Rayhall, had already clinched the LMP3 championship for the Anglo-American United Autosports team.
A nervous Boyd had to watch the closing laps from the pits, anxiously pacing up and down before he could celebrate a long overdue victory.
None of the Irish contingent couple repeat Boyd's two victories in the Formula Ford Festival at Brands Hatch yesterday although there was a win for John Ferguson in the Masters event.
Another former Festival winner, Joey Foster, won the final at the Kent circuit in his Ray and while several of the leading Irish contenders, including Jake Byrne and Jordan Dempsey, never made it through to the decider, Keith Donegan led the challenge.
The Dublin driver finished in second place in his Van Diemen, just a 10th of a second behind Foster, and ahead of Scot Neil McLennan with former NI champion Noel Robinson the top Ulster finisher in eighth.
Byrne led his heat on Saturday but crashed out heavily. He returned for the Masters event and despite starting from the back of the grid was on Ferguson's tail as they crossed the line.