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British GT Championship: Richard Lyons roars back


Tyrone driver Andrew Watson is Supercup joint leader

Tyrone driver Andrew Watson is Supercup joint leader

Tyrone driver Andrew Watson is Supercup joint leader

Richard Lyons made an encouraging return to British motor racing with second and sixth places in the opening two rounds of the British GT championship at Oulton Park.

The Hillsborough driver, who has spent much of the last decade in Japan where he races for the Hitotsuyama Audi team, is continent-hopping to drive for the AF Corse Ferrari team in the British series where he partners 20-year-old Pasin Lathouras from Thailand.

Lyons drove the final stint of the first race, climbing to second place behind the winning Aston Martin of Ahmad Al Harthy and Michael Caine. In race two, Lyons was first at the wheel of the Ferrari and was in fifth when he handed over to Lathouras who eventually finished in sixth.

It proved to be a frustrating British GT debut for Steven Kane and the Bentley team with eighth and 17th places. Rembert Berg was standing in for Kane's regular partner Humaid Al Masaood and in race one he damaged a wheel in an early collision and had to return to the pits.

When Kane took over he was in 15th but the Ballynahinch driver shot up through the field to take eighth. In race two he handed over to Berg in third place but the Dutchman spun and fell back to finish 18th. The race was won by the Ecurie Ecosse BMW of Marco Attard and Alex Sims.

Colin Turkington survived a difficult, crash-strewn day at Donington Park in the British Touring Car Championship to stay in the hunt for the title he won in 2009.

The Portadown driver is in fourth place just three points behind the joint leaders Jason Plato and Andrew Jordan despite his rear-wheel-drive BMW struggling in the wet conditions. He stayed out of trouble in the first two of the three Donington rounds picking up fifth and sixth positions on the rain-soaked circuit.

Plato and his MG team-mate Sam Tordoff shared the victories.

But as the rain cleared and the track dried, Turkington came into his own in race three and led all the way to the final corner of the last lap where the Honda of Scot Gordon Sheddon stole the victory from under the nose of the eBay Motors BMW.

Andrew Watson has moved to joint first place in the Ginetta Supercup championship which runs as a support series to the BTCC. The 19-year-old student from Donaghmore, who won for the first time at Brands Hatch earlier in the month, was back on the podium at Donington after taking third place in the second of the three Ginetta races.

Watson also picked up fifth and ninth places in the other two races to join Charlie Robertson as joint leader of the championship.

Watson said: "The conditions were tough at times for all of us out there, so overall I was pleased to score quite heavily and to come away with another podium finish."

Belfast Telegraph