Belfast Telegraph

Jonny McMullan red hot, Turkington still in the hunt for British Touring Car title

By Sammy Hamill

On a day when Colin Turkington kept alive his hopes of retaining his British Touring Car title, Jonny McMullan brought another UK title back home to Ulster.

Already the All-Ireland champion, McMullan, Motorsport Ireland's Young Driver of the Year, dominated the final two rounds of the Avon Tyres Formula Ford Championship at Anglesey in Wales.

The 24-year-old from Newtownabbey qualified his Van Diemen on pole position for both races, led all the way from lights to chequered flag and set fastest laps each time to complete a clean sweep.

His closest rival, Canadian Patrick Dussault, was second in race one and third in race two but never threatened to disrupt McMullan's march to a title which was won in 2008 by his close pal Wayne Boyd.

Turkington, meanwhile, looked like he would be losing ground in the BTCC Championship chase in the penultimate round of races at Silverstone yesterday when he could only take a disappointing fifth and eighth places in races one and two.

But, typical of the two-time champion from Portadown, he rescued the situation with victory in race three.

The Silverstone meeting marked Turkington's 300th appearance in the BTCC but it didn't start too well when his sixth place in qualifying produced just fifth in race one as Mat Jackson (Ford) won ahead of series leader Gordon Sheddon (Honda).

Worse followed in race two as his BMR Volkswagen wore out its soft tyres and he slipped back from fifth to finish eighth as BMW's Andy Priaulx took the victory.

But, starting from third on the grid in race three, Turkington sprinted up to second off the line and passed the pole-sitting BMW of Rob Collard on the first lap and was never headed despite a safety car period.

It means Turkington goes to the final rounds at Brands Hatch third in the standings, 32 points behind Sheddon and 23 adrift of team-mate Jason Plato.

At home, Mark Donnelly scored his first Northern Ireland rally championship victory on Saturday, leading from start to finish in his Subaru to win the Bushwhacker Rally.

The former Pirelli Star Driver from Omagh won by 25 seconds from the Mitsubishi of Josh Moffett with Desi Henry taking third place in his S2000 Skoda.

Kenny McKinstry, who is a three-time champion, finished fourth in his Subaru with Nial McCullagh (Mitsubishi) and Shane McGirr (Toyota) completing the top six.

The R2 Road to Wales competition ended with Jon Armstrong taking his fifth win of the series but it wasn't enough to deny Rob Duggan the prize of a fully funded drive on Rally GB, Britain's round of the World championship.

Duggan duly secured the second place that he needed and will now go to Wales in November in a Citroen DS3 run by the DGM team.

Belfast Telegraph


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