Belfast Telegraph

Title chasing Byrne targets double-header

By Sammy Hamill

Jake Byrne will hope to take another step - or two - towards his first Northern Ireland Formula Ford Championship at Kirkistown this afternoon.

The 20-year-old Kildare driver scored back-to-back wins in the previous two rounds of the series and is hoping for a repeat performance when he lines up in his Ray for another double-header at the Co Down track.

In fact, Byrne has won five times at Kirkistown this season and, in the absence of Jonny McMullan who won earlier in the season but has now moved on to concentrate on the British National championship, Omagh's Adrian Pollock is his nearest challenger.

Pollock, too, has won this season in his Van Diemen, edging out Byrne by little more than one-10th of a second in a June thriller, but he needs to halt his young rival's run of successes in the second half of the season.

Today's meeting also features saloons with Stephen Traub looking to continue his run of victories in his Honda Integra and James Turkington - younger brother of British touring car champion Colin - emerging as a serious challenger in his Seat Cupra.

Meanwhile, Steven Kane and his Bentley partners Guy Smith and Andy Meyrick will start this afternoon's Spa 24-hour race from 10th place on the grid after yesterday's super pole shoot-out.

The top 20 cars from Thursday qualifying went into one final 50 minute session for the flagship round of the Blancpain European GT endurance championship at the fabled Belgian circuit.

Northern Ireland born Kane took the wheel of the big GT3 Bentley for the shoot-out and although he was just three-10ths of a second off the pole position time it was only good enough for a fifth row starting position.

But Kane was happy enough. "The top 10 was covered by just three-10ths of a second. Just the blink of an eye and you went down a place," he said.

"But we are still up at the sharp end for the biggest GT race of the year and we know we have a strong car that can maintain its pace for 24 hours."

Belfast Telegraph


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