Belfast Telegraph

Ulster duo are keen to home in on Euro triumph

 

By Sammy Hamill

Jonny Kane and Andrew Watson will be hoping for home comforts when the Blancpain European GT Championship moves to Brands Hatch this weekend.

The first two away rounds in Italy have brought considerable pain for the Strakka McLaren duo - and fellow Ulsterman Steven Kane as well - but on Sunday they are on the familiar territory of the Kent circuit where both have raced many times in the past.

Jonny Kane, a veteran of countless prototype sports car races including Le Mans, could hardly have had a worse start to his transition to GTs as part of the collaboration between his Strakka team and McLaren.

He was caught up in an accident during the sprint qualifying race at Misano and eliminated before the action proper had even begun.

And Watson could only watch from the pit lane at Monza two weeks later as his McLaren was taken out on lap one of the first endurance race when it was being driven by team-mate Dean Stoneman.

Ironically, it was Steven Kane's Bentley team-mate Guy Smith who was deemed responsible for the first-lap tangle which affected eight cars and when he failed to come into the pits for a stop-go penalty, the car was black flagged off the track.

The team blamed a miscommunication with race officials but it meant Steven Kane, who had qualified the Bentley Continental on the second row of the grid, never got to be part of a race he felt they had a strong shot of winning.

He finished second in the opening sprint race at Misano and is again teamed with Vincent Abril as they look to challenge the Championship-leading Mercedes of Frank Perrara and Maxi Buhk.

Strakka have paired Watson with endurance champion Rob Bell and Jonny Kane, who finished in 11th place at Monza, shares his McLaren with Loris Hezemans for the one-hour race on Sunday afternoon.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the world, Richard Lyons heads into round two of the Super GT series in Japan. This weekend it is the Fuji International circuit and the Hillsborough driver is hopeful there will be no repeat of the bad luck which dogged his Team Hitostsuyama Audi at Okayama.

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