Ginetta Junior Ireland

O’Brien and Doyle On Top At Kirkistown

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The Ginetta Junior Ireland series returned to Kirkistown in Northern Ireland for Rounds Ten and Eleven of the 2011 championship, with title rivals Andy O'Brien and Sean Doyle taking the wins to take the championship battle down to the final weekend.

Heading into the meeting, O'Brien, Doyle and Jake Byrne were only separated by a handful of points at the top of the standings. Taking the first honours in qualifying was O'Brien, who grabbed pole late on from Douglas Motorsport's Andrew Watson, with Doyle third on the grid ahead of ABR team-mate Byrne.

A great start from O'Brien saw him maintain his lead into the first corner, followed by Doyle and James Fleming, who shot up from fifth on the grid, while a poor start from Watson saw him struggling to keep up with the leaders.

O'Brien had Doyle right on his bumper for the opening few laps, but managed to fend him off, while Fleming enjoyed his best run of the season so far to stay ahead of Byrne and Watson. Behind, a good battle emerged between ASK Racing's Megan Kessie and ABR's Sophie Byrne, with barely a coat of paint separating the two.

At the front, O'Brien managed to open a small advantage to take the win, with Doyle second. A late charge allowed Watson to come home third ahead of Byrne, with Fleming dropping to fifth. Andrew Clarke took sixth ahead of Kessie and Sophie Byrne, with newcomer Eorann O'Neill rounding out the top nine.

With the drivers fastest laps from race one forming the grid for race two, Doyle lined up on pole from O'Brien and Flemings. O'Brien once again made a superb start to take the lead ahead of Doyle, while behind a spin for Watson saw him drop to the back of the grid.

After breathing down his neck for multiple laps, Doyle finally made his way past O'Brien at Colonial, with O'Brien then dropping another place to Jake Byrne. While Doyle was cruising home to victory, a superb fight for second saw O'Brien regain the place to ensure he maintains the championship lead. Byrne took third, with Fleming taking fourth to cap off an impressive weekend.

Fifth after a superb recovery drive was Watson, with Clarke rounding out the top six. Taking seventh after another great battle with Sophie Byrne was Kessie, while completing the finishers once again was O'Neill.

The series' final rounds take place in two weeks time at Mondello Park on 17/18 September, with O'Brien one point ahead of Doyle, while Jake Byrne also remains in contention.

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