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O'Neill ends victory drought at Brands Hatch

Saturday, September 15 2012

15/09/12 - British Touring Car Championship fans favourite Paul O'Neill picked up his first victory since 2003 following an impressive drive on his MINI Challenge debut at the MSVR GP Weekend today (Saturday 15 September).

The BTCC race winner teamed up with Excelr8 Motorsport for the one-off outing in the MINI Challenge on the famous 2.3 mile circuit and the Widnes driver showed his class by taking victory in race one. The triumph was his first win since his BTCC success for Vauxhall at Snetterton in 2003.

O'Neill produced a strong display in the morning qualifying session but it was Chris Smith who took pole by 0.001 seconds from title favourite Lee Allen. The former Vauxhall BTCC driver had to settle for third with eight tenths of a second covering the top five.

Speaking before the meeting O'Neill believed he would be in for a tough battle for victory and it proved to be the case. Allen and Smith were involved in titanic scrap for the lead before contact at Paddock Hill Bend allowed O'Neill to the head of the field. Once in front he controlled the race to take the flag and an emotional win, according to the 32-year-old.

He told MSVR: "I'm absolutely made up. Its my first win since July 2003 I can't really say much more than to be honest. It was quite emotional for me as I haven't won a race for such a long time and I'm over the moon. Now we have just got to see what happens in the two races tomorrow.  

"I love racing especially here on the Brands Hatch GP circuit so if there is a chance to get out there in touring cars or something else then I'm up for it."

O'Neill will be in action in two more MINI Challenge races tomorrow and he will also be racing in two Radical UK Cup races.

Tickets for the MSVR Club Car Championships at Brands Hatch on 15/16 September are available from £10, with free entry for children aged 12 and under. For more information call 0843 453 9000 or click here.