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A Race Win, Third place podium and fastest lap boosts Byrne’s title challenge

After a short summer break, the Vertu Motors MINI Challenge UK Trophy returned to action in late July, joining the BTCC paddock at Croft Circuit, with just two races instead of the usual three over the course of the weekend.

Free practice on Friday proved that Byrne had the pace at this circuit on only his second visit to the north England track, as he set quickest time in FP2 and second only to his team mate Taylor in FP1, testament to the Graves setup at this challenging track.

An issue with Byrnes shocks in qualifying however, left him struggling with the cars handling in the thrirty minute session and he had to settle for P6, though confident he could recover in the Race 1 once the issue was resolved.

A rapid start to Race 1 from P6 saw him move up to 3rd on the first lap and them battled hard to take 2nd on lap 3, however after a three way battle for the race win with Ovenden and Taylor, he had to settle for third but with fastest lap to boost his points tally.

Race 2 reverse grid saw Byrne starting from P2 alongside Ashley Gregory on pole. After the initial start was redflagged, on the restart Gregory made a good start and Byrne slotted in behind into turn one with Taylor and Ovenden in 3rd & 4th respectively. Byrne tried to take the lead on lap two but couldn’t make the move stick and had to bide his time until a small mistake by the Rookie on lap four allowed him to get a better run out of Tower and he swept into the lead on the run up to the Esses. He then had to hold off his Graves team mate Taylor and EXCELR8’s Tom Ovenden to take his third win of the season in front of the large crowds and being broadcast live on ITV.

The weekends strong performance leaves Byrne sitting in second place in the championship behind Ovenden, just over half way through the season.

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