Motor racing: Bristol's Leigh Woods driver O'Neill aiming to extend his lead at Donnington
Leigh Woods racing driver Owen O'Neill is hoping to extend his lead at the top of the standings when he goes to Donnington Park for round two of the MSA British Endurance Championship this weekend.
O'Neill, who drives for the Buckinghamshire-based Topcats team, raced to the top of the standings after being the first Class II car over the finishing line at the end of a three-hour race in round one at Silverstone last month.
Along with team driving partner, Neil Huggins, O'Neill also finished second overall and steered the seven-litre V8 Marcos car to the fastest lap in a field containing a number of more valuable and technologically advanced cars.
O'Neill said: "We went to Silverstone confident that we could win our class. We managed to out-qualify a couple of Ferraris and a Porsche 977, so we made a good start.
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"That in itself is a good achievement considering the Ferrari in particular is a bit of kit worth around a quarter-of-a-million pounds.
"Our car is probably worth in the region of £25,000, so there is an element of David and Goliath about it. It was a massive achievement to beat off the competition of half-a-dozen Class I cars to finish second in the race.
"Then to get the bonus point for the fastest lap to take us to the top of the overall standings turned it into a really good day at the office."
O'Neill, 38, who graduated to the physically and mentally challenging endurance racing circuit after a number of years competing in TVR sports cars, will be hoping be celebrate another title success at the end of this season after claiming the Class III title last year.
"We were delighted to win the title last year," said O'Neill.
"I think the way we won it made it even more special. We sneaked it by coming home 14 seconds faster than our nearest challenger in the final three-hour race.
"That is going right down to the wire and some people were saying that it was the most thrilling race they'd seen in the Championship for over ten years.
"We've moved up to Class II this year, but we're confident in our own abilities as well as those of the car because it certainly has a bit of poke about it.
"The Ferraris and Aston Martins have the potential to be faster through the corners, but we have a nice big engine that gives us a lot of power in the straights."
Televised coverage of O'Neill's exploits at Silverstone is available on Motors TV (Sky Channel 413) on Friday evening (7pm).