Opening practice at Ulster Grand Prix hit by rain and oil spill on frustrating day at Dundrod

Superbike pacesetter Peter Hickman takes shelter from the rain at the Ulster Grand Prix on Wednesday.
Superbike pacesetter Peter Hickman takes shelter from the rain at the Ulster Grand Prix on Wednesday.
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A frustrating opening day at the fonaCAB Ulster Grand Prix saw the Supersport and Superstock qualifying sessions called off following a long delay.

Initially, the Supersport session was put on hold following heavy rain after Supertwin qualifying, which ended around 3pm.

The Supersport session was put back until 4.15pm before a further delay until 5.30pm was announced, with improving weather anticipated in the evening.

However, there was a further delay until 6pm before the Supersport machines finally left the grid, but the session was red-flagged shortly afterwards when Christian Elkin’s machine expired, dropping oil on the course.

It had been hoped to re-start the session but the oil spill was bigger than thought and eventually at 7.15pm, Clerk of the Course Noel Johnston confirmed no further action would take place.

Earlier, rain resulted in Superbike qualifying being stopped with around nine minutes remaining when the rain came on.

Peter Hickman topped the times with a lap at over 131mph on his Smiths Racing BMW from Manx rider Conor Cummins (Milenco by Padgett’s Honda) and Davey Todd (Wepol/Pen13.com BMW).

Paul Jordan led the way in the Supertwin class on the Dafabet Devitt Kawasaki, while Neil Kernohan and Michal Dokoupil were fastest in the Lightweight and Ultra Lightweight sessions respectively.

Final qualifying will be held on Thursday ahead of the first four races. Roads will close at 10am.