Hat-trick for Team Ireland at the Nurburgring
May 28, 2014 by Leo Nulty
This weekend saw Team Ireland drivers Eoin Murray and Niki Meredith compete in round 3 of the Acceleration 14 series. After strong performances from both drivers in Friday Free Practice the two race days would only deliver mixed fortunes.
Eoin Murray racing in the MW-V6 Pickups had a disappointing Q1 when he could only manage 6th quickest having been caught out by the changing weather conditions. Q2 went a lot better for Murray, qualifying in pole position ahead of Dutch driver Danny Van Dongen and Sweden’s Alx Danielson. This pole position would give Murray a vital championship bonus point.
In Race 1 Murray got a great start and moved up to 2nd position by the 1st corner, but contact from another driver dropped him back down to 6th. He worked his way back to 4th, but while making a move for 3rd with Alx Danielsson the pair touched and suspension damage forced Murray into retirement.
Race 2 Murray lined up on pole position but a brake valve issue on the opening lap forced Murray to come into the pits. His team managed fix the problem and Murray rejoined the race a lap down. Then he was struck by more bad luck when the gearbox failed. While repairing the car for race 3 the team noticed an issue with the clutch which could not be repaired in time for race 3.
Although Murray failed to score any points in the three races he still leads the series due to strong performance in Portimao, Portugal and a maximum points haul at the last event in Navarra, Spain.
Commenting on the weekend Murray had this to say “Obviously I’m disappointed only to score one point this weekend but on the plus I am still leading the series. I didn’t get many race laps but I was happy to get another pole and have such strong pace.”
In the Legends Supercup Niki Meredith was optimistic heading into the weekend, following on from some very promising performance in both Portugal and Spain. He lined up 3rd and 5th for the two Saturday races.
In Race 1 Meredith got a great start and entered the first corner in the lead. He opened a small gap in the coming corners but with the bump-drafting in the Legends it makes it difficult for any one driver to get away. The Georgian driver Davitt Kajaia and Denmark’s Fredrick Nymark pushed each other back on to the Irishman’s rear bumper on the back straight. The 3 drivers pulled away from the
rest of the pack and battled all race long. Meredith made a lunge down the inside at the first corner on the final lap, but overshot the corner a little and the other two got away. He ended the race on the final step of the podium.
Visibly disappointed with his mistake in Race 1 Meredith was determined to put it right in Race 2. He started 5th and again got a good start, exiting the first corner in second behind the British driver James Holman. They were closely followed by Nymark, the 3 drivers fought it out for the entire race, swapping positions several times a lap. With 1 lap to go Meredith moved past Nymark into the lead, followed by Holman. The British driver got a good drive off the last corner and the two crossed the line 0.055 apart, with Meredith coming out on top. Leaving Najker 0.5 behind in third.
Sunday saw the Legends line up for 2 more races, this time Meredith would start 6th for both races. Race 3 the Irish driver made an excellent start coming from 6th to 1st by the end of lap 1. He led for most of the race closely followed by Kajaia and Holman. Towards the end of the race with his tyres going off the Georgian and British drivers caught Meredith and for the last 4 laps they swapped positions back and forth. Again Meredith left his move until the last lap, passing the Georgian driver around the outside for the 1st part of the chicane, but this left the two side-by-side coming into the final corner. Meredith was on the inside but the shallow line into the corner compromised his exit and Kajaia got a run on him out of the corner. The two crossed the line abreast with Meredith winning his second race of the weekend by 0.065 of a second.
The final race of the weekend Meredith once again kept his roll of great starts going and exited turn one in second place behind Davitt Kajaia, behind the two an incident took 4 cars out of the race, but Najker managed to miss the mayhem and was close to the back of the two leaders. By the end of lap one the two car fight for the lead became a three car fight and it continued this way for 4 more laps until Nymark suffered an electrical issue taking him out of the race. The Irish and Georgian drivers performed what was claimed by many as the best race of the weekend over the remaining 5 laps, as the two diced back and forth corner after corner. This time it was Meredith who led onto the last lap and he defended the position well to stop Kajaia stealing the victory. Meredith’s margin of victory was 0.066.
Speaking about his hat-trick of wins Meredith had this to say “I’m absolutely over the moon with the weekend’s results. I knew in Spain and Portugal we were quick enough, but we just didn’t have the luck we needed. All 4 races here at the Nurburgring were hard fought and so close crossing the line each time. We had some really close and clean racing and I’m thrilled with the results. It certainly helps from a championship point of view, but Davitt is still in front with a nice lead, so we just need to keep chipping away at it.”
Acceleration 14 now moves on to Monza (Italy) in two weeks time. Team Ireland is looking to keep up its form and once again challenge for more victories. More information can be found at www.acceleration14.com