I’ve finally got the Monkey off my back! with Niall Murray
September 11, 2013 by Niall Murray
Well, as the title suggests, I’m delighted to say that I finally got my first win in FF1600. I’ve had five podiums this year including three second places so I was very eager to go another step further and add race victory in FF1600 to my cv!
It was a quiet weekend for Murray Motorsport and for the first time this year we only had one car out so I could just focus on doing my own data, reviewing my in-car videos and driving the car!
Testing went well and I ended the day just about three tenths off the quickest time and faster than my main rivals. At the end of the day we just downloaded the cars data, changed wheels, refuelled, gave it a quick clean and headed off to the B&B. After a long day driving Fred I was absolutely shattered so I just ate my dinner and went straight to bed!
Qualifying was fairly good for me. I had new CL Brake Pads so I couldn’t go flat out straight away so after a lap or two of taking it easy I was ready to put in a few quick laps. I set one or two quick laps myself but then tried to slow down to get a tow off somebody, as a tow around there could be worth up to five tenths of a second! Unfortunately any time I got a tow off someone, I hit traffic and lost some time. With just a few minutes left in the session I then decided to give up on trying to get a tow and just do a few more laps myself to try and improve on my fastest time. My last two laps in the session were a 1.01.379 and a 1.01.402 which were good enough for fourth in race one and third in race two.
In race one I got a pretty good getaway off the line and moved up to third place, but as I was changing into second gear I missed it and lost a load of time! Jonny McMullan got down my inside as we ran down towards the first corner but I really didn’t want to lose the place over a stupid mistake so I braked as late as I could and managed to hang it around the outside of Jonny and stay in third. Going down the back straight on the same lap I got a good tow off Ivor McCullough and threw it up the inside at the hairpin. Unfortunately, Ivor got a good run out of it and passed me again before the first corner. We then got into a three-car scrap for second with myself, Ivor and Jonny. We swapped places a few times and this allowed Kevin O’Hara to catch up on us. The four of us ran nose to tail for a few laps until contact with Kevin and Ivor promoted myself and Jonny up to second and third. I tried my very hardest to get passed but couldn’t find a way! All of this battling let Noel Dunne streak away to win comfortably with Jonny in second and me third.
In race two I got another good start but unfortunately I had nowhere to go under braking and Trevor Roberts got around the outside. I got passed him at the hairpin and tried to close down on the two leaders, Noel and Ivor. After about five laps of running nose to tail I decided that I’d never get ahead unless I tried a move. So, going down the back straight towards the hairpin I got up alongside Ivor on his outside and broke as late as I could and tried a risky move of going around the outside. Exiting the corner I was still alongside him but as I was expecting, he ran me out wide onto the grass (which he is fully entitled to do as it was his corner!). Unfortunately, this off track excursion meant that I lost two places to Jonny McMullan and David McCullough. After a few laps battling with David, the other three
guys pulled away so I knew I had to get passed and try to catch the lads. I got passed David and put in a few quick laps to catch back up to Noel, Ivor and Jonny. With just one lap to go I was within 10-12 car lengths of Jonny and going into the first corner Ivor and Noel came together which resulted in Noel spinning and Ivor losing some time but luckily I just about got ahead of him. I could then see the win in my sights and got a perfect exit from Fishermans and the Chicane. Following on from that I got a good tow from Jonny and caught right up to him, threw a dummy to the left and managed to just squeeze up the inside of him! I was so delighted to cross the line in first especially because I was so far behind going onto the last lap!
A massive thanks to my dad for taking Friday and Saturday out to run me and set up the car perfectly! We are getting better and better every time I drive it so hopefully another couple of good results next time out!
Also a big thanks to my sponsors Murray Motorsport, CL Brakes, Schroth Racing, SuperB Lithium Batteries and P1 : Digital!
Lastly, please please please go and follow @Murray_MSport on twitter and also like Murray Motorsport on facebook, and if you haven’t already please follow myself @niallmurray5!
Thanks for reading,