Murray Returns to Winning Ways at Kirkistown.
April 3, 2014 by P1 Digital
Looking to build on his recent podium success in the Champion of Mondello Formula Ford series, 2013 Dunlop Motorsport Ireland Young Racing Driver of the Year Niall Murray headed north to Kirkistown in County Down to kick off his assault on both the Northern Ireland and All Ireland Formula Ford championships coming away with a victory in race one and a second place finish in race two.
With similar conditions to Mondello Park some two weeks ago, Niall set out to qualify in extremely wet conditions and managed to place his Irish Sports Council backed car on the outside of the front row for both of the afternoon’s races.
A poor getaway on a damp track for Murray would see him slip to fourth initially in the opening stages of race one. With the top four running nose to tail, Niall set about making back the places lost over the next few laps and quickly found himself on the tail of leader Adrian Pollock and challenging for the lead going through Debtors by lap seven. Knowing the opportunity would come if remained patient, Murray lined himself up for a fantastic move around the outside of Pollock into the Hairpin and claimed the lead of the race. Running wide at the Chicane as a result of oil on the circuit allowed Jake Byrne to briefly slip into the lead. A lap later however it was Byrne’s turn to struggle on the same oil allowing Niall to get a better run to the Hairpin and retake the lead all the way to the chequered flag claiming his maiden victory of 2014.
With a predominantly dry track for the closing race of the day, Niall was keen to build on his pace from earlier and bring home yet another strong result. A better start this time meant that Murray held his second spot for the first few laps behind veteran Noel Dunne, despite Jake Byrne and Adrian Pollock once again looking for a way past the front two. A brave run around the outside of leader Dunne at Debtors would leave Murray the inside line for the right-hander, Colonial. Quickly the lead pair worked themselves clear of the chasing Byrne and Pollock. Dunne pounced to reclaim the lead briefly at Debtors on lap nine before Murray swapped the positions back again at the hairpin towards the end of the lap. With two laps remaining, Murray locked a wheel under braking on a wet patch on the way into Fishermans corner allowing Dunne up the inside and into the lead once again. A last lap challenge from Niall on the inside of Dunne at Colonial resulted in the pair interlocking wheels and making contact, but both were able to continue holding their positions and Niall crossing the line in second position.
Speaking after the race, Niall commented on what was a very successful weekend: “I am delighted to come away with a win and a second. We showed great pace in a very wet qualifying session and then again in the dryer conditions later in the day which is very promising. If I can just eliminate the few little mistakes that have perhaps cost me a little so far this year, I’m sure we will continue to extend our lead in the Northern Ireland and All Ireland Championships that we have built here today.”