China debut delivers results

Cheshire’s Andy Meyrick returned to the cockpit of Aston Martin Racing’s LMP1 challenger this past weekend at the Zhuhai International Circuit in China and helped the British team to successfully wrap up the 2011 Intercontinental Le Mans Cup season with a sixth place finish.

Racing the 6-litre, V-12 powered DBR1-2 Lola Aston Martin in the six-hour endurance event, Andy and his team mates Stefan Mücke of Germany and Harold Primat of Switzerland drove a strong race to third place in the unofficial ‘petrol category’ and sixth overall.  The disparity in performance between the diesel-powered Peugeots and Audis and the remaining LMP1 cars is so significant that the petrol-powered cars have a race-within-a-race for supremacy in their category.

With Andy having never competed at the2.68 mile Chinese circuit before, Stefan Mucke was tasked with qualifying the Gulf-liveried DBR1-2 and duly secured seventh place on the grid.  The German went on to take the start and, despite losing a little time in the pits and dropping a position in the early phase of the race after contact with a slower LMPC car, handed over the car in seventh place to Primat.  During Andy’s stint, by which time temperatures had risen considerably, he made up a further place and the team went on to perform reliably and consistently over 239 laps of hard racing.  The final result means that Aston Martin Racing has had three points scoring races in a row to finish the ILMC season.

En route back from Zhuhai in the Guangdong Province of China, near Hong Kong, Andy said of the weekend:   “After the results at Laguna Seca and Petit Le Mans, we went to China hoping to win the LMP1 ‘petrol category’ this weekend, but unfortunately our car wasn't suited to the layout and nature of the Zhuhai circuit.  

“It’s likely to be the final time this car is run by Aston Martin Racing so it’s a shame we couldn’t finish with a podium, but ultimately it was important to get the points.   It was also the last race for George Howard-Chappell with the team and I just want to say what a pleasure it has been to have worked with him.  I wish him well in whatever he does and hope our motorsport paths cross again.”

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