Andy Meyrick got his 2021 racing campaign up and running at the weekend in the Middle East, with Team Parker Racing at the Gulf 12 Hours event. Racing as part of a Pro-Am line up, Andy and his teammates Derek Pierce and Euan McKay fought hard throughout the two 6-hour events at the Bahrain International Circuit to cross the line with a fourth-place class finish and fifth in the overall standings.
The Gulf 12 Hours moved from its regular home of Abu Dhabi’s Yas Marina Circuit to the Kingdom of Bahrain for the first time but was no less action-packed. Andy has enjoyed strong results at the event in recent years, and rejoined Team Parker Racing running the second-generation Bentley Continental GT3.
The pace and setup looked strong during the free practice sessions as each of the drivers got up to speed around the Bahrain International Circuit. An average from three individual qualifying sessions determined the starting grid, and the #31 Bentley would line up on the third row and secure third in class.
The race start saw teammate Euan make a bold move to make up four positions to lead the class by the end of the first lap. The young Scot retained position before handing over to Derek who completed a solid opening stint. Andy then saw his first race action just before the opening race reached half distance, joining the action fourth in class. A determined drive saw Andy immediately on the class leaders’ pace as he hustled the #31 Bentley back into the podium positions, all the time closing the gap ahead. Over the next two hours, the Team Parker Racing Bentley reeled in the class leader.
With just over an hour remaining of the opening race, Andy was back out on track running second in class, looking to reduce a 38-second lead. As this margin to the class leader came down and the race-leading Pro entry suffered some technical issues, Andy moved back on to the lead lap with the overall race lead within touching distance.
The BRDC Superstars Director made a move for the overall race lead on lap 155 and immediately set about building a margin to the chasing pack, before succumbing to the fast-charging #33 McLaren. Approaching the race’s mid-point, Andy pitted for a final stop and took the race one chequered flag still on the lead lap, holding a top-three position.
With the second race neutralising the margins built up to the chasing pack, an early pitstop saw the #31 drop a position. However, with good pace and more than five hours remaining the team remained positive for a strong result, and Andy continued to work to reduce the margin to the leading Pro-Am runners. Now racing under the floodlights of the Bahrain International Circuit, temperatures started to drop, and lap times across the field began to improve. Despite their best efforts, the trio was unable to mount a final attack on the podium, and Andy brought the #31 Bentley home for Team Parker Racing, claiming fourth-place in the Pro-Am standings and fifth overall, just three laps behind the Pro-entry winners.
“It was a real shame to miss the podium but it was great to finish the race,” said Andy. “The car showed strong pace throughout and Euan, Derek and the whole team did a great job so it was a solid performance all round. As always, it was a great event and really enjoyable to drive. It was a great way to kickstart 2021 and I’m looking forward to keeping the momentum going as I head into the Asian Le Mans Series with United Autosports.”
The 2021 Asian Le Mans Series begins on the 4th February in Abu Dhabi.