Andy Meyrick looked set to claim a podium finish in the Le Mans Cup at the weekend (May 13/14) before contact in the closing ten minutes caused a puncture which sent him off track and into retirement.
Both Andy and team-mate Daniel Schneider were tackling the Autodromo Internazionale Enzo e Dino Ferrari – better known as Imola – for the first time, but quickly got themselves up to speed in their United Autosports Ligier JS P320 during Friday’s free practice sessions.
Daniel undertook qualifying, with the Bronze-rated driver performing really well to finish eighth quickest around the 4.909 km (3.050 mi) venue. The Brazilian then started the 110-minute contest and continued to match the pace of the front-running cars before handing over to Andy who emerged from the pits in sixth position.
From there, he battled both cars on track as well as a number of Full Course Yellow periods as he hunted down the podium positions and moved into third place with a handful of laps left to run. Exiting from the final corner, Andy found Colin Noble trying to get past and, after contact from his rival, suffered a puncture which sent him off track at the Variante Tamburello and then into an irretrievable spin at the next sequence of corners.
Despite the setback, Andy, Daniel, and the United Autosports team are already looking ahead to the next rounds of the season, the prestigious Road to Le Mans races at the Circuit de la Sarthe over June 8-10. Having claimed two fourth place finishes at the legendary venue in 2020 and 2021, there are high hopes of claiming some well-earned silverware.
“Imola was a new circuit to both Daniel and me. We got to grips with it during the Free Practice sessions and were up to speed pretty well and the car was feeling really good. The qualifying session was really disrupted by red flags, but Daniel did brilliantly to qualify in eighth place. He got a lap in quickly, and although he didn’t show his full potential, he got us a really strong starting position.
“Daniel had a good stint at the start of the race and when he came in to hand over, we were running sixth in class. After I got in, I just got my head down but there were loads of Full Course Yellows, so it was all about using those as an opportunity to pass the others. It’s not an impossible track to pass on, but it’s difficult to overtake in a train of Pro drivers, so you have to use the Full Course Yellows as opportunities to get past in traffic.
“We were running third with just over ten minutes of the race remaining. I didn’t get a great exit from the last corner, but the right front of Colin Noble’s car hit my left rear and we had a blowout two corners later so, unfortunately, that’s how our race ended.
“The positives from the weekend are that the car United Autosports gave us was good, Daniel did a mega job, we were fast, and now we head to Le Mans where we have finished fourth both times we’ve raced there. We’ve had good pace there and we just want to come away from Le Mans with some silverware.”