Andy Meyrick rounded out his 2022 Michelin Le Mans Cup campaign with a sixth-place finish last weekend (15/16 October) at Algarve International Circuit, near Portimão in Portugal.
Teammate and Am driver Daniel Schneider put in a good lap in qualifying to secure ninth on the grid, lapping the 2.89-mile circuit at an average speed of 167.4 kph, setting the fastest time of any of the United Autosports entries.
It was not going to be a quiet final race for the series however, with Sunday morning’s race delivering drama from the outset. Daniel got a good start to initially gain a few places before settling into tenth at the end of the first lap. A stalled car required the Safety Car to be called, which pulled into the pits at the end of the following lap, but carnage would erupt soon after.
Accelerating away from the pack for the restart, the race leader slowed onto the pit straight, causing the second placed car to suddenly back off. This caught several cars out, with Jerome de Sadaleer veering into the barriers on pit entry, bringing out red flags. He was airlifted to hospital for precautionary checks as the circuit team then spent 95 minutes repairing the barriers before racing could resume.
Thankfully Daniel was able to avoid the melee and was able to restart the now 32-minute race, which got underway behind the Safety Car, with all competitors driving through the pitlane to allow the clean up on track to conclude. The pit window soon opened, and the majority of the cars came in to change drivers, including the number 32 car which, thanks to slick pit work, emerged in seventh place with Andy behind the wheel, gaining two places.
The Safety Car came in with 21-minutes of the race left to run, before a Full Course Yellow came out with ten minutes left to run effectively neutralising the race once again. Having run for the majority of the green flag laps on the tail of the car ahead, Andy was able to move up a place at the flag to secure sixth place and his and Daniel’s best finish of the season.
United Autosports, Andy, and Daniel will now stay in Portugal to get winter testing underway, ahead of next season’s move into the LMP2 class of the European Le Mans Series, where Nelson Piquet Jr. will round out the line-up.
“Finishing sixth is a strong result for us to end the season with. It was a bit of a strange race but at least it ended positively. Daniel started and did well to avoid the carnage on the restart. It all happened very quickly and right in front of him as we were running in the leading pack. It would have been very easy for him to get caught up in it and it would have been race over for us.
“It was a long delay whilst they fixed the barrier and I’m glad to hear Jerome was able to get out of the car but I’m sure he’ll be feeling a little sore over the next few days. When the race restarted Daniel did not have long behind the wheel until we pitted to change drivers.
“We had a great stop which made my job pretty easy despite it being a shorter than normal stint. We entered the pits in ninth, and came out seventh, right in the mix. I was able to gain sixth but it’s just a shame we had the Full Course Yellow at the end as I’m sure we could have made up a few more places.
“I’ve very much enjoyed the season despite not getting the results our pace deserved but now we turn our attention to 2023 as we’re staying out for a few more days to test the LMP2 car. I’m looking forward to getting started and to working with Nelson Piquet Jr., who will be joining Daniel and I next season.”