British sportscar racer Andy Meyrick wrapped up his first foray into the Asian Le Mans Series with another hard-earned podium during the championship finale at the Yas Marina Grand Prix circuit in Abu Dhabi.
The 35-year-old, racing for United Autosports, finished third in the LMP3 class along with team-mates Ian Loggie (GB) and Rob Wheldon (GB) in the last of four 4-Hour races, held over back-to-back weekends in the United Arab Emirates. The result on Saturday also netted the trio fourth in the overall class standings.
A second podium finish went some way to making up for the disappointment of Friday, where Loggie found himself stuck on the grid with a technical issue, meaning that Meyrick was unable to race at all in Round 3.
So Round 4 was arguably the first opportunity for the #2 crew to demonstrate their full potential. Over the course of the two events at Dubai and Abu Dhabi, the three drivers have gelled and grown in competitiveness and it showed throughout the final four hours of racing.
In the mix from the beginning, Loggie made a strong start from fourth on the grid and ran third for the majority of an opening stint that featured two lengthy Safety Car periods. Wheldon took over the Nissan-powered Ligier JSP320 prototype just after the first hour and promptly raced his way into the class lead which he then maintained for much of a tough double middle stint.
Unfortunately, during that stint, Wheldon made unintended contact with a GT and that meant that Meyrick had to serve a drive-through penalty not long after he’d climbed into the car in third position.
When he emerged from the pits, he found himself back in fourth and raced himself back into a heated battle for the final spot on the podium, which was tough with the car carrying some battle damage. Using the traffic to his advantage, and under pressure from a rival behind, Meyrick waited until the final 10 minutes of the championship to strike in the first sector with a decisive move to take third position.
That ensured the West Yorkshire-based team locked out the LMP3 podium for the first time in the series and concluded a successful first crack at the Asian Le Mans Series for Meyrick.
“This was a great finish for the United Autosports team,” said Meyrick. “To sweep the podium is something very special and I’m glad I could help contribute to that, and it’s certainly no less than they deserve given the high standards and amazing effort they always deliver. We faced some challenges of our own today, and we overcame them, which I’m very proud of. But there is a small part of me that can’t help wonder whether we might have been able to come away with a win if we’d had a clean run. Nevertheless, I’ve enjoyed my first Asian Le Mans Series, it’s been fun and we’ve been fast this weekend.”
Andy now turns his attention to the Michelin Le Mans Cup where he will return with United Autosports for a second season alongside Daniel Schneider, which begins on the 16-17 April at Barcelona.