British sportscar racer Andy Meyrick stood on the 2020 Michelin Le Mans Cup (MLMC) podium for the first time this season, as the series returned to a very wet Paul Ricard on Saturday, 29 August, for Round 3 of the championship.
The former MLMC race-winner, along with his new United Autosports co-driver Daniel Schneider, finished a brilliant third in the two-hour Le Castellet 120 race in only their third race as a driver-pairing despite challenging conditions that tested every facet of both driver skill and team preparation.
The result is a testament to the rapid progress Meyrick and Schneider are making, and a fulfilment of the promise they’ve shown with the new Ligier JS P320 LMP3 prototype since motorsport resumed in July, following the coronavirus lockdown.
This promise continued through the sunny practice days in the run up the event, which replaced Barcelona on the schedule and acted as a dress rehearsal in the run-up to the blue riband double-header at Le Mans (18/19 September).
Having been second fastest in free practice in the #24 Nissan-powered machine, Schneider qualified in a strong sixth position in dry conditions, improving on his performance in the MLMC season-opener at the same venue. The Brazilian also started the race, and ran eighth early on before picking up positions as the track slowly became wetter with the intensity of the rain.
By the time Schneider pitted, he was in fifth position, the team having timed both his change to wet tyres and his driver change to perfection.
It was then down to Meyrick to fight his way through the pack, and the spray, in the hunt for a podium which he duly did. But as the race moved into its final third, the conditions were so treacherous that the Welshman’s focus moved into one of survival. He held fourth place to the flag – which became third when one of the team’s competitors was excluded from the results.
“I’m really happy to get our first podium of the season so quickly, and it shows the huge amount of progress that we’ve made in such a short space of time,” said Meyrick. “I’d to say a big thanks to United Autosports for the amazing job that they did both with the strategy, and providing a car that is so easy for us to race. And I’m really impressed with the job that Daniel did all weekend.
“I have to say those were some of the toughest conditions I have ever driven in. There were points when I thought the race was going to be red-flagged due to the amount of standing water. It was not so much a race as it was a test of survival – which we came through with flying colours. Now we must try to build on this weekend’s performance as we go into the Le Mans double-header. And having finished on the podium, the next target on our list is a race win!”