DRIVER NEWS: Andy Meyrick’s faultless run in British F3 came to an end this weekend, as the MSA Race Elite Driver competed in the third event of the season at the historic Monza circuit in Italy. In a chaotic weekend which saw treacherous weather conditions and numerous accidents, the Welsh driver failed to finish either race, but still holds a comfortable 12 point lead in the National Class championship.
Torrential rain just before the first British F3 qualifying session left the track with large amounts of standing water, the result of which was a number of cars spinning off track at the Ascari chicane. With only six minutes of the half-hour session gone, race control deemed conditions to dangerous to continue and the session was abandoned. With only one qualifying session remaining, circuit officials decided that the fastest lap would set the grid for race one, while the second fastest lap would set the grid for race two.
Heavy rain on Saturday morning meant the track was still very wet when the British F3 drivers came to take part in the second qualifying session. As the rain started to fall again, conditions deteriorated and track conditions worsened, with many drivers unable to stay on track. Andy qualified with the 12th fastest time overall, - the quickest time in the National Class - taking his fifth consecutive pole position of the season. Meyrick’s qualified seventh overall for race two.
As the track dried out for race one, the F3 drivers made their way to the grid on slick tyres. As the lights went out, Meyrick made a good start and had extended his lead in the National Class race to move up to sixth place overall. As the International Class cars got up to speed, Meyrick relinquished a numbers of places to the International Class racers and was running in a strong seventh place on lap six. Making a rare mistake in the tricky conditions, Meyrick spun into the gravel and with his car beached, was unable to return to the track. Despite not finishing, Meyrick took away one point for setting the fastest lap of the race.
Meyrick made a good start away from the line as race two got underway, but was tagged by another car as the field filed through the first chicane, losing a number of places. By the end of lap one, Meyrick lay 11th overall, still leading the National Class race as the Safety Car made its first appearance of the weekend. As racing got underway again, Meyrick was passed by a number of the International Class cars, but maintained the lead in the National Class race by a comfortable margin. Then on lap nine, while in 14th place overall, Meyrick had to take avoiding action when team mate Brendon Hartley clashed with Walter Grubmuller. Slowing to avoid the incident, Meyrick and another car made contact, the resulting damage putting Meyrick in the barriers and out of the race.
Reflecting on a difficult weekend, Meyrick said, “I’m very disappointed not to have finished either race, but circumstances went against us. I made a mistake in the first race, which I think I’ve learnt from, and was driving much more within myself in race two. Unfortunately we finished that race empty handed. It’s a shame, but we still lead the championship and I’ll be aiming to be back at the top at Rockingham this weekend.”