Kirkistown, Newtownards, Northern Ireland – Tuesday 26th June 2018: Niall Murray further extended his BRSCC Avon Tyres British Formula Ford 1600 Championship lead at his home round in Kirkistown last weekend by taking two superb victories from three races at the Northern Ireland circuit.
Qualifying on Friday afternoon was a typically close affair around the ultra-fast 1.5 mile circuit. Positions at the head of the field were changing with every tour but on lap nine it was series leader Murray who put in the best lap time to secure the top spot, all be it by a very slender four thousands of a second.
Starting the first of three races over the weekend from pole position on Friday evening, Murray was hoping to maximise his prime starting position. However a clutch problem saw the Murray Motorsport backed driver slip down the order as the lights went out and down to fourth at the end of the opening tour. Such was his pace advantage compared to those around him however, it wasn’t long before he was back up to second. By lap five, Niall was putting big pressure on race leader Luke Cooper. Coming into Colonial, Murray forced his opponent to defend and in the process, run wide allowing Niall to take advantage of the switch back and move into the lead exiting the corner. From there he would open a gap to the rest of the field to secure his first win of the weekend by just under two seconds.
Compliments of his race one victory, Murray once again lined up on the top spot, this time with no clutch problems to hamper his getaway. Briefly slipping to second behind race one rival Cooper, Niall lined up a carbon-copy move into the hairpin that forced the Swift driver wide and allowed Niall to move into the lead. From there, Murray would have to work hard over the remaining 15 laps to maintain his lead with plenty of advances from those behind. Despite that, Niall controlled his advantage to take his second win of the weekend by a very slender one tenth of a second.
With eight drawn as the number for the race three reverse grid, Murray would start the third and final race of the weekend from eighth position. With an ambition to try and win all three races in one weekend at some point during the year, Murray was keen to make that a reality at his home round of the championship. As the lights went out, Murray was pushed wide rounding Debtors Dip sending him further down the order to P11. From there he set about working his way back up the order and was quickly inside the top 10. With the benefit of a Safety Car, it looked as if Niall had been handed the lifeline he needed to hunt down the race leaders. However as the race returned to green his charge was short lived. Coming into the Hairpin, Murray found himself becoming a passenger in an incident in front, sending him into immediate retirement.
Niall Murray – #5 Team DOLAN Van Diemen RF99:
“Overall it’s been another really good weekend here in Kirkistown. This is one of my favourite tracks on the calendar and it’s nice to have a round of the championship here in Ireland. The Team DOLAN Van Diemen was fantastic again this weekend and two wins gives us another good boost in the championship. I would have loved to win race three also of course, but when I couldn’t win it I was thrilled that someone from the best team in the paddock did, so well done to Matt. A big thanks to the team, my sponsors and my family for the support this weekend, next up will be a new circuit for me in Castle Combe, so that should be interesting! ”
Castle Combe, Wiltshire, UK – Saturday 14th & Sunday 15th July 2018.