Niall Murray travelled to Zandvoort in the Netherlands last weekend for rounds five and six of the 2016 BRSCC British National Formula Ford 1600 Championship. The Dublin man has been a sensation in the series so far, starting three of the first four rounds from pole position, and now in a healthy championship lead thanks to a pair of race wins last time out in Silverstone. Embarking on his first race weekend outside of Ireland or the United Kingdom, Murray was keen to extend his advantage and remain the man to beat in qualifying.
True to his word, Niall was the pace setter of the field in a difficult Saturday morning qualifying. Starting on a wet track, the real challenge came at the end when the circuit started to dry; meaning lap times were tumbling on every tour. Improving his time on each lap towards the end, Murray secured the top spot and now remains the only man to start race one from pole position this season.
Hoping to utilise the benefit of his front row start, Murray was caught out as the red lights went out very quickly at the start. Slipping to third behind fellow Irishman Stephen Daly and championship rival James Raven, it wasn’t long before Niall was back up to second and in hot pursuit of the race leader. Getting a better run off the final corner at the end of the opening lap, Murray moved into the lead just as they got to the start/finish line, completing the move into the first corner.
Now back in front, Murray set about building a comfortable lead over his rivals. After just three laps, Niall now had over three seconds in hand and had crucially broken the tow to his nearest challenger. Despite driving in a conservative mode, Murray eventually brought his Bernard Dolan Motorsport run Van Diemen RF99 across the line to win in style by a margin of over six seconds in addition to setting the fastest lap of the race.
Starting Sunday morning’s second race of the weekend, again from pole position compliments of his race one victory, Murray was hoping this time round it would be less dramatic at the start. However at the end of the opening lap, Niall found himself down in fifth, largely due to a strong start from Daly and wanting to ensure he didn’t get caught up in someone else’s accident.
Despite briefly slipping back to sixth, a calculated Murray set the fastest lap of the race on lap four as he set about carefully working his way back up the order. After just four laps, the championship leader was now up to second and hot on the heels of local race leader Melroy Heemskerk. With two laps to go, Murray was now back in front and with a clear track was able to secure his second victory of the weekend.
With two wins, pole position and two fastest laps, Murray earned a maximum haul of championship points to increase his BRSCC British National Formula Ford 1600 Championship lead.
Niall Murray – #5 Bernard Dolan Motorsport Van Diemen RF99:
“What a fantastic weekend. The car was just unbelievable all weekend; I have to say a huge thanks to my team Bernard Dolan Motorsport, who gave me a race-winning package for every session this weekend. Not only was it my first time to race outside of Ireland or the UK, but also at Zandvoort, so to be able to win both races and extend my championship lead has been the very best possible outcome. As always, a big thanks to all my sponsors this weekend, as always they have been a major part of making this all possible. Roll on Rockingham!”