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de Chaunac leads the cheers as Welsh driver & WRDA member Andy Meyrick helps uphold French pride with a superb 4th at Le Mans (photo media.lemans.org)

WRDA member Andy Meyrick from Swansea, scored the greatest result for a Welsh driver in International Racing for over 30 years as he and his teammates, Soheil Ayari and Didier André, guided the French Oreca OM1 sportscar to a superb 4th overall on his debut in the 24 Hours of Le Mans – the most famous motor race in the world and the jewel in the crown of international sports car racing. Driving the French Oreca OM1 sportscar powered by a British Judd V10 engine, the car was the first petrol engined car home, beaten only by the works Audi diesel powered entries who finished 1st 2nd & 3rd.

However it was far from plain sailing, the car surviving a minor accident, and some pitline troubles, but was still able to run at a consistently fast pace, holding 10th place for most of the night. Then as the race entered it’s final phases, the pace that Meyrick, Ayari and André were driving at, began to tell and they began to overtake car after car to climb to 6th place. Then in the final hour of the race, the last works Peugeot, and the last of the works Lola Aston Martins both pulled out with major engine blowups as they were unable withstand the pressure, leaving Andy to bring the car home to an estatic welcome,

Hugues de Chaunac, the legendary boss of the Oreca team was moved to tears at the sight of one his cars restoring some French pride, after the poor showing of the Peugeots.

Andy Meyrick.jpg (21465 bytes)"There was no way we were going to beat the diesels," said Andy afterwards. "but to finish top petrol-powered car is unbelievable. The start of the race wasn’t perfect, and we had a starter motor issue with about 90 minutes to go which was a bit tricky but it was fixed very, very quickly as you’d expect from the ORECA team. We’ve all put a lot of work into this and I’m really happy with the outcome. I was lucky enough to be driving the car at the end of the race which is a huge honour, especially for a Briton in a French team. For Hugues [de Chaunac] to give me the opportunity to do that, as a rookie, to bring the car home at my first Le Mans in front of all his guests and a huge number of people from the factory, is fantastic. As I was getting ready to get into the car for that final stint, the other ORECA car, the remaining Peugeot diesel, blew up, so everyone was crying in the garage as they were pushing hard to beat the Audis. Then Hugues said to me, "You are our only chance of a result here now so do a good job." (photo Rob Allender)

wpe2C.jpg (31436 bytes)The final word goes to de Chaunac, boss of ORECA. "Andy really had a great week because Le Mans is very difficult for someone who is a debutant. It’s not easy for him to come into a French team and integrate, but the guy is nice and as a driver he has performed . He did a great job and was very good and listened to everything we said; something we really appreciated from him. He’s also very motivated and focused on the target, how the team is working, and what we are expecting from the drivers. He has a good understanding of what a driver has to do. He’s not made any mistakes and he’s quick, so I’m very pleased to have discovered Andy." (photo media.lemans.org)

Stop Press Andy Meyrick preveiws Le Mans on The Back Page on BBC Radio Wales  Listen to his radio interview which gives a fantastic insight into the preparation for the race. - Link via your pc to http://www.bbc.co.uk/wales/radiowales/



Live Commentary from Radio Le mans http://rlm08.0157.org

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