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Murray serves up second Formula Ford Festival success

Sunday, October 23 2016

Niall Murray stormed to his second victory in the Formula Ford Festival at Brands Hatch this afternoon (Sunday) with a commanding performance in the Final. Murray was joined on the podium by Formula Ford stalwart Scott Malvern and Chris Middlehurst.

Murray was beaten off the line by pole-sitting Malvern, whilst impressive American rookie Oliver Askew manoeuvred himself briefly into third position before losing his position to Luke Williams. Impressive Team USA Scholarship racer Askew was appearing in only his fourth car racing meeting, and was fantastic in his pursuit of the other more experienced Formula Ford 1600 drivers.

At the head of the pack, Murray made his decisive move for the lead on the third lap, after running side-by-side with his wheels interlocked with those of Malvern. The leading duo made contact as they entered Paddock Hill bend, but Murray pressed on undeterred down the inside and they continued at the front unimpeded.

With a handful of laps completed, the leading six began to pull convincingly away from the rest of the field, with Murray followed closely by Malvern, Middlehurst, Askew, Stuart Gough, and Williams. The battle between Middlehurst and Askew in particular proved to be particularly close with the latter sneaking through into the final podium position on lap eight.

At this point Murray began to press his advantage and extend away from his pursuers, whilst the Askew revelation continued with his relentless stalking of Malvern for second position. The American was on Malvern's tail by the 13th lap and threatening to overtake but he was shuffled down the order on the 15th lap before pulling into the pits with a tyre problem.

Meanwhile, Murray was able to extend his margin at the front to more than three seconds with the chaos behind. Thereafter, the main battle was for third place as Gough set the fastest lap to close in on Middlehurst, though his attempt to climb onto the rostrum was hampered by Williams who snuck back into fourth just a couple of laps before the finish.

Murray, Malvern and Middlehurst hung onto their top three placings until the end from here whilst a mention must go to another of the Team USA drivers, Kyle Kirkwood, who managed to storm from a lowly starting position of 16th to take seventh place!

Formula Ford Festival Final, Result

1, Niall Murray, Van Diemen RF99, 20 laps
2, Scott Malvern, Mygale GV15, +3.706s
3, Chris Middlehurst, Van Diemen LA10, +4.483s
4, Luke Williams, Firman RF16, +5.699s
5, Stuart Gough, Van Dieman DP08, +5.789s