After a weekend of mixed emotions at Donington Park, Niall Murray got his 2012 Ginetta Junior Championship challenge back on track with a pair of second places in Rounds Five and Six at Thruxton.
Murray headed into the event in a confident mood after winning two of the opening four races of the season and after putting in a strong performance in pre-event testing at the Hampshire circuit three weeks previously.
The Irishman was met with intermittent rain in qualifying, with the championship organisers calling for all teams to run wet tyres. Murray immediately went second quickest and looked to improve, but as the track started to dry out drivers were unable to improve their earlier times, leaving Murray second on the grid for both races.
The opening race was to take place on a largely dry track, but a controversial call by the championship organisers saw the drivers forced to run on wet tyres once again. Murray struggled off the line at the start and dropped down into fourth, but soon passed team-mate Andrew Watson on lap two for third. The 2010 Ginetta Junior Ireland champion then began closing a 2.5 second deficit to second place man Harry Woodhead, ending up passing the rookie on lap seven. With the gap to the leader too much, Murray settled into second to take a good haul of championship points.
Race two was a different story, with a totally soaked Thruxton circuit greeting the drivers. The race began under the safety car and when racing started, Murray got a good getaway to stay with race leader Charlie Robertson. With significant spray created by the leader, Murray had to drive sublimely to stay with him, but with the leader making no mistakes, the Irishman had to settle for another second place finish, his fifth podium of the campaign.
Murray said: “Race one proved difficult as I got a poor start off the line, but quickly I managed to work my way back up to second which was brilliant as the tyres were pretty much ruined by the half-way point of the race. Race two must have been very boring for the fans to watch on TV but for the first few laps I could see nothing with the spray. As the race progressed I got into a good rhythm to ensure I stayed on the track and retained a healthy championship points finish. Coming into the weekend I was over twenty points off the championship lead so it's fantastic to come away with the gap closed right up.”