Murphy Prototypes LMP2 driver Michael Lyons was pleased with his team’s performance at the ELMS 4 Hours of Red Bull Ring despite losing third place in a late race incident.
The British driver, who was returning to the squad after missing Le Mans, shared the #48 Oreca 03R with Nathanael Berthon and Mark Patterson.
The team had made steady progress at the head of the field, until Berthon made contact with the MarcVDS BMW Z4 of Jesse Krohn at Turn Three with 10 minutes remaining.
Berthon rotated after striking the inside of the BMW, prompting a late safety car period and demoting the Murphys team to sixth in the order, behind the profiting SMP Racing, Greaves Motorsport and Krohn Racing entries.
“It was a very strong weekend for us and we were definitely on for the podium, we had a 20 second gap to fourth right near the end but the GTE car moved into Nat and there was nothing he could do,” said Lyons. “The GTE car had lost a mirror, apparently, in another incident so that’s why he didn’t see our car as it was on the side we had contact – he was essentially turning in blind.”
Lyons had been on stand by to perform a triple stint during the race after Berthon sustained an unexpected eye injury between morning qualifying and the rolling start. The Frenchman had qualified the Murphys car second on the grid, although the on-track medical staff deemed his condition to be unfit and as a result he was forced to miss much of the running. A late decision by the medical centre to clear Berthon allowed him to return to the car and relieve Lyons of his prospective mammoth stint at the end of the race.
Despite losing touch with the podium, Lyons was pleased with his team’s work in light of the circumstances.
“Finishing P6 is still a good result and when I was on track I was the fastest car out there for most of the stint,” he said. “After taking over from Mark in about P6, I ended my double-stint in P3 and although we had a problem with getting the steering wheel back on in the driver change it was all looking good.”
“It’s disappointing to miss the podium when it was so close, but still a very positive weekend.”
Lyons will return to action with his regular ELMS team-mates at the 4 Hours of Paul Ricard on September 5-6. The Murphy Prototypes squad now sits fifth in the LMP2 standings, six points adrift of Krohn Racing above and 34 behind championship leaders Jota Sport.
While the wait for the penultimate round of the championship is underway, Lyons will be keeping himself race-fresh as he takes part in the annual Spa 24 Hours on July 25-26. The 24 year old will drive a Kessel Racing Ferrari 458 Italia with Michael Broniszewski and Alessandro Bonacini in the Pro-Am Cup.