British racing driver Nick Padmore and co-driver Jean-Lou Rihon secured 3rdplace in the drivers' standings of the French V de V Championship atEstoril, Portugal last weekend, and further more brought home 2nd positionin the 'Carbon Chassis Class' of the series.
Having qualified 5th for Saturday's 6-hour endurance, Padmore was hit byanother car and sent wide at Turn 1 at the start of the race, knocking theReigate resident down to P7. However, he fought back to P3 within theopening laps and, on slicks, dealt with changing weather conditions atdifferent sectors of the track during his stint to lead the race by the timehe handed over to Rihon after two hours.The team were delayed in the driver change when the crash box on their NormaM20 FC came loose, costing them four minutes in the pitlane, and took astategical gamble to send Rihon out on wet tyres. As the Belgian settledinto the rhythm of his stint though, the track started to dry rapidly and hewas forced to pit to change back to slicks during a safety car period.As the safety car pulled off the circuit, Rihon immediately set about makingup for lost time and was constantly overtaking other cars before handingback over to Padmore in 5th position at the end of his two-hour stint.Padmore continued their pace for the final two hours but was struck with athrottle jam through the Parabolica, forcing him to come back in as soon ashe exited the corner, using the ignition to control his speed down thepitlane.He rejoined the race and, despite constantly changing weather conditions,battled his way to finish in 7th position.Nick Padmore:"We've really raised our game this season and we've proved that Jean-Lou(Rihon) and I have a very strong package capable of challenging for thechampionship. It didn't happen this year unfortunately, as we were in with ashot coming to Estoril, but it only makes us more determined for nextseason."Jean-Lou has made a massive leap forward with his driving since last year,which has been reflected in our results, and Team TFT have provided us withgreat support and equipment which has definitely given us the opportunity torun at the sharp end of the field."Even though we were still competitive and lead the first part of the race,Estoril was probably one of our weaker circuits, but I think we can be verysatisfied with our performance and how well we handled the issues andconditions that we were dealt."I would like to say a massive thank you to Jean-Lou and everyone at TeamTFT for what has been a fantastic year and I'm very much looking forward tocontinuing what we have proved to be a winning team into next season."