Sarah Reader, celebrated another podium success at the weekend (30 Mar/1 Apr) when she contested the opening rounds of the SPEED Euroseries at the famous Paul Ricard circuit in the south of France.
Reader, 29 and from Loxley, near Stratford-upon-Avon, claimed a third-place finish at the wheel of her Juno sports-prototype racer in the first of the weekend’s events. Sarah shared the Juno with co-driver Chrissy Palmer (West Sussex), and qualified an excellent fourth on the grid for the 90-minute endurance race.
“The timetable was really tight,” said former Kingsley School pupil Sarah, “and with only an hour between qualifying and the race the mechanics were up against it to get the car ready for the grid.” Palmer started the race and made a good getaway to move into third, handing over to Reader at half-distance.
“Our stop was the quickest of the two-driver pairings and I rejoined in third. My stint was hard work as the high temperatures and the rubber laid down by other cars on the track meant the grip levels were low. We finished third, with the other Juno of Darren Burke and Duncan Williams just ahead; it was a great way to start the season and a brilliant reward for everyone who has been working so hard to improve the cars over the winter break.”
Things did not go so smoothly in race two, however: Sarah started, and as she accelerated up to the startline for the rolling start she found she could not change up through the gears. “It just kept hitting the rev limiter, so I dropped from fifth on the grid to ninth. After several laps struggling with the issue I found a way to drive around it, got my head down and focused on my lap times.”
After another slick driver change the Reader/Palmer Juno climbed to third until, with only six laps to go, Palmer was forced to limp to the pits with a throttle problem. “The team did a fantastic job to fix the car and get it back out, and we finished 11th; not what we hoped for but we still scored valuable points.
“All in all it was a good weekend and I was really pleased to be on the podium. The upgrades we have made to the Juno over the winter have clearly worked we just need to keep pushing now. I am so grateful to the guys at Juno for a brilliant car and the hard work and long days they have put in.”
Reader, who earlier this year received recognition of her status as Britain’s top female racer with the award of a Gold Star from the British Women Racing Drivers Club, will be in action again in early May at the Belgian Grand Prix circuit of Spa-Francorchamps.