01 June, 2009
The Val de Vienne circuit near Le Vigeant, France was the scene of a difficult weekend for Reigate racer Nick Padmore and his Belgian team mate Jean-Lou Rihon. Their number 34 car eventually crossed the line with a 13th place finish after gear shift problems hampered their chances of a repeat of the superb showing they had at the last round at Paul Ricard.
The weekend started well with a trouble-free test on the Friday of the meeting and it was decided that Padmore would complete most of Saturday's one hour qualifying session to get as high up the grid as possible for the 3hr race. During the session however the Norma UK entry's Norma M20F started to misfire and the AER paddle shift gear system mysteriously started to change gear by itself.
It was decided Rihon would be the one to start the race from their 10th placed grid slot and complete a 1hr 15min stint before handing over the reigns to Padmore to complete the remaining 1hr 45min.
After getting a good clean start Rihon was running in P8 and bought the car in at the end of his stint in 13th. Padmore jumped in and took the car back up to 10th when the problems that had doused their qualifying performance resurrected themselves. He pitted and the team worked on the car which made the misfire go but the paddle shift problems were still there, meaning the car had to keep coming in to have the problem temporarily sorted.
In total the team made four stops during the course of the race with everybody else coming in once for their routine pit stop.
"That really was a difficult weekend and, considering the circumstances, we did well to manage P13", commented a disheartened Padmore. In qualifying the car would just change gear by itself when you hit a kerb so I had no option but to avoid them and try and get as far up the grid as possible which wasn't exactly easy.
"Then we had the same problems in the race and we had to just keep coming into the pits again and again - it was very frustrating hearing the other cars go past the other side of the pit wall but the team worked hard this weekend and I'm sure we will get the result everyone deserves soon."
Padmore is now training hard for the next round of the French V de V Championship at Lausitz Eurospeedway on the 19th to 21st June where the race will cover a grueling 8 hours.