17 May, 2012
Nick Padmore and Jean-Lou Rihon secured 4th position for Team TFT in Round 2 of the French V de V Championship at Le Mans, France last weekend. The result keeps them at the sharp end of the points standings after their P2 in Round 1 at Barcelona last month.
A hectic qualifying session with changing weather conditions on Saturday saw the Padmore/Rihon #34 entry line up 7th on the grid for Sunday's 4-hour endurance.
Padmore took the opening stint in torrential rain and was up to P4 by the Dunlop Chicane before taking 3rd once the race had settled down.
In the latter part of his stint a dry line appeared on the track, giving Padmore serious handling issues as his wet tyres blistered, but he stayed out and handed over to Rihon in 4th position after 1 hour 58mins.
Rihon, rejoining in P5 on fresh slicks, put in a sterling performance for the remainder of the race, despite the track remaining slightly slippery. A brief shower threatened to ruin their race but, despite many other cars going off and pitting for wets, Rihon stayed out and kept it on the road, putting in solid and consistent times.
The Belgian went on the hunt for 3rd and was fast closing in before a late safety car period broke his stride. He finished the race in P4, only 8 seconds behind 3rd place but ensuring a good points finish for the Padmore/Rihon championship campaign.
"The conditions were treacherous all weekend, and I was aquaplaning at 140mph on a few occasions which was interesting!
"We only just missed out on a podium but with a race in these conditions anything can happen, and Jean-Lou kept a cool head and brought the car home in a good points finish which was exactly what was needed.
"We've definitely raised our game from last season and Team TFT have been working hard to give us the reliable equipment we need. We need to continue to improve the car and hopefully get our first win of the season as soon as possible but I'm confident we have a package to deliver."
There's now a three-week break before Round 3 of the French V de V Championship, which takes place in Spain at Motorland Aragon on 18th - 20th May. However, Padmore, Rihon and Team TFT head to Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium this weekend for their first attack of 2012 in the Speed EuroSeries this weekend, supporting the FIA World Endurance Championship.
Padmore will also be racing in the two Radical Masters races at the same meeting, sharing the RAW Motorsport Radical SR3 RS with Gary Kane, in the Radical UK Cup Supersport class, where the pair currently head the standings.