21 November, 2011
British racing driver Nick Padmore and co-driver Jean-Lou Rihon secured 3rd place in the drivers' standings of the French V de V Championship at Estoril, Portugal last weekend, and further more brought home 2nd position in the 'Carbon Chassis Class' of the series.
Having qualified 5th for Saturday's 6-hour endurance, Padmore was hit by another car and sent wide at Turn 1 at the start of the race, knocking the Reigate resident down to P7. However, he fought back to P3 within the opening laps and, on slicks, dealt with changing weather conditions at different sectors of the track during his stint to lead the race by the time he handed over to Rihon after two hours.
The team were delayed in the driver change when the crash box on their Norma M20 FC came loose, costing them four minutes in the pitlane, and took a stategical gamble to send Rihon out on wet tyres. As the Belgian settled into the rhythm of his stint though, the track started to dry rapidly and he was 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 making up for lost time and was constantly overtaking other cars before handing back 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 a throttle jam through the Parabolica, forcing him to come back in as soon as he exited the corner, using the ignition to control his speed down the pitlane.
He rejoined the race and, despite constantly changing weather conditions, battled his way to finish in 7th position.
"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 the championship. It didn't happen this year unfortunately, as we were in with a shot coming to Estoril, but it only makes us more determined for next season.
"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 with great support and equipment which has definitely given us the opportunity to run 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 very satisfied with our performance and how well we handled the issues and conditions that we were dealt.
"I would like to say a massive thank you to Jean-Lou and everyone at Team TFT for what has been a fantastic year and I'm very much looking forward to continuing what we have proved to be a winning team into next season."