26 October, 2010
Reigate's Nick Padmore and Belgian co-driver Jean-Lou Rihon returned to the track for the latest instalment of the French V de V Championship at Magny-Cours, France at the weekend.
At 5.30pm the 6-hour endurance was started by Rihon who carried a strong P9 and was one of the first to come in for a set of wets as rain started settling in. He left the pit lane down in 15th position but battled his way up to 10th before handing the car over to Padmore.
With the car back out on the circuit and with the day's light fading Padmore soon had to return to the pits after experiencing problems with the lights. He rejoined the race and got up to P2 with conditions at their worst before the safety car was deployed.
Under the safety car Padmore opted to come back in after the torrential rain had left a vast amount of standing water on the circuit, and decided to made changes to the suspension to the Norma UK entry.
Rihon got back in the car and completed an error-free stint in 5th position before handing back to Padmore to finish the race.
In the final stint Padmore had further dramas with the lights on the car, and another unscheduled pit stop saw them drop down the order, but he made it to the 11.30pm flag and crossed the line in a hard-fought 6th place.
"That was the craziest race I've ever competed I think!", said Padmore. Even under the safety car the Norma was aquaplaning everywhere and in pitch black it was very tough out there.
"Jean-Lou (Rihon) drove brilliantly and dealt with the difficult conditions very well to keep us in the hunt for a strong result, and we're satisfied with P6. We lost quite a lot of time in the pits sorting out the lights so without that I think we would have finished higher, but we are all faced with these problems when racing.
"Norma UK have worked long and hard developing the car and we're nearer the pace we should be now, so a big thank you to everyone in the team. We just need to carry our recent form through to Estoril, which has been good to us in previous years, so we can only aim for a podium."
The final round of the championship takes place at the Estoril circuit in Portugal in a little under four weeks' time on 21st November.