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Garry Findlay made his second appearance in the 6Hrs of Barcelona-Catalunya but endured a similarly frustrating experience to his debut twelve months ago.

The Briton, promoted to the role of senior driver in the #32 CD Sport Norma-Honda, entered his second season in the VdeV sportscar series hoping to build on several strong – if largely unrewarded – outings towards the end of 2014, and quickly proved his value to the French team by lapping quickly throughout practice at the Spanish Grand Prix venue. Second spot on the timesheets in Friday’s afternoon session was particularly notable, and gave the three-driver #32 crew confidence that it could qualify in the first few rows of the grid on Saturday morning.

Although the weather conditions changed, for the worse, overnight, Findlay was still able to give a good account of himself, posting the fourth-best time of the session, before the series’ quirky qualifying system saw the orange-and-white #32 drop back a couple of rows when his time was averaged with team-mate Ines Taittinger.

“Practice hinted at promise for qualifying, especially as I was able to go fifth fastest on old tyres, and then improve on newer rubber,” Findlay commented, “That performance then carried over into the final session, where my time was good enough for another top four position, and only a couple of tenths off the pace, when I was on track in qualifying. However, because the series takes the average of two times from within the team, our final position was only good enough for a spot on row six.”

Taittinger was first behind the wheel in the six-hour race, which began in wet conditions, but had already pitted for slick tyres by the time she handed over to Findlay after a 90-minute stint. As a result, the Briton had to cope with rapidly fading rubber from the start of his run and, despite clawing back five places to move the #32 from 16th to eleventh on the road, faced a bigger task when it came to bridging the gap to the top ten.

He was back in the cockpit for the final 75-minute run to the chequered flag but, just as it had in 2014, a lack of reliability conspired to end his race well short of time.

 “I hadn’t even completed a lap before the car just died under me,” Findlay explained, “It was clear that something was up with the fuel pump, and the team later discovered that the main and reserve tanks were touching, shorting out the electrics to the pump. As a result, the battery also failed, and even though I did a master reset, it was too much for the car and I had to park it.

“It was a shame because, at the point in the race, I should have been able to really push and hopefully haul us up into a better position. It’s not the first time that our car has run into reliability problems and it’s getting a bit frustrating because we showed last season that we have the potential to finish on the podium….. We had that expectation going into the race but came up short again. The only consolation I can take is that I was once again able to post the fastest lap for our car and, with fuel loads lightening, would certainly have been able to go faster as the race wore on.”

Round two of the 2015 VdeV Series takes place over six hours at the Mugello circuit in Italy on the weekend of 24-26 April.

Pace positive in frustrating VdeV opener