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When British sportscar racer Garry Findlay learned that he was to race on the short circuit at Le Mans he would never have thought that a similarly-named problem would ensure he had just a brief spell behind the wheel at round two of the VdeV Series.

Despite heading to France on the back of a late-race retirement in round one at the Circuit de Catalunya in Barcelona, Findlay and the CD Sport team were buoyed by their front-running form in Spain, and confident that they could again set the pace at the front of a competitive field.

The former single-seater ace still had to learn the Bugatti circuit layout, and aimed to use Friday’s brief practice sessions for that purpose, only for red flags to stymie the team’s strategy of giving him greater track time late in the day. Despite getting just 14 laps under his belt, however, Findlay had gleaned enough information to allow him to play his part in qualifying alongside team-mates Ines Taittinger and Kevin Besancon, where the three-driver average lap time proved enough to put the #32 car onto pole position, at the head of a CD Sport 1-2-3.

“I sat out the second sessions so that I could have more running later on, but final practice kept being interrupted by red flags, so the plan didn’t exactly work out,” Findlay commented, “However, despite wanting more time, I obviously learned enough as, between us, we produced a great qualifying session and put the car on pole. After the disappointment of Barcelona, it was a great way to bounce back and show the potential of our line-up.”

Sadly, qualifying would prove to be the high-point of Findlay’s weekend as the #32 car would be hit by problems just minutes into the three-hour race. Although Besancon was able to convert pole into an early lead, the appearance of the safety car negated his advantage after quarter of an hour and, as the Frenchman attempted to accelerate at the restart, he found that there was only a fraction of the available power that he was anticipating. The #32 eventually crawled to a halt at the Dunlop Bridge and had to be returned to the pit-lane by the marshals.

After a brief investigation by the team, Besancon completed one more lap before handing over to Findlay, who initially appeared to be enjoying better fortunes as he quickly set the fastest lap of the race. However, after only six tours, it became apparent that the Norma’s engine wasn’t running cleanly, and the team decided to pit the Briton in order to carry out more detailed repairs. A further 20 minutes were lost while sections of the car’s electrics were replaced and, after refuelling, Findlay went back out to check that the work had been successful. With the race already beyond the #32, however, it was decided that Taittinger should then take over and complete the remaining distance.

“The extent of the problems effectively ruined the race for us, so the afternoon became little more than a glorified test session,” Findlay sighed, “From that point of view, it was good to be able to give Ines the chance to increase her experience, but it was incredibly frustrating for the entire team, especially as they had worked so hard to cure the problem that sidelined us in Spain.

“We know that we could have won this time, especially as the #33 crew was able to put CD on the top step of the podium after we had beaten them in qualifying. However, there are still some positives to take from the weekend, such as qualifying on pole and holding down the fastest lap of the race until close to the end, particularly as our car wasn’t running at its full potential. With only seven rounds, it’s going to be hard for us to win the championship, but we’ll just focus on the next race and hope that our luck turns.”

Round three of the 2014 VdeV Series takes place over six hours at the Paul Ricard circuit in southern France over the weekend of 31 May-1 June.