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Garry Findlay has claimed a second VdeV Series podium in three races after helping the French CD Sport team to a season’s best top two finish in round six at Magny-Cours.

Reverting to a six-hour race distance, having competed over nine in Spain last time out,  brought Findlay and the rest of the #32 crew back into familiar territory, even though the Briton had learn the former French Grand Prix layout. Despite only limited time behind the wheel, Findlay duly hinted at what was to come, posting the fastest time of all in opening practice

Although his emergence as an ‘elite’ driver in VdeV circles has made qualifying harder for the CD Sport squad, he then carried his form into the timed session, with the team using his time as a key inclusion in the average mark that resulted in an impressive fourth on the grid.

“After Aragon, almost any position would have been an improvement, but to wind up on the second row was a nice surprise,” Findlay commented, “I wasn’t too happy with my fastest lap, as I got caught up in traffic, but my time was still good enough to help the team onto the second row, and that gave us a lo of optimism for the race.”

Despite Findlay’s obvious pace, Ines Taittinger was handed the job of starting the race. Despite improving from fourth to third at the first corner, the #32 was quickly shuffled backwards on the opening lap, eventually settling in ninth spot as the Belgian played herself in. Showing improved pace as the stint went on, Taittinger was still inside the top ten when she eventually handed over the Kevin Besancon after 90 minutes.

Although the track was dry when the Frenchman took over, he soon returned to the pits for wet-weather tyres as the conditions took a turn for the worse, not knowing that the remainder of the race – and the #32 car’s success – would hinge on a similarly strategic call.

Besancon has hauled the car back into the top five by the time his stint was up, and Findlay finally got behind the wheel for the run to the chequered flag. Although the hand-over dropped the #32 back to ninth position, it was quickly on the rise again, with the Briton making the most of a decision to fit slicks, even though the track surface was still largely damp.

“There was nothing to lose by making that call,” Findlay explained, “and it paid off almost immediately as I was soon lapping up to five seconds faster than anyone else. Making the slicks work in that initial period was the key to moving up the order, even though we still had a number of stops to do to meet the minimum mandated by the rules.”

Where Lady Luck had shunned the #32 in previous races, she was definitely smiling on the team at Magny-Cours, as Findlay was able to make both of his remaining stops under safety car conditions. He was already up into third position by the time the car required a last slug of fuel, returning to the track on the back of the lead group, while the team’s ninth and final stop was completed in similar conditions without the loss of position.

 “The team did a great job of timing our remaining stops, and that put us in position to charge over the final stint,” Findlay explained, “At half distance, we didn’t really know how the race was going to turn out – or what position we would end up in. We thought that a top six was possible, so it was a nice surprise to get up to second by the end. It was certainly a case of being in the right place at the right time, but all three of us drove well enough to take advantage of the strategy and running the slicks on a damp track proved to be the key.”

The final round of the 2014 VdeV Series returns Findlay to Estoril, where he made an impressive debut for CD Sport a year ago, and he is keen to end the year on a positive note as he formulates plans for 2015.

“It’ll be good to go back to a track where I have recent experience, and the team is going to be confident after our result in France,” he confirmed, “We just need to keep the momentum going, but there is no reason to doubt that another podium is possible.”

The seventh and final round of the 2014 VdeV Series takes place over six hours at Estoril in Portugal over the weekend of 7-9 November.

Mag-nificent podium for Garry and CD Sport