Cameron Twynham arrived at Paul Ricard hopeful of a good weekend as he continues to learn the ways of the Formula Renault 3.5 Series. Unfortunately for the Comtec Racing driver, his weekend did not get off to a good start, with an alternator problem restricting him to a single run in the first of the collective tests on Friday, and then a driveshaft broke in the second.
“It was just one of those weekends where we were on the back foot from the beginning,” said Twynham. “We had a brand new engine for the weekend, so it was disappointing to lose so much running due to the alternator issue. This hindered our programme for second practice where, after problems with laying rubber in the pit-box, the driveshaft snapped, meaning we had no running on new tyres until qualifying. But sometimes these things happen.”
He qualified at the back for Saturday’s opening race in France, but was only 1.6 seconds shy of pole position despite his lack of running on Friday. He made a good getaway to jump up to eighteenth on the opening lap, but after taking evasive action twice to avoid the spinning cars of Pietro Fantin and Jazeman Jaafar, a flat-spotted tyre left him at the back of the field once more.
“Considering our lack of preparation, qualifying went smoothly and the team did a brilliant job of getting us back on track,” said Twynham. “I wasn’t quite sure where to push in places, but to finish only 1.6secs from pole is a great achievement for me. It was unfortunate that I was forced to take to the run-off area in Saturday’s race, which damaged the tyres, but in the end I was happy with the result considering no prior long distance running.”
More bad luck hit Twynham on Sunday morning, with a red flag preventing him from improving his qualifying time – he was 0.6 seconds faster on his lap when the red flags flew – and he lined up twentieth. He was able to finish eighteenth after making a few places up in the pit stops.
“Encountering a red flag during what was to be my fastest lap in second qualifying was typical of our luck I suppose,” reflected Twynham. “But we did all we could in the race. Once again, I gained a few positions at the start and the whole team performed excellently, particularly in the pit stops, where I managed to jump three cars.
“Now we just need to ensure we work on qualifying pace ahead of Jerez, which is a circuit I’m really looking forward to. Once again, I must thank everyone at Comtec for all their efforts during a tricky weekend, and all my sponsors for their ever-loyal support.”