Cameron TwynhamCameron Twynham began his European F3 Open Winter Series campaign in fine style at Paul Ricard last weekend (15/16 February) where the Market Harborough racer scored a class podium finish on his Formula 3 debut.

The 17-year-old’s hard work throughout the off-season was clear for all to see at the former French Grand Prix venue where Twynham belied his inexperience to finish third in the extremely competitive Copa Class.

Despite this being his first visit to the circuit in southern France, Twynham was immediately on the pace during Friday practice and incredibly recorded the second fastest time in the opening session. And having continued to make progress throughout the day, it was no surprise to see him qualify fifth in class on Saturday morning against a strong field of seasoned F3 drivers.

Twynham had consistently been the fastest of Team West-Tec’s Copa Class drivers throughout the weekend and lined up alongside team-mate and former Formula Renault BARC rival Sean Walkinshaw.

A chaotic opening lap and some expert driving allowed Twynham to pick his way through from 14th to eighth. But Walkinshaw remained right with him and on the fast Mistral Straight a strong slipstream allowed the following driver to nip past.

Next time round it was Twynham’s turn to take advantage of the draft, a cycle that would repeat itself throughout the race. The battle showed no signs of restricting their pace though and both men were able to pass another of the Copa drivers ahead.

But with only two laps remaining, and the final act of cat and mouse waiting to be played out, one of the faster Open Class cars settled the matter when a bold move from behind knocked Walkinshaw out of contention, allowing Twynham an untroubled run to a deserved third place on debut.

Cameron Twynham: “It’s an incredible achievement to step-up into F3 and score a podium first time out, so I’m delighted with the result. I’ve worked so hard over the winter to be in this position and a podium offers even more incentive to keep improving. I’d never raced at Paul Ricard before but the combination of simulator work at iZone Driver Performance and input from my coach Ollie Millroy ensured I was fully prepared. Team West-Tec also provided a great car so all of that allowed me to be quick straight out of the box on Friday morning. And I should also mention the great scrap I had with Sean, which was very close and hard fought but never went beyond that. As team-mates it’s great that we can have that trust in each other. I had a lot of fun out there and can’t wait for the next round.”

John Miller, Team Principal: “Cameron worked hard throughout both days and ended up with a well-deserved Copa podium, behind two drivers with at least a year’s experience in F3, so that is extremely encouraging.”

Round two of the European F3 Open Winter Series comes from Jerez in Spain on March 1/2.