Cameron TwynhamCameron Twynham emerged from a challenging European F3 Open encounter at Portimao Circuit last weekend with a podium finish and further valuable experience as he continues his maiden season of international motorsport.

Piloting a Team West-Tec-prepared Dallara F308 in the series’ Copa Class, 17-year-old Twynham arrived at the Portuguese venue in optimistic mood having won on-debut at last month’s Paul Ricard event.

And the Market Harborough racer was quick to re-establish his place among the front-runners in Saturday’s opening qualifying session. Despite encountering traffic on his fastest lap Twynham was within 0.03s of pole, securing third on the grid and boosting his hopes that better was to come in the race.

When the lights went out Twynham produced a textbook start to immediately snatch second place. However, after keeping pace with the class leader early on, he would begin to suffer from brake issues eight laps in that forced him to ease off. Fortunately the West-Tec man had built a healthy lead over his nearest pursuer, allowing him to manage the gap and secure his second podium in as many race weekends.

Traffic again played a role in Sunday’s second qualifying session, with Twynham this time taking fourth on the grid after a red flag spoiled his new-tyre run.

Unfortunately Twynham’s frustrations would not end there as a race-long technical issue severely hampered his progress. The West-Tec driver noticed a throttle problem surfacing on the warm-up lap and, though he was able to climb to P2 with another perfect start, the issue prevailed throughout the race, forcing Twynham to drive at reduced speed and settle for a frustrating seventh position.

But despite the trials faced throughout the weekend the 17-year-old was able to take encouragement from a second podium in F3 machinery and a great deal of pace when the car ran well. What’s more, he will be able to take the experiences of Portimao forward as he continues to make the quick adjustment to international competition.

“Overall I’m pleased with how the weekend went, despite some challenging circumstances and a frustrating result on Sunday,” said Twynham. “The opening race was one of my best to date and I’m sure I could have taken the fight to the leader had my brakes not faded. Naturally I’m not thrilled by how race two panned out, but we’ll take what we’ve learned on-board and hopefully be better prepared for it. The most important thing is that we have the pace. If we can iron out a few of the technical issues we’ll be very strong.

“Next up we’re at the Nürburgring which I’m really looking forward to. It’s a great venue with a lot of history so I’m keen to fight for the victory and make up ground on the championship leader.”

Now placed third in the Copa Class standings, Cameron will be back behind the wheel in three weeks’ time at the German Grand Prix venue (1/2 June).