CHIPPING Norton’s Sean Walkinshaw almost secured a deserved podium finish on his European Formula 3 Open debut in the first round of the 2013 Winter Series at Paul Ricard in France.

But after lying in third place for the bulk of the 14-lap encounter, Walkinshaw’s Dallara F308 car was clipped by a fellow driver.

Although able to recover, he could manage only sixth place in the Copa Class and was understandbly frustrated.

“Considering the little amount of track time I had in practice and qualifying, in the race I was quick and competitive, so that’s something we can take positives from”, he commented.

“It was all going well. I had a good start, but to be taken out near the end is a bit annoying to say the least.

“My car did start to die-off a bit, and the tyres started to go, but without the incident we’d have been on the podium for sure.”

Walkinshaw added: “Overall, it’s been a pretty miserable weekend.

“In all five of the practice sessions and in qualifying we had mechanical problems.

“Six sessions, six problems – but the team worked hard to try and sort everything. Hopefully everything will be problem-free in Jerez.”

There is now a two-week break ahead of the second race in Jerez, Spain, on Saturday, March 2.