Tambay suffers terrible luck in FBMW World Finals
Adrien Tambay travelled to the Valencia circuit in Spain at the weekend, as one of the favourites for overall victory in the FBMW World Finals. By the time Sunday evening had come, and it was time to leave the circuit to return to France, the sixteen year old had had a weekend to forget, with bad luck dominating his Spanish visit.
Friday's initial practise showed that Tambay had lost none of his season-long pace, and in having moved to the EuroInternational Team for the weekend, he quickly settled in and was lapping among the very quickest of the 35 drivers, assembled from all over the world. His form continued through qualifying, where he covered minimal laps to preserve tyres, claiming forth. With the top eight drivers from each session guaranteed a place in the Superpole, Tambay was safely in. In Superpole, Tambay again demonstrated his outright pace, claiming the 4th fastest time again.
Focused on accumulating as few points as possible in each of the races per the format of the annual World Finals - Tambay's dream was over almost instantly, when starting well, he was taken out of the race at the first turn. Determined to make amends in the second of his heat races, he recovered from a problem on the grid - later traced to a fault in the steering wheel's wiring system - to charge through towards the front of the pack. Within sight of a strong finish, the wiring problem was to prove terminal, and the schoolboy son of former Ferrari F1 Grand Prix winner, Patrick Tambay was again back in the pit-box watching the end of the race trackside in frustration.
On Saturday night, with two more races left to run on Sunday, and no mathematical chance to score the victory he'd been so determined to claim, it took all of young Tambay's focus to try and turn around his `character-building' weekend. In the third of his heat races, his bad luck was to remain at bay, and by the time he took the chequered flag, he had claimed a strong second place, trailing only his friend, and FBMW Germany sparring partner, Philip Eng of Austria. That strong result dragged Tambay up the grid (following his two DNF's from his first two heat races) and he would start the final itself from 21st place on the grid.
A strong drive, carving his way through the pack, passing seven drivers on the first lap alone, soon saw Tambay on the tail end of a battle for 5th position, where he would remain until just a few laps from home, when he was again forced off-track by another driver; the result of somebody else's accident. Recovering, Tambay crossed the line a disappointed 14th, to the news that Eng had taken overall victory. Back in the pits at the end of what was the worst weekend of his fantastic debut season which saw him finish top Rookie in the ultra-competitive German series Tambay was clearly disappointed, yet positive in his achievements in the face of adversity, stating, "What a weekend terrible! The team worked hard, and my car was good enough. I had some problems, too many back luck problems, and in this format, that makes it impossible. When I ran problem free, I showed that I had the pace to match the guys who finished top overall."
Having beaten Philip (Eng) and Marco Wittman (1st and 2nd overall) through the course of the season, he was left to think 'if only', but the teenager quickly showed his maturity in thinking of others, "I'm really happy for Philip. If it couldn't be me, he's someone that I'm happy to see doing well. He ran fast all weekend, and did a great job. My team deserved better, and all I can do is thank them for all their best efforts. I'd like to thank all of my sponsors for making this possible, especially M. Pascal TRIPONT and his son Geoffroy who where here to see me race for the first time."
En-route to his hometown of Le Cannet in the South of France, Adrien Tambay will today visit the headquarters of `Pascal et Beatrix', his newest sponsor for a look behind the scenes. Then, it's back home to focus on his fitness regime ahead of the 2008 season.