|Tom Boardman, from Forton in Lancashire, will make his FIA World Touring Car Championship race debut at Estoril in Portugal on July 12/13 in a SEAT Sport Leon after winning the SEAT Leon EuroCup meeting at Pau at the weekend.|
The talented 24-year old driver dominated the race meeting by qualifying his Special Tuning UK Ltd-backed SEAT Leon Cupra on pole for the first of two EuroCup races. The famous street circuit around the historic French Pyrenees city of Pau is extremely tight, twisty, narrow and bumpy, but Tom mastered the conditions by winning Race 1 without putting a foot wrong.
Behind Tom, Marin Colak (Croatia) and Diego Puyo (Spain) finished 2nd and 3rd. Race 2 saw Tom start from 8th on the grid (as the top eight finishers from Race 1 start Race 2 in reverse order). Even though the Pau circuit is notoriously difficult to overtake on, Tom knew that he had to climb up the leaderboard to be sure of winning the top prize, as the best
aggregate performance over the two races would produce the overall winner. After an excellent start, Tom made some great overtaking manoeuvres in his Triple R team car to end the race fighting side-by-side with Andrea Larini for a podium finish. Tom crossed the chequered flag in 4th place, just behind his Italian rival. The race was won by Gabor Weber
(Hungary), with J-M. Clairet (France) in 2nd.
Tom Boardman said: “I was so looking forward to going back and racing at Pau; it’s such a fantastic circuit and it makes me realise why I love racing so much. Overtaking is difficult, so my first aim was to qualify on pole. I was hoping it would be wet in qualifying because I was confident we’d be quicker than everyone else. It was very wet, the car was working perfectly and I pulled everything out to get that pole position - which we did.
“The pile up in the first race proved how important starting from pole position was, and after the restart I was able to control the pace of the race and lead from start to finish. Marin Colak had finished second, so I knew that if I could finish one place behind him in race two, that would be good enough for me to win the race weekend overall, because the way it’s all worked out I’d have a better aggregate. We started the second race together on row four, but he spun out on the first corner. I could still lose the win if I’d retired, but I also wanted to finish on the podium. I got up behind Andrea Larini, but he was blocking me and on such a narrow track there was no way past. I didn’t want to risk not finishing the race, so I came home in fourth to make sure I won the works drive with SEAT Sport.
“I don’t think the prize is going to sink in until I go into the Drivers’ Briefing at Estoril with all the other World Touring Car drivers and sit down with the likes of Andy Priaulx, Gabriele Tarquini, Alex Zanardi and all the other greats and realise that I’ll be racing them! I know the Estoril circuit because I raced there two years ago and I just cannot wait to get there. I’m looking forward to it so much; words cannot explain how I’m feeling right now.”
Tom and the Triple R team will travel directly from Pau in south-west France to the Jerez race
circuit just outside Madrid for this weekend’s Supercopa race meeting.