Double engine failure during preparation for the opening round of the EuroFormula Open Winter Series at Paul Ricard in France prevented Sean Walkinshaw from showing his true pace on his debut in the top class.
It left the 20-year-old driver, from Chipping Norton, having to settle for a frustrating 11th-place finish at the Le Castellet circuit, near Marseille.
Making his competitive debut with Campos Racing, Walkinshaw had high hopes of a strong start to the series.
But an engine blow-up during the first test session on Friday set the scene for an exasperating weekend.
The mechanics switched powerplants as quickly as possible, but the track time lost was significant.
Despite that, Walkinshaw was able to re-emerge on the circuit halfway through the third run with a new engine bolted into his Dallara.
And he went on to record the second fastest time in the final session of the day.
He began the next day impressively with the sixth quickest time in the first of two morning practice sessions, only to then suffer a second engine failure.
Qualifying 13th on the grid for round one, he made progress to end the race in 11th position, just 1.5secs outside the top ten, with Sandy Stuvik winning.
Walkinshaw said: “It has been a frustrating start to the winter series, that’s the best way to sum it up, but there are some positives to take away.
“We definitely had the pace when I was able to run without any issues, my car felt great, but the engine problems limited our running and then impacted on qualifying. We did what we could in the race.”
Walkinshaw will be hoping for better luck in round two in Barcelona on March 15.