KNUTSFORD ace Oliver Webb, competing for the first time this season in the European Endurance Championship, celebrated a podium finish in Italy at the weekend.

He was part of the three-strong Signatech-Alpine driver line-up to claim third place at Imola at the end of a four-hour race for the series’ second round.

“We made significant progress during this meeting,” said the 23-year-old afterwards.

“We’re moving now in the right direction, and will keep pushing to score more podium finishes – perhaps standing even on the top step – in the rounds to come.”

Webb and teammates Nelson Panciatici and Paul-Loup Chatin were third fastest during qualifying in the French outfit’s Nissan-powered Alpine 450 LM P2 prototype after adjusting to tyres made by a different manufacturer.

They ran at the front before Webb’s stint behind the wheel, during which he had to make up time lost during the pit-stop when the car failed to start.

He recovered, taking the lead close to the end of his run and maintaining it despite a period behind the safety car reducing a gap he had initially built up.

Chatin dropped to third by the flag, leaving Alpine – team champions last season – third in the standings.

Webb added: “The team has done a fantastic job with the car, particularly as switching to a new tyre presents a challenge.

“We can be really proud of posting a strong result.”

The series resumes at the Red Bull Ring, in Austria, in July.