LYNN SOARS TO VICTORY IN BARCELONA
LECLERC TAKES DOMINANT MAIDEN WIN IN BARCA
NATO STORMS TO MAIDEN WIN
Frenchman powers to victory in feature
DOMINANT VICTORY FOR BEN BARNICOT IN THE RAIN
Event: 03 Pau
Session: Race 1
Track: Pau / France
Pole position: Lance Stroll (Prema Powerteam)
Race winner: Ben Barnicoat (HitechGP)
Weather: rain, 13.4 °C
At a rain-soaked track in Pau, Ben Barnicoat (HitechGP) scored his second FIA Formula 3 European Championship race win. At the start, the British rookie driver took the lead and celebrated an undisputed victory after 24 laps. Behind him, Nick Cassidy (Prema Powerteam) beat Maximilian Günther (Prema Powerteam) to take the flag in second place. In the drivers’ standings, Günther extended his victory to eleven points from Cassidy. After his second win from as many races, Barnicoat moved up to fourth place in the drivers’ standings. The HitechGP driver also moved up into the lead of the rookie standings.
Pole-sitter Lance Stroll (Prema Powerteam) already saw his hopes of a podium finish fade away at the start. The Canadian had a poor getaway and returned from the opening lap down in ninth place. Ben Barnicoat used the opportunity and took the lead. Maximilian Günther, Nick Cassidy, George Russell (Hitech GP) and Callum Ilott (Van Amersfoort Racing) followed suit. Especially in the first few laps, leader Barnicoat clearly was the fastest driver in the field and extended his margin from second-placed Günther lap after lap. On lap eight, with Barnicoat already over five seconds ahead of Günther, Zhi Cong Li spun into the Armco barriers and caused the only safety car intervention of the race.
After the restart, Cassidy directly mounted an attack on Günther and thus took over second place. However, the driver from New Zealand never was in a position to challenge Barnicoat’s victory. At the flag, the Brit had a margin of more than two seconds on the Prema Powerteam driver. Maximilian Günther concluded the seventh race of the FIA Formula 3 European Championship season in third place from Russell, Ilott, Mikkel Jensen (kfzteile24 Mücke Motorsport), Ryan Tveter (Carlin), Sérgio Sette Câmara (Motopark), Stroll and Alessio Lorandi (Carlin). 16-year-old David Beckmann (kfzteile24 Mücke Motorsport) finished 17th in his maiden FIA Formula 3 European Championship race.
Ben Barnicoat (HitechGP): “I am really happy with my first place. Rain had already been forecast for a long time, which suits me very well. At the start, I was able to move up into the lead and I managed to pull clear from the rest of the field during the first few laps. Unfortunately, then, the safety car came out. When Nick was behind me after the restart, things got a little more difficult, because he was quicker than Maximilian had been before. I concentrated to avoid any mistakes and I succeeded.”
Nick Cassidy (Prema Powerteam): “My race was good and I am very happy with my second place in my first race at Pau. Initially, I was behind Maximilian, but I had to wait until the restart after the safety car to overtake him. The move wasn’t without any risk, especially in these conditions, but it worked out.”
Maximilian Günther (Prema Powerteam): “My start was good and I moved up into second place. However, I wasn’t able to follow Ben, who was in front of me, and then Nick overtook me after the safety car. Then, I tried to bring the points for third place home. The fact that I am still leading the FIA Formula 3 European Championship drivers’ standings makes me happy, but it doesn’t really play a major role for me. The thing that counts, however, is being on top at the end of the season.”
THE GRAND PRIX DE PAU – A HIGHLIGHT ON THE FIA F3 EC CALENDAR
This weekend, the young FIA Formula 3 European Championship drivers will take part in a special highlight: the Grand Prix de Pau. In the event held on the 2.76-kilometre-long street circuit located in the heart of the city of Pau with its 80,000 citizens, Formula 3 has been the main attraction for many years and this year, this tradition-rich event celebrates its 75th anniversary. Maximilian Günther (Prema Powerteam) travels to the Southern-French circuit located at the foot of the Pyrenees as championship leader while rookie Anthoine Hubert (Van Amersfoort Racing) represents the French colours on the FIA Formula 3 European Championship grid, thus being the local hero. Meanwhile, German newcomer David Beckmann (kfzteile24 Mücke Motorsport) will make his first appearance in the series.
The FIA Formula 3 European Championship rounds at Pau’s tight and twisty circuit are among the highlights of every season. Last year, Prema driver Jake Dennis won two of the three races, with the third win having been secured by Antonio Giovinazzi who raced for Team Jagonya Ayam with Carlin. The only driver of this year’s field who made it to the podium was Maximilian Günther. In the third race of the weekend – the official GP de Pau – the 18-year old German finished second. Meanwhile, Lance Stroll and Arjun Maini (ThreeBond with T-Sport) came close to making it to the podium in 2015 but in the end, they both had to settle for having finished fourth, in one of the races. Now, both the 18-year-old Indian and the Canadian, who is one year younger, want to up the ante by achieving the goal they didn’t last year: a top-three result in Pau.
A driver who knows how it feels to win on the streets of Pau is Anthoine Hubert. The 19-year-old who lives in Chartres, between Paris and Le Mans, won both Formula Renault Alps 2.0 rounds held at Pau last year and definitely would love to repeat this success in the FIA Formula 3 European Championship, this year. In addition to his regular rivals, he also will have to take on a new opponent: German David Beckmann is going to contest his first FIA Formula 3 European Championship weekend. The now 16-year old young gun, best rookie in the 2015 ADAC Formula 4 season, celebrated his birthday just a few days ago and now has the minimum age for racing in the category. So he combines his Formula 3 debut and his first races on a street circuit at Pau.
Arjun Maini (ThreeBond with T-Sport): “Pau is a fantastic circuit. It definitely is one of my favourite racetracks. It’s such a tight circuit and nonetheless, we are racing here at speeds of 200kph and more – just incredible. Last year was my first race weekend in Pau and things ran well for me right from the start. I hope that I will be able to also secure good results this year. On the first two race weekends, at Le Castellet and in Hungary, we had problems with our car but we think we have them solved, now. Therefore, I hope that we will be more competitive, in Pau and will be able to battle it out at the front end of the field.“