In a race where the lead changed hands multiple times and almost all the drivers were caught up in some way, Theo Coicurd hung on in the closing stages to claim his first French F4 win around the narrow streets of Pau in the reverse grid second race this weekend.
The large accident saw polesitter Jean-Baptise Mela and Kami Laliberte face the wrath of the narrow streets as contact between Arthur Rougier and Laliberte caused a pile up behind, wiping out a few drivers.
Also caught up in the mess was yesterday’s podium finishers; Michael Benyahia and Javier Cobian. While further back, Jose Sierra and Enzo Samon failed to make it to sector two. The pile up meant the race was immediately suspended as the the streets of Pau were cleared of French F4 cars.
The wet track had caught a number of the drivers out, with the field probably regretting thoughts about dry tyres just minutes before the start.
Aleks Karkosik and Benyahia made the restart, despite their damage, but were forced to the back of the 11 car grid, instead letting the field sort itself out in front. This left Tristan Charpentier with the race lead as Hugo Chevalier hounded him in the opening lap.
Championship leader Ye Yifei was on the move and quickly moved into fourth. This left him at the back of a four car train for the lead with Rougier also in the sandwich. Having been just passed by Ye, Gilles Magnus lost momentum, dropping another three spots as the streets made it difficult re-overtake.
Back at the front, Chevalier made the most of the slipstream taking the lead from Charpentier after only four laps. The French driver’s race went from bad to worse as he was forced to pit along with Benyahia as the challenging streets claimed yet another victim.
The action wasn’t slowing down though. After being gifted podium places, Ye attempted to move up another position past Rougier, however another small incident between the two saw them drop a few positions. Dramatically, they weren’t the only front runners to be affected as Charpentier retired from the lead of the race. With Marvin Klein also retiring, the number of finishers dropped to single figures.
This meant that Magnus, the driver who had dropped a few places in the opening few laps was gifted the runner up spot, as Coicurd took the overall lead. Ye grabbed fourth on the final lap as he overtook the overly cautious Casper Roes.
Coicurd crossed the line under constant pressure from Magnus as Pierre-Alexandre Jean completed the most unlikely of podiums. Ye, Roes and the recovering Rougier were 10 seconds further back, as Karkosik and Chevalier – who was now a lap down – completed the finishers.