As the French F4 Championship arrived in Pau for its annual trip around the Pyrenees streets, it was Arthur Rougier who took two out the three victories, taking the championship lead from Victor Martins, who could only pick up a single podium.
The tight circuit meant that overtaking was rare throughout the races, with qualifying being vital for many of the front-runners, who also experienced poor weekends due to lack of track position. Elsewhere, strong results for Stuart White, Hugo Chevalier and Jean-Baptise Mela helped their season totals, with Thomas Drouet making the most of the reverse grid race to take his maiden win.
As qualifying got underway, it was championship leader Victor Martins who set early pace. It wasn’t long before Arthur Rougier joined him on the now-dry French streets. The pair would swap times at the top as the session approached half distance.
As the time ticked down, Marvin Klien soon joined to make it a the three-way battle at the top. Rougier though had already laid down the marker and took pole with the top six remaining static during latter stages. Klien would be second from Martins and Jean-Baptise Mela on the second row.
Winner: Arthur Rougier
Qualifying would prove to be vital for the drivers with pole position being enough for Arthur Rougier to hang on for victory in race one, his first of the season as the race was red flagged due to rain.
Championship leader Victor Martins started second and Rougier knew the importance of keeping his rival at bay in the opening laps. He did so, pulling out a gap and benefiting from Martins’ inability to drive in the wet around Pau.
Martins though would still hold on to second, with Marvin Klien pressuring in the closing laps before the flag was waved. Elsewhere, Stuart White put in another strong performance to finish best of the rest in fourth.
The biggest beneficiaries of the weather though proved to be Casper Roes and Christian Munoz, who jumped from ninth and eleventh respectively. Thanks to their adaptability in the condition, they would round out the top six.
Winner: Thomas Drouet
The reverse grid event would see Thomas Drouet start on pole. The #7 would lose the lead off the line to Aldo Festante, but it would only be temporary as it was revealed that Festante jumped the start, resulting in a drive-through penalty.
A safety car was soon called to deal with Amaury Cordeel. From there, Drouet continued to hold off Jean-Baptise Mela and Javier Gonzalez.
Mela, a multiple podium finisher knew that a win was easily within sight, as virtually the entire field were nose-to-tail. A loss of momentum behind them had allowed Casper Roes a run of fourth placed Christian Munoz, but like many around him failed to overtake. The only man to jump any significant places was race one winner Arthur Rougier, finishing seventh.
This meant that Drouet took his maiden French F4 victory, breaking away slightly in the closing minutes as Gonzalez almost made a lunge on Mela work. Munoz would beat Roes and Stuart White.
Winner: Arthur Rougier
The French star continued his excellent run around the local circuit, once again taking advantage of his pole position. Arthur Rougier was quick to establish his position, driving off in the opening laps.
Behind him though a dramatic final lap saw the podium position switch around considerably. Marvin Klien had been running in second, before being dive-bombed by Jean-Baptise Mela. Mela almost missed the hairpin with Klein attempting to cut back inside.
Stuart White had also taken the initiative though and with the barriers so close to the track, Mela and White squeezed Klien, breaking his suspension. Mela would also come to a stop a few yards later as the shaken White got passed by Hugo Chevalier.
White though would round out the podium, staying ahead of Pierre-Alexandre Jean and Florian Venturi. Race winner Rougier will also inherit the championship lead as Victor Martins stopped on track, limping back to the pits and finishing a lap down, out of the points.
French F4 Standings after Round 3 – Pau
|2||29||Victor Martins (J)||3||111|
|5||3||Stuart White (J)||59|
|15||11||Amaury Cordeel (J)||2|
|16||27||Ugo de Wilde (J)||0|