Sacha Fenestraz left Pau as the first championship leader of the FIA European Formula 3 Championship, with the Carlin Motorsport driver also claiming his first victory in the category in race two.
The French-Argentine driver, who was drafted into the Renault Sport Academy at the end of 2017 after claiming the Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 championship, started the weekend with a fourth place in race one before taking the win in race two, although race three saw him fail to score after pitting just before the race was red flagged and declared as a result.
Fenestraz was happy to avoid any mistakes at Pau but he acknowledges that the circuit is unlikely to be representative of races to come.
“Obviously, I’m very happy with my first weekend,” said Fenestraz. “I achieved my objectives, which were not to make mistakes and position myself among the eight drivers capable of winning the title.
“This evening I’m leading the overall classification so I’ve exceeded my aims, but I know that Pau is the most atypical event of the season so I’m not getting carried away.”
His race victory in race two was not without difficulty however, as he survived a clash with Fabio Scherer and some tricky weather conditions to overcome the opposition, and he was able to gap the field in the closing laps to win by 3.032 seconds ahead of Alex Palou.
“I’ll remember my victory for a long time as it was the most difficult race of my career so far,” said Fenestraz. “In addition, driving such a quick car on this circuit, which was also a bit damp, was a real challenge.
“Circumstances also compounded the difficulties with the race being neutralised behind the safety car and then the rain started to fall with increasing intensity, the attacks of my pursuers, etc. When I crossed the finishing line I almost didn’t dare believe it.
“It’s the result of all the work done this winter with the Carlin team and it’s a perfect launch to our season!”