Fastest during Friday practice, Robert Shwartzman (R-ace GP) kept the momentum going in taking the pole, then the win in race one at Pau. The SMP Racing protégé was followed to the flag by his team mate Max Defourny (R-ace GP) and Gabriel Aubry (Tech 1 Racing). Renault Sport Academy driver Max Fewtrell (Tech 1 Racing) won in the rookie class and was seventh overall. With the win Robert Shwartzman is now just two points behind leader Will Palmer (R-ace GP), who finished fourth today.
Third pole for Shwartzman
Despite a light sprinkling just minutes prior to qualifying, the competitors opted for slick tyres. In Group A, Max Defourny set a benchmark time of 1:13.654, but Robert Shwartzman was quicker with a lap of 1:13.654 in Group B.
Robert Shwartzman lined-up on the grid ahead of Max Defourny, Gabriel Aubry, Will Palmer, Alex Peroni (Fortec Motorsports) and Sacha Fenestraz (Josef Kaufmann Racing). Rookies Max Fewtrell and Yifei Ye (Josef Kaufmann Racing) slotted in on row four.
Fifth triumph on the bounce for R-ace GP
Another formation lap was needed due to the problems at the start for Red Bull Junior Team protégé, Neil Verhagen (MP Motorsport). When the lights went out, Robert Shwartzman maintained the lead while Max Defourny battled with Gabriel Aubry. The French driver was then surprised by Will Palmer at Foch before the Brit gave the position back.
The front-runners managed to avoid the tricky spots of the Pau circuit, but on lap three Jean-Baptiste Simmenauer (JD Motorsport) was not as fortunate. Ghislain Cordeel (Arden Motorsport), Henrique Chaves (AVF by Adrián Vallés) and Sun Yue Yang (JD Motorsport) also got caught out in the following laps.
Robert Shwartzman was in a league of his, taking his third success of the season in front of Max Defourny. Gabriel Aubry held off Will Palmer and Alex Peroni to take third place. Sacha Fenestraz was sixth, ahead of rookies Max Fewtrell, Yifei Ye, Raúl Guzmán (R-ace GP) and Red Bull Junior Team driver, Daniel Ticktum (Arden Motorsport).
Robert Shwartzman (R-ace GP): “This is just my second race on a street circuit and I was a bit on the backfoot after my first go in Monaco. So it is a special feeling to have won today! Qualifying was very tight, and I must thank the team because the car was excellent and the pace was perfect. The race itself was somewhat monotone like is often the case on this kind of track, but I had to stay sharp as the track was quite slippery in the last laps. I am now just two points behind Will. Tomorrow, I hope to do just as good a job to take the lead in the championship.”
This is just my second race on a street circuit and I was a bit on the backfoot after my first go in Monaco. So it is a special feeling to have won today!
Max Defourny (R-ace GP): “It is nice to be back on the podium and score good points after two difficult weekends at Monza and Silverstone with the performance or the results. In qualifying second, we knew it was highly likely that Robert and I would follow each other throughout the race. Pau is very different to the other circuits with its bumps, while also being a lot of fun because there is never a second to relax. Tomorrow, the goal will be to take the best time in the group for the fourth consecutive time to start at the front and win.”
Gabriel Aubry (Tech 1 Racing): “My battle with Will was a bit confusing. I saw a SC board and I slowed down, while also trying to keep the tyre temperatures up before I realised there wasn’t a neutralisation. Will took advantage before he gave it back. That was really fair from him. Following a complicated meeting at Silverstone last week, it is good to be back on the podium and regain confidence at my home round. We must work further to get the pole position and make the most of the few overtaking opportunities to do better tomorrow.”
Max Fewtrell (Tech 1 Racing): “We were unlucky in qualifying with a double yellow flag on my fastest lap. We were not able to get the most out of the car and I look forward to tomorrow to show our real potential. There was nothing we could do today. We will aim for a lot more than just the win in the rookie category.”
|1. Will Palmer (R-ace GP)||92|
|2. Robert Shwartzman (R-ace GP)||90|
|3. Sacha Fenestraz (Josef Kaufmann Racing)||54|
|4. Max Defourny (R-ace GP)||43|
|5. Max Fewtrell (Tech 1 Racing)||38|
*Results subject to confirmation following technical and sporting verifications.