Ralf Aron (PREMA Theodore Racing) was the winner of the FIA Formula 3 European Championship feature race at the French street circuit of Pau. In a race that was stopped early due to heavy rain, he finished ahead of rookie Enaam Ahmed (Hitech Bullfrog GP) and Jehan Daruvala (Carlin). As the third race of the European Formula 3 Championship weekend was officially designated as the “Grand Prix de Pau,” Aron’s name was added to the winners’ list of the prestigious event that includes ex-Formula 1 stars Juan Manuel Fangio, Jim Clark and Jackie Stewart. Sacha Fenestraz (Carlin), who opted for slicks and finished 20th in this race, remains in the lead of the FIA Formula 3 European Championship drivers’ standings.
In pouring rain, Aron managed to take the lead at the start while Ahmed, who had started ahead of him from pole position, slotted into second place. The latter’s teammate Alex Palou (Hitech Bullfrog GP) wasn’t able to benefit from his second grid position. He dropped out of the top 10 after a weak start. As he hadn’t lined up correctly on the starting grid, he also was given a drive-through penalty after three laps.
On Lap 8, Marcus Armstrong (PREMA Theodore Racing) and Ferdinand Habsburg (Carlin) collided, after which the safety car was deployed. At that time, the order at the wet track was: Aron, Ahmed, Jehan Daruvala, Fabio Scherer (Motopark), Daniel Ticktum (Motopark) and Robert Shvartzman (PREMA Theodore Racing).
The race was interrupted with the red flag on Lap 12 as rain intensified. Conditions didn’t improve in the minutes that followed, so race control decided that the race wouldn’t be resumed. Thus, Aron won the prestigious Grand Prix de Pau while Ahmed and Daruvala accompanied the Estonian on the podium. Scherer, Ticktum, Shvartzman, Mick Schumacher (PREMA Theodore Racing), Jonathan Aberdein (Motopark), Ben Hingeley (Hitech Bullfrog GP) and Marino Sato (Motopark) rounded out the top ten.
“Having won the Grand Prix de Pau means a lot to me, particularly so as I really like street circuits,” said Aron. “In the wet second qualifying, we were still having problems, but my team solved them overnight and today, I had a really great car at my disposal. Our eventual choice for rain tires turned out to be the right call. Too bad that only half the points are given as I think we would have deserved the full number of points as well. But that is what the regulations are like. Otherwise, I am very happy and proud of our achievement.”