Carlin’s rookie racer Sacha Fenestraz has taken victory in the second race of the 2018 FIA Formula Three European Championship at Pau in challenging conditions. The French-Argentine driver lined up on pole and led for the entire race defending extremely well while coming under pressure at points. The fantastic result means that Fenestraz tops not only the full podium but also takes a rookie classification win as well as the Championship lead. Carlin team mate Jehan Daruvala found himself out of position for the race after his fast lap in qualifying was compromised; the Indian racer took the flag in a strong sixth place while Ferdinand Habsburg finished 11th, Nikita Troitskiy 13th and Ameya Vaidyanathan 16th. Canadian Devlin DeFrancesco suffered further heartbreak as his race ended early following contact from a competitor.
As the lights went out to mark the second race of the weekend, and 2018 season, pole sitter Fenestraz launched well despite the slippery conditions. However, he had Fabio Scherer for close company who tried to put his nose ahead of the Carlin man – Fenestraz held his nerve well and continued on his way, leading the race. Meanwhile both Daruvala and Habsburg were looking feisty but finding it difficult to overtake at the Pau circuit where it is notoriously hard to do so; coupled with spots of rain falling on track, the conditions started to worsen a little.
Drama came soon after when DeFrancesco and Artem Petrov came to blows which left the Carlin driver out of the race and stranded on track – bringing out the safety car as a result. By this point in the race, Daruvala was seventh, Habsburg 12th, Troitskiy 15th and Vaidyanathan 20th.
On the restart, Scherer resumed his advances on race leader Fenestraz who continued to hold him off. The pair fought like this for a while with Scherer getting too close for comfort at times and running in to the back of Fenestraz. Driving well within the barriers, Fenestraz didn’t let this faze him and he soon began to pull an unassailable lead to take his first victory of the season and stand on the top step of the podium.
Meanwhile his Carlin team mates had also made progress with Daruvala taking the flag in sixth with Habsburg 11th, Troitskiy 13th and Vaidyanathan 16th.
Fenestraz, who now leads the championship standings, said of his race win, “I’m really pleased to get my maiden win today at Pau! It was a great race from start to finish for me even if it was a little tricky with rain looking threatening at times. However, it’s fantastic to get the points and lead the championship in these early stages. I look forward to doing it all over again this afternoon and pushing for another great result.”