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2018 FIA Formula 3 European Championship
Circuit de Pau-Ville

Difficult opening weekend for Devlin at Pau

Circuit de Pau-Ville
2018 FIA Formula 3 European Championship
Qualifying 1
4:05 pm
Friday
11

01     Daniel Ticktum

02     Guanyu Zhou

17     Devlin Defrancesco

+0.009

+1.165

Race 1
11:10 am
Saturday
12

01     Guanyu Zhou

02     Ralf Aron

DNF  Devlin DeFrancesco

+0.588

n/a

Qualifying 2
4:05 pm
Saturday
12

01     Sacha Fenestraz

02      Alex Palou

DNF  Devlin DeFrancesco

+1.484

+4.630

Race 2
4:05 pm
Saturday
12

01     Sacha Fenestraz

02     Alex Palou

DNF  Devlin DeFrancesco

+3.032

n/a

Race 3
3:25 pm
Sunday
13

01     Ralf Aron

02     Enaam Ahmed

DNF  Devlin DeFrancesco

+1.051

n/a

Difficult opening weekend for Devlin at Pau

The Circuit Pau-Ville, tucked away in the Pyrénées in France, held host to the first round of what is already shaping up to be a hugely competitive FIA Formula 3 European Championship. Three races took place throughout the weekend, all in typically Pau like fashion, offering differing weather conditions and chaotic scenes with many drivers, both rookies and veterans, experiencing incidents throughout the opening round.

Devlin DeFrancesco’s season got off to a uncharacteristically difficult start around the notoriously tricky street circuit, as he was plagued by bad luck and reliability issues all weekend long, starting in race one on Saturday morning and going all the way through to the Grand Prix de Pau on a rain-drenched Sunday afternoon.

Heading out to the track for the first ever time, Devlin put in a series of competitive laps during FP1, however misjudging a line slightly Devlin’s session was cut short. Ending the session in the top 10 Devlin was looking to put his small off behind him, confident of a good weekend whilst the Carlin squad worked relentlessly on his car to get him back out as soon as possible. It was a race against the clock with back to back sessions and despite the best efforts of the whole team it was not meant to be, as Devlin was forced to watch the next session from the Pit Wall.

Undeterred by his lack of running, Devlin headed out to qualifying putting in a series of clean laps in to try to put himself in the best possible grid position for the afternoon’s race. Considering the circumstances from earlier in the day, it was a valiant effort, but it didn’t end up going the way Devlin had hoped.  

“Obviously qualifying didn’t go as planned after the shunt in FP1,” he commented. “But big credits to all the guys at Carlin for fixing the car and bolting everything back on and getting it out again for qualifying.”

As the lights went out on Friday afternoon, Devlin made a clean getaway, and just as it looked like his luck was turning, he was dealt yet another cruel turn of fate, with clutch issues forcing him to retire after just three laps of running.

With a tight schedule, the team had to refocus their attentions to the second round of qualifying, which Devlin headed out in Group B for. The weather was taking a rapid turn for the worst, with heavy rain falling during the session. Devlin got an early lap in to put a time on the board, but mid-way through the qualifying had a moment where it looked as though he might brush the wall, but held it just enough to keep going - and actually set his fastest lap after the incident.

Determined not to let this bout of bad luck affect him, the resilient racer headed into the rest of Sunday feeling positive, however it seemed like it just wasn’t meant to be. Devlin was making progress in the second race, even with a suspension issue that had been niggling away from the offset. However, his run was cruelly cut short as Pont Oscar claimed another victim with Devlin being squeezed off track. Brushing himself off all focus turned to the Grand Prix de Pau later that afternoon.

As the lights went out for the Grand Prix, the heavens opened with torrential downpours hammering the track - with conditions and visibility so poor that the race was abandoned on lap 11.

Despite a chaotic few first laps, Devlin got away cleanly and was making good progress throughout the field in what was looking to be a positive end to the weekend, until lady luck reared an ugly hand yet again with a broken wishbone causing a premature retirement.

The next race of the calendar will take place at the Hungaroring in two weeks time (25-27 May). DeFrancesco will be wanting to put his unlucky first Formula 3 weekend behind him and most importantly pressing the refresh button on his championship challenge.

Monday, May 14, 2018