Davidson starts from pole in Pau

Reigning McLaren Autosport BRDC Award-winner Anthony Davidson will start today's (Monday's) prestigious Pau Formula 3 street race from pole position after beating the best in Europe in qualifying

Davidson starts from pole in Pau

On-form Davidson, who is racing in the British F3 series this year, took his maiden win at Croft just last week and is flying the British flag high in Pau as the best of British, French and German F3 go head-to-head around the narrow streets of the picturesque town in the foothills of the Pyrenees.

The 22-year-old BAR-Honda test driver beat French F3 frontrunners Mattieu Zangarelli and Ryo Fukada into second and third places to set the fastest time, while his Carlin Motosport team mate Takuma Sato will start from fourth spot. But Davidson was more than a bit surprised to find himself at the top.

"If someone had told me before I came here that I would be on pole I would have just laughed and laughed," Davidson told Autosport.com. "I pushed harder than most people early on, and just from the moment I got here, I absolutely loved the circuit and had real good fun driving round."

The lack of pressure clearly helped as Davidson not only set his fastest lap of 1m10.996s in the second session when most of his rivals went slower. But the time was also a new lap record for the Pau circuit, beating the previous record set by last year's winner Jonathan Cochet.

"I've never made so many mistakes in my life around a circuit," said Davidson. "Putting the perfect lap together is almost impossible, but I got pretty close to it in the second session and it was just enough to put me on pole."

Despite a strong performance in qualifying, however, Davidson cannot expect to have it all his own way. Zangarelli and Fukada, who are second on the grid finished sixth and fourth at Pau last year and will be keen to put their experience of the tight street circuit to good use.

German Formula 3 championship leader Toshihiro Kaneishi was set to be a threat this weekend, but the Japanese has struggled and ended up back on the sixth row in qualifying. Diefenbacher, who is also from the German series will start from the third row.

In this morning's warm-up Davidson was second fastest and is confident for this afternoon's race, but believes the key to his success is the lack of pressure on him to perform.

"There's no real pressure on me performing," said Davidson, "and I'm just here having fun, learning Formula 3 on a street circuit and I've managed to put it on pole. It's looking quite good for the race. If I can just get off the bloody line, then we're looking at a race win around Pau."

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