Davidson wins Pau Formula 3 classic

Reigning McLaren Autosport BRDC Award-winner Anthony Davidson triumphed in Pau's prestigious non-championship Formula 3 race after beating the cream of Europe's F3 talent to take a lights-to flag victory

Davidson wins Pau Formula 3 classic

Davidson took a surprise pole for the race by setting a new lap record at the French street circuit on Sunday and proceeded to carry his form into today's (Monday's) race to win by seven seconds. The 22-year-old kept his cool while those about him lost their heads.

"Formula 3 is a lot about having the right car," said Davidson, "but this track is a lot about drivers, so it's great to come here and win. It's a fantastic feeling."

The British F3 ace, who took his maiden win in the series last weekend at Croft, made a perfect start to take the lead into the first corner with Mattieu Zangarelli in second place and Carlin Motorsport team mate Takuma Sato moving up into third from fourth on the grid.

"I got one of the best starts of the year," said Davidson, "or probably the best start, and took the lead in the first corner. I then drove like it was qualifying for about the first five laps and everything just seemed to come together. The car was unbelievable and I just had fun really."

Fellow BAR test driver Sato had slightly less fun. The British championship leader was quick off the mark to move up into third off the grid, but his start was just a bit too good and he was judged to have pulled away fractionally early and was awarded a stop-go penalty for his trouble. To make matters worse Sato then stalled as he tried to leave the pits after his penalty and was ultimately forced to retire with a broken airbox.

Zangarelli then set about chasing the leader, but could not stay with the young Brit and whilst attempting to apply the pressure, the Frenchman contrived to spin a third of the way into the race, leaving Davidson out on his own - but it wasn't all easy.

"This is the hardest race I've ever done," he said. "Not in terms of pressure, but definitely in physical terms. It was so hot and to spend 45 minutes round such a tight circuit was draining. I pushed every lap because I found that was the only way I could keep the concentration level up, so I just kept pushing all the way to the end."

At the chequered flag, Davidson finished comfortably ahead of French series front-runner Ryo Fukuda in second place, while Bjorn Wirdheim from the German series took the final podium slot.

"I think this takes a lot of pressure off me," said Davidson, "and it proves to people that I can learn new circuits quickly and I can go back to the British series with my head up as one of the guys to beat now. The last couple of races in Britain have been really good and a race like this was just waiting to happen."

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Davidson starts from pole in Pau

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