Pau Grand Prix starts new era

The annual Pau Grand Prix has a new look this weekend

Pau Grand Prix starts new era

Traditionally run for Formula 3000 cars, the streets of Pau will echo to the
sound of Formula 3 machines instead now that F3000 is a Grand Prix support
race.

The entry of 23 cars is disappointing for an event designed as a European
equivalent of the annual Macau F3 showdown, but should be more impressive in
future seasons as the race becomes established as one of the highlights of
the F3 calendar.

The German series regulars have a clashing fixture at Zweibrucken this year,
but the organisers promise at least 15 cars from Germany will make the race
in 2000.

The British F3 championship is represented by the Carlin Motorsport team.
Indian ace Narain Karthikeyan took a dominant victory at Brands Hatch last
month and has established himself as one of the stars of the
highly-competitive series.

Team mate Michael Bentwood has plenty of F3 experience and has made a lot of
progress this season.

The French and Italian series runners make up most of the field. Gianluca
Calcagni leads the way in Italy, and has already attracted backing from the
Benetton F1 team.

He is being chased by promising Norweigan Peter Sundberg and Michele Spoldi.
The latter is powered by the new BMW F3 engine in his Ghinzani Dallara.

But, it is the French Championship drivers who start as favourites.
Sebastien Bourdais currently leads the way but look out for returnee Jeremie
Dufour.

A former British F3 race winner, he hasn't raced regularly since 1995 but
lines up with top French team Graff Racing.

His no-compromise style should mean he is at the centre of the action. Among
his team-mates will be Alex Muller, the former F3000 driver who has stepped
down to F3 this season.

ORECA boss Hughes de Chaunac says he can have his F3000 seat back if he wins
70 per cent of the French races this year, but he has yet to taste victory
so will be eager to do so in one of the most prestigious races of the
season.

Rounds of the French F3 and GT championships are also on the bill at the
spectacular street course.

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