Home Featured Mixed emotions in French F4 paddock as two cars ruled out of Pau GP

Mixed emotions in French F4 paddock as two cars ruled out of Pau GP

by Ida Wood

Photo: Ida Wood

French Formula 4’s reversed-grid race in Pau on Saturday featured 10 retirements, and there were big results up for grabs for those who evaded the chaos.

Pol Lopez started from pole, and was passed at turn one by fellow front-row man Garrett Berry. Behind them Leonardo Megna instigated a crash that eliminated himself, points leader Evan Giltaire and Hiyu Yamakoshi.

The same corner provided further drama on lap four, as Lopez lost his front wing and crashed. His chassis split and turned into a fireball as he spun towards turn two.

The wing was collected by those behind, and yellow flags warned approaching drivers to slow down. But it caught several out, and Paul Alberto ran into and then over the top of Adrien Closmenil. That resulted in Kevin Foster being wiped out, and his car stopped when it hit the remainder of Lopez’s.

Alberto came to a halt in a lot of pain and had to be hoisted from his car by marshals before being taken to hospital via ambulance. When he was released from hospital late on Sunday morning, it was confirmed to Formula Scout he had an injured back and additional muscular injuries.

The race was red flagged for 50 minutes following that crash, with Berry winning the restarted race ahead of Enzo Peugeot.

Race three of the weekend, the Pau Grand Prix, takes place on Sunday afternoon and will include 24 cars with Alberto ruled out and Lopez’s car unrepairable.

Foster has pole, and was relieved his race two damage was repairable but unimpressed by what he considered “amateur” driving that ruined several drivers’ races.

Fourth-placed qualifier Megna has a five-place grid penalty for the crash he caused, and non-starter Lopez was given a three-place grid penalty.

Berry and Peugeot also spoke to Formula Scout about race two.

“It was quite crazy,” said Berry. “I didn’t know how much grip there was on the track because of turn two [where powder had to be put down due to Lopez’s car leaking fluids], so I just kind of played it safe, braked on the inside and hoped for the best, but it was very tough out there.

“There was a lot of pressure, sitting with the red flag for so long in the pits, but it feels good to get up on the podium for the first time.”

Peugeot, who won race one, was pleased to finish second after starting sixth.

“I got a great start, I was already up to third on the first lap. And then the red flag wait was pretty long. After that it was like eight minutes of racing. I tried to attack Garrett, but he resisted well, so I’m quite happy with second place.”

On if he could have beaten Berry if there were less yellow flags, Peugeot said: “No, because I didn’t have to take any risks. I already won race one this morning. So just grab points for the championship. I had good feelings in the car, I’m pretty confident for Sunday.”