Theo Pourchaire continues his education in car racing with application, talent and determination within the 2018 French F4 Championship. Ascension weekend marked one of the most complex stages of the season, with the Grand Prix of Pau contested on an urban layout in the heart of the city of King Henry IV. Despite a difficult Qualifying session, the young motorsport hopeful found good pace in each race to score important points in the championship. He took the opportunity to establish his dominance in Junior after this second meeting of the season.
The preparation work carried out throughout the winter to tackle Théo Pourchaire’s single-seater debut in the best conditions continues to bear fruit. “The Pau circuit requires a lot of concentration, confidence and therefore a strong mind. I worked in this direction to progress even faster and optimise my performance,” confessed the driver from Grasse.
On Friday, the Qualifying session would not bring him the expected result. Theo probably paid the price for his minor mistake in the morning free practice, where he could not get enough track time so therefore did not collect enough information to optimise the settings of his car before Qualifying. “I wanted to attack too quickly, when the new brake pads were not yet well honed. In Pau, the rails are really close to the racing lines and I hit one when braking.”
In Qualifying in the afternoon, the penalty was immediate: Theo Pourchaire could do no better than 6th. This was to be his place on the starting grid of Races 1 and 3, his position in the second being determined by the reverse order of the classification of Race 1.
In the first race under beautiful sunshine, the pack rushed into the famous station curve, where Theo found himself slightly stuck, without being able to prevent his direct pursuer from passing. Despite some attempts to get the better of Stuart White, he had to settle for 7th place. Overtaking on a street circuit is never easy and this was confirmed for Theo in Race 2, this time on a wet track, on wet tyres. 4th on the first lap, he constantly attacked his rival to try to take the podium. “The track was even more slippery as soon as we left the line. Ulysse De Pauw protected his place well and I could not find the opening.”
Race 3 was even more frustrating on a partially wet track. “At first, I was not on the most grippy part and White took the opportunity again to pass me. From the first lap, I felt that I was really much faster than the group of drivers in front of me. Alas, a few raindrops fell and the race management made the decision, probably too quickly, to raise the red flag. It is a pity not to have the safety car out for a few laps because of the rain. The race lasted only 6 laps and I did not have time to improve my 7th place.”
For Theo, the frustration is great. A return to the top five, or even a podium, was possible. In addition, only half of the points were awarded due to the short distance covered.
On two occasions, Théo Pourchaire was able to take the podium as the best Junior. A strong leader in this category, he will be keen to improve his position in the general classification during the third F4 event of 2018, which will take place on 1st, 2nd and 3rd June in Belgium at Spa-Francorchamps.