Friday 11th May, 2018

PREMA Theodore Racing experienced an overall positive Friday at the 2018 Pau Grand Prix, the opening event for the 2018 FIA Formula 3 European Championship. As the pack lined-up split in groups for qualifying due to the tight and twisty nature of the French street circuit, Guanyu Zhou put up a great showing, posting an outstanding lap to top Group 1 and hand himself and China a front row start.

He was followed by Estonian Ralf Aron, who took P2, while Marcus Armstrong rounded out the top-5, also in Group 1. The only Prema man in Group 2, Robert Shwartzman, ended up P3 not too far away from the pole lap time. After starting off the weekend in outstanding fashion by leading the combined practice sessions, Mick Schumacher was forced to content with P9 in Group 1 by a broken suspension over a kerb.

GuanYu Zhou, #1
Qualifying, Group 1: P1
Fastest lap: 1:10’022

“I’m really happy with qualifying as I got P1 in my group. In the first practice, I did the best I could and then I improved in the second session. At the beginning of qualifying, I tried not to push too hard because I knew the tires would have been quicker later on so I pushed hard on my last try. I managed to put a good lap together and I got P1. In the second qualifying group, the track was probably a little better but I’m still really satisfied with how today went.”

Mick Schumacher, #4
Qualifying, Group 1: P9
Fastest lap: 1:11’093

“After getting P1 in practice I felt confident and fast. The start of qualifying was good too but we broke a suspension over a kerb. I tried to make the corner but the car just went straight in the barrier. We will try to do better tomorrow, it’s going to be a long season.”

Ralf Aron, #7
Qualifying, Group 1: P2
Fastest lap: 1:11’093

“We have been quick the whole day. The only new tire set we put in practice, I thought we had a mechanical problem so I stopped. Then we went out and we got a red flag but with older tires, I was quicker than everyone. So the pace was really good. In qualy I was P1 but I made a couple of mistakes, first I miscalculated the peak of the tires which came earlier than expected, and then, in my last lap, I made a little driving mistake. We will be still in a good position at the start but I’m a little bummed because it should have been pole.”

Marcus Armstrong, #8
Qualifying, Group 1: P5
Fastest lap: 1:10’324

“Firstly, fantastic experience. It’s a shame I didn’t nail my qualifying because it was really hot today and the peak of the tires was a lot sooner than I expected. I wish I could do it again because I believe we had the potential for a front row position. It would be fantastic, but luckily we had another qualifying tomorrow.”

Robert Shwartzman, #10
Qualifying, Group 2: P3
Fastest lap: 1:10’223

“The day didn’t go bad at all. In practice, we were in the top-5 although we still missed a little bit of pace on new tires. We knew how to improve though. In qualifying it was a bit of a mess with traffic and that made me do some small mistakes. I don’t know if I could have fought for P1 but we could have been closer for sure. Tomorrow it will be an interesting race. It seems that it will rain and I have never driven with the wet on a street circuit…”

Teddy Yip commented:
“It’s been a great way to kick start the 2018 FIA Formula 3 season with GuanYu Zhou sitting on the front row of the grid, after qualifying P1 in his group and overall narrowly missing pole by 0.009s! This makes him the first ever Chinese driver to sit on the front row for a second time in an FIA F3 race. Having the rest of the squad in the top ten is also a great achievement. Tomorrow is set to be an exciting race with the potential of rain, we hope to see some podium finishes.”

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