Saturday 12th May, 2018

There couldn’t have been a better start for PREMA Theodore Racing in the 2018 FIA Formula 3 European Championship opener at the Pau Grand Prix. Taking-off from the front row of the grid, Guanyu Zhou took the lead of race 1 at the start and never looked back, securing a historic first win in the series. Zhou is the first Chinese driver to win an FIA Formula 3 race. Controlling the situation despite two safety car situations and two full-course yellows, Zhou crossed the finishing line in front of team-mate Ralf Aron to make it an outstanding Prema 1-2. At his debut in the series, New Zealander Marcus Armstrong scored P5 overall and was P2 among rookies. Russian Robert Shwartzman suffered from a transmission hiccup and settled for P8. Starting P18 after a qualifying issue, Mick Schumacher quickly recovered but was involved in an unavoidable incident and had lost valuable ground. He ended up P15.

Guanyu Zhou, #1
Race 1: P1
Qualifying 2 – Gr 1: P8     Fastest Lap: 1:26’395        
Qualifying 3 – Gr 1: P9     Fastest Lap: 1:27’224  

“It’s unbelievable to be the first Chinese driver to win a Formula 3 race and also in FIA Formula racing. It’s been tough to get there but all the preparations to get there paid off. The pace was good from day 1 and a good start put me in the lead. It was really intense with many safety cars and stuff going on during the run but I kept my had cool and pushed as much as I could stay in front by being fast in the last sector. I’m really thankful to the team for giving me such a great car.”

Mick Schumacher, #4
Race 1: P15
Qualifying 2 – Gr 1: P9     Fastest Lap: 1:26’739        
Qualifying 3 – Gr 1: P6     Fastest Lap: 1:26’886

“I got a really good jump at the start and could gain some positions. Full course yellows worked really well too but I got involved in a contact, and then, while battling with a contender, the other driver could not make the corner and got me stuck. I was forced to reverse and lost quite some ground. In the afternoon, we struggled a bit in qualifying 2 but we’ll try to do our best tomorrow.”

Ralf Aron, #7
Race 1: P2
Qualifying 2 – Gr 2: P6     Fastest Lap: 1:24’359        
Qualifying 3 – Gr 2: P2     Fastest Lap: 1:24’385

“The start was good and I knew the pace was going to be good but I got a little bit stuck beginning. I was hoping to pressure Dan. After the safety-car, I got a good re-start and he braked early. I saw the opportunity and passed before the apex. He released the brakes and we touched but we kept running. Second place is a good start for the new season.”

Marcus Armstrong, #8
Race 1: P5
Qualifying 2 – Gr 1: P6     Fastest Lap: 1:25’649       
Qualifying 3 – Gr 1: P2     Fastest Lap: 1:26’242

 “I had a good start, we went from P9 to P6 and our pace was good as well in the early laps so I was pretty happy. The car felt good too and if we just got qualifying right, maybe we could be on the podium, but for being the first race in Formula 3 and the first race at Pau, I’m satisfied.”

Robert Shwartzman, #10
Race 1: P8
Qualifying 2 – Gr 2: P7     Fastest Lap: 1:24’462       
Qualifying 3 – Gr 2: P6     Fastest Lap: 1:24’956

“In race 1 I had a better start than the cars in front and stayed behind Ralf as I didn’t have enough space to pass even if I was a little quicker. After the re-start, I experienced an issue with gear selection which left me in neutral for seven seconds and five cars went by. From that point on there is not a lot to say as the race was pretty uneventful and I ended up 8th.”

Teddy Yip Commented:
“Where to start. Today has not only been a successful day with a win in FIA Formula 3 and Formula 4, as well as a podium in Formula 2, it has been a historic day as Guanyu Zhou becomes the first Chinese driver to win a race in the FIA F3 Championship. What a way to open the season. We as a team are incredibly proud to be the ones to help Guanyu make this unforgettable win.” 

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