Frustration for Cassidy at Pau Grand Prix

After strong practice and qualifying performance, fate was not on Nick Cassidy’s side this weekend at the Pau Grand Prix, round 3 of the FIA European Formula 3 championship.

The spectacular city street circuit of Pau in the French Pyrenees was an unknown circuit to Cassidy heading into the weekend and despite it being a steep learning curve, especially with a wet free practice to contend with, the young Aucklander quickly found pace and qualified P2 for the first race but due to split qualifying Cassidy started in P3.

A strong start gave the Kiwi a clear run at the front runners and he was all over Prema Powerteam team mate, Maxi Gunther, for the opening laps of the race. Following a safety car restart Cassidy seized an opportunity and made an impressive high speed overtaking manoeuvre stick around the outside of turn 1. He maintained track position to take the podium in P2 on his race debut at the challenging circuit.

Cassidy started Race 2 from P2, a difficult position as the inside line was completely wet for the start while a dry line was present for those on the outside. Cassidy made the best start he could in the slippery conditions losing only one place and quickly settling into the race amongst the front runners.

Unfortunately a deflated left rear tyre on lap 3 forced Cassidy to the pits and put him a lap behind and out of the points.

Starting Race 3 from P4 on the grid, Cassidy was looking forward with eyes on another podium in the first full dry race of the weekend. Another superb start had Cassidy up on the inside challenging Brazilian driver, Sergio Sette Camara, for P3 at the first kink.

Camara squeezed Cassidy into the inside wall when the cars were side by side – sending both into the outside fence where they were collected by the field in a dramatic pile up. Camara was subsequently given a 5 place grid penalty and license demerit points for next round as a result of the incident.

A disappointing finish to what began as a promising debut at Pau, but Cassidy remains focussed and confident on improving his 5th place in the FIA European F3 Championship.

“Overall it’s a shame to walk out of this weekend with less points than we deserved, but I have my head held high. My first race was excellent, with really good speed and the only guy in the top 10 without prior Pau experience. We had really good speed in the dry as well, which puts our Hungaroring issues behind us and I’m feeling really good going into next weekend at the Red Bull Ring in Austria.”

Round 4 of the championship is held 20-22nd of May in Austria.

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