Sahara Force India Academy racer, Jehan Daruvala began his 2018 campaign in the FIA Formula 3 European Championship with a podium in Race 3 of the season opener. Jehan created history last year, when he became the first Indian ever, to win a race in the FIA F3 European Championship when he dominated and won at Nuremberg in Germany.
The first round of the 2018 season was held on the famous street circuit of Pau in Southern France. Jehan qualified just 0.29 seconds off the quickest, but the extremely competitive grid meant that Jehan would start seventh. In the next qualifying session, Jehan was supremely quick. He was all set to bag pole position but a slower car in front of him meant Jehan was blocked and he qualified down in seventh and fifth for the remaining races.
The highlight of Jehan’s weekend was when he made a brilliant start from fifth on a completely wet circuit, in Race 3. The Indian teenager climbed two places before corner 1 and thereafter made no mistakes in the treacherous conditions around the tight street circuit. Jehan was comfortable in the third when the race was stopped 13 minutes before the scheduled due to the un-drivable wet conditions, sealing Jehan’s podium.
Earlier in the weekend, Jehan had a poor start for Race 1 and lost a couple of places before climbing up to seventh. A mechanical failure with the suspension, due to no fault of his own, saw Jehan retire from the race. Race 2 saw Jehan start seventh and ultimately finish sixth after another racer crashed.
Jehan’s podium in Race 3, popularly known as the Pau Grand Prix was the highlight of Jehan’s weekend which was otherwise compromised due to situations beyond his control. His pace has been right up there, in the series which is arguably one of the most important steps to Formula 1 and certainly one of the most competitive.
“I made a mistake in the first qualifying which cost me the pole. In the second qualifying, I was unfortunately held up which again cost me pole position. I am very happy with my pace, especially in the wet, I am now much more confident and up there. After all the things that went wrong, I am relieved with the podium this weekend. It’s time to put this behind me and continue working hard for the rest of the season” said Jehan.
Round 2 of the championship will be held at the Hungaroring F1 circuit in Hungary in early June.