After his brilliant performance on the Le Castellet circuit, Hugo Chevalier went to Pau inspired, ready to continue his podium harvest on the streets of the Bearn capital on 14th and 15th May. However, things quickly got complicated for Hugo, during the second round of the 2016 French F4 Championship. On a street circuit which is very difficult to learn for a rookie and with very unsettled weather, the youngster from Upper Savoy was, however, able to win in one of the races, although a mechanical problem decided otherwise.
Pau is a unique circuit on the French F4 Championship calendar. Far from the usual standards, this track in the heart of the city of Pau is part of the heritage of the French motorsport. “Learning a track like Pau is both very difficult, especially against drivers that have already had a chance to experience it, but also very exciting. We had to discover this urban environment and achieve high speed running between the rails. The slightest mistake is disaster,” says Hugo.
A victory that flies …
In free practice, Hugo Chevalier demonstrated excellent coping skills, trying to apply the best advice from Didier André, his athletic trainer, a former senior driver and a qualified driving instructor. But during the Qualifying session, the grip conditions changed and Hugo had to settle for 8th. In Race 1, the objective of scoring important championship points was completed, with a very encouraging 6th.
In the aftermath, Hugo Chevalier was to be a hero in Race 2. After a great start, he quickly moved up to 3rd position, before reaching 2nd place, then the 1st. Victory was within reach, when an electrical problem arose: the gears would not change. Hugo had to return to the pits to change the wheel and finish in a disappointing 8th place. “I felt good, serene, but success was not on my side.”
A flattering place in the championship
On Sunday, the rain returned and wet tyres were fitted for Race 3. At the start, Hugo made a small mistake and ended up at the back. Starting to attack his opponents again, he made beautiful overtakes despite the narrowness of the Pau track and came back to 10th position.
The track was finally dry for Race 4. Hugo was determined to finish his meeting in style. “Shortly after the start, several cars were hit at the hairpin and I could not avoid one of them. My front wing was damaged and the car became very difficult to drive between the rails of the Pau circuit. I finally gave up after a nudge.”
“I do want to remember the positives of this weekend. On one hand, this Pau circuit, I know it now, so that will be an asset in my next race on the famous track. On the other hand, I showed that I was able to lead a race and aim for victory in F4. Finally, I managed to maintain my 2nd place overall, which is motivating before Lédenon on the first weekend in June ”
Summary Round 2 – French F4 Championship at Pau (13th-14th-15th May 2016) … Qualifying: 8th – Race 1: 6th – Race 2: 8th – Race 3: 10th – Race 4: DNF – Interim Championship: 2nd