Pau: Volskwagen preview

Volkswagen driver Mortara comes to Pau as leader of the standings After a four-week break, the Formula 3 Euro Series returns to the race track this weekend. At rounds five and six of the season, which are held on the narrow city street circuit...

Volkswagen driver Mortara comes to Pau as leader of the standings

After a four-week break, the Formula 3 Euro Series returns to the race track this weekend. At rounds five and six of the season, which are held on the narrow city street circuit in Pau, France, Edoardo Mortara will start from the grid with Volkswagen Power as the leader of the standings. The Italian is the only driver to have clinched points in all of the season's races so far and, together with Mika Maki, is currently leading the standings. "Heading the leaderboard is a nice snapshot, which -- naturally -- pleases us, but that's all," says Volkswagen Motorsport Director Kris Nissen. "Volkswagen has managed a very good start to its first full season as an engine partner in the Formula 3 Euro Series. We want to continue our track record in Pau and clinch further points in this highly competitive championship."

For the Formula 3 Euro Series drivers, this year marks their first return to Pau since 2005. They will not be racing here in conjunction with the DTM for a change, but alongside the World Touring Car Championship (WTCC). The 2.760-kilometre circuit through the city is seen as one of the most challenging venues on the race schedule. City street circuits are always attractive in a special way," confirms Edoardo Mortara. "You've got to be fully concentrated every single second and can't afford to make even the slightest mistake." Along with the front runner, seven other drivers "powered by Volkswagen", including two who are making their debut - Canadian Robert Wickens and Congfu Cheng from China - will contest the rounds.

New drivers' squad in the French Signature team

The French Signature team will contest the races in Pau with a change in its line-up: Robert Wickens replaces Stefano Coletti from Monaco. Like his predecessor, Wickens comes from the Red Bull drivers' cadre and attracted attention when he clinched five podium positions and one victory in the A1GP Series last winter. In Pau, the 19-year-old Canadian's other team-mates from the original line-up - besides Mortara - will be the Frenchman Jean Karl Vernay, who made a strong showing with a fifth-place finish at the Formula 3 Euro Series season opener at Hockenheim, and Franck Mailleux, who will contest the rounds in his native France in seventh place of the standings.

Formula 3 Euro Series debut for Congfu Cheng

Like Signature, the second Volkswagen squad - the Italian RC Motorsport team - sends its previous regular drivers, Maximilian Gotz (D), Jens Klingmann (D) and Martin Plowman (GB), as well as a newcomer to the race: Congfu Cheng will contest his first Formula 3 Euro Series race in a Volkswagen-Dallara F308 on the third weekend of the season. The Chinese racer did not contest the first two events because he was competing for his national team in the A1GP Series at the same time. The native of Beijing also made headlines prior to the season as a bearer of the Olympic Torch. But from now on, he is fully focused on Formula 3. "I'm looking forward to the first race with Volkswagen and I am hoping for a good result. Of course it's not easy starting on a race track that's new to me, and a city street circuit at that. But I've raced on city circuits before in my career, so I'm optimistic. We don't have a lot of time to get used to the Pau circuit. But, so far, I've always been a very quick learner," says the 23-year-old Congfu Cheng.

Looking forward to the special flair of Pau's city circuit

The Volkswagen drivers are going to Pau with eager anticipation, but with respect as well. Maximilian Gotz: "Qualifying is extremely important here because there's only one overtaking opportunity at the end of the start-finish straight. If you start from mid-field, you hardly have a chance to improve." Still, Gotz is optimistic: "I've driven in Pau several times before. Last time, I took pole. I'm hoping to achieve a similar result this time. The circuit itself is very impressive, with the high walls, it seems a bit like Monaco. It's crucial not to make any mistakes, because you'll end up in the guard rails. My goal is to score points."

-credit: volkswagen-motorsport.com

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About this article
Series F3 Europe
Drivers Robert Wickens , Stefano Coletti , Martin Plowman , Congfu Cheng , Mika Maki , Jens Klingmann , Kris Nissen , Franck Mailleux , Edoardo Mortara , Jean-Karl Vernay , Maximilian Götz
Teams Volkswagen Motorsport