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Auckland driver Nick Cassidy is aiming to claw his way back to the front of the 2016 FIA Formula 3 Championship in the latest round at Pau in France.
Cassidy is a three-time New Zealand Grand Prix winner and has stood on the podium at the annual Macau Grand Prix in 2014.
With the feature race at the Pau Formula 3 round also bearing the title Grand Prix, he is on a fight-back to recover points in the close-fought European Grand Prix.
Racing with the favoured Prema Powerteam, Cassidy led the championship after scoring three second places at the opening round, but struck tyre problems at the following round in Hungary and watched his team-mates sweep past him. With six races complete, he is fourth in the championship going into this weekend’s three races on the 2.67 km street circuit at Pau.
Now, on the back of a fourth overall in the Japanese SUPER GT series with Lexus Team TOM'S, he returns to Europe determined to re-assert his early form. Cassidy says he is confident he will be competitive.
“We started the championship strongly, and the team gave me a fantastic car set-up for the opening round but then Hungary was disappointing, we had issues due to factors outside of our control. It’s up to me now to make the most of Pau, especially in qualifying. It is the first time at this street circuit for me, so no doubt will be challenging, but together with the team at Prema I believe we are well prepared for the challenge.” he said.
The bumpy surface of the street circuit doesn’t worry Cassidy, who has raced on the narrower and rougher Macau circuit.
“The challenge looks a little different to Macau, but obviously has some similarities. It is a much shorter lap, on high downforce, and limited passing opportunities so qualifying will be super important. As always, concentration will be important and anything can happen” he said.
The 75th Pau Grand Prix is the third race of the weekend for the F3 cars. The event was first held in 1933 and became a Formula 3 race in 2011. It has been part of the FIA European F3 Championship since 2014 and is raced over 33 laps for a total distance of 91 km.