During the Easter weekend, the KENNOL Grand Prix de France Historique rewrote the history of F1, single-seaters and legendary motor cars on the Circuit Paul Ricard. The F3 doubleheader was one of the highlights of this event. Promoted to the rank of FIA Historic Formula 3 European Cup, this F3 doubleheader was one of the most anticipated races of the year for the category.  A total of 34 drivers representing 8 different nationalities took part, of which close to a third undoubtedly had their sights set on the European title.

Qualifying: Friday, 7 April 2023

There were 34 cars present for the qualifying session, which took place on the 5.842 km track in the Var region. Not many laps were possible due to the length of the track, therefore drivers had be on the offensive right away to claim one of the top spots in the race the next day. After an eventful qualifying, including a red flag due to contact between cars #34 and #169, causing a brief interruption of the session, it was no big surprise that Frédéric Lajoux claimed pole position with a time of 2’13.960, only 15-tenths of a second ahead of the Dutchman Patrick Andriessen. Frenchman Frédéric Rouvier took third place, 4-tenths of a second behind the leader and half a second ahead of Tristan Gommendy, completing the second row. The first corner was going to be tight!

Race 1: Saturday, 8 April 2023

The drivers had to take a two-by-two standing start! Frédéric Rouvier surprised the Dutchman Patrick Andriessen as soon as the lights went out, and attacked pole sitter Frédéric Lajoux at the first corner. Davide Leone and Laurent Vallery-Masson also had a strong start. The “Frédérics” battled it out on the Beausset double right-hander, with Rouvier passing Lajoux to take the race lead. On the third lap of the race, Davide Leone and Patrick Andriessen took advantage of a tow to sneak past Frédéric Lajoux under braking at the north chicane. Manfredo Rossi Di Montelera in his Martini MK34 came back into the fight and passed Frédéric Lajoux, driving a March 783, on the fourth lap, only to see the Monegasque take the spot back on the next lap. Out in front, the order remained the same despite Patrick Andriessen getting dangerously close to Frédéric Rouvier, who won by almost three seconds ahead of the Dutchman after losing pace towards the end of the race. Davide Leone took the third spot on the podium, being less than one-tenth of a second behind. The pole sitter finished fourth after a tough race. Manfredo Rossi Di Montelera, in fifth place, was disqualified for failing scrutineering.

Top 5: 1. Frédéric ROUVIER, 2. Patrick ANDRIESSEN, 3. Davide LEONE, 4. Frédéric LAJOUX, 5. Manfredo ROSSI DI MONTELERA

Race 2: Sunday, 9 April 2023

The drivers gathered once again on Sunday, where the results of the previous day determined the starting grid of Race 2. This meant that the first row was made up of Frédéric Rouvier and Patrick Andriessen, ahead of Davide Leone and Frédéric Lajoux. The start was exciting with contact between Fraser Gray and Xavier Michel, forcing them both to retire – Fraser on the first lap and Michel on the fifth. Davide Leone, who had a brilliant start, took the lead whilst Frédéric Rouvier and Patrick Andriessen battled it out for second place. The German Daniel Hornung was forced to retire on the second lap following a mechanical issue. Frédéric Rouvier went on the hunt for Davide Leone, leaving Patrick Andriessen to close the gap to the leading drivers, creating a trio that was more than 2 seconds ahead of Frédéric Lajoux in fourth place. The Dutchman snatched second place back from Frédéric Rouvier on lap 6 and held it until the north chicane of the following lap, where the Frenchman’s magnificent late braking manoeuvre put him back in second place. A collision between Laurent Vallery-Masson and Valerio Leone on the penultimate lap forced the Italian to retire. His son, Davide Leone, raced to victory, nearly 2 seconds ahead of Frédéric Rouvier, who himself was 3.3 seconds ahead of Patrick Andriessen. Frédéric Lajoux missed out on the podium by 7 seconds. Gislain Genecand took fifth in his first F3 race weekend.

Top 5: 1. Davide LEONE, 2. Frédéric ROUVIER, 3. Patrick ANDRIESSEN, 4. Frédéric LAJOUX, 5. Gislain GENECAND.

At the end of the two races, Frédéric Rouvier became the European Champion of the FIA Historic Formula 3 European Cup in Category 1 once the aggregate results were declared, only 1.1 seconds ahead of Italian Davide Leone, he proved to be the more consistent over the weekend. Patrick Andriessen completed the podium and took the Cup for Category 2.

Overall Top 5: 1. Frédéric ROUVIER, 2. Davide LEONE, 3. Patrick ANDRIESSEN, 4. Frédéric LAJOUX, 5. Gislain GENECAND.

Top 5 Category 1: 1. Frédéric ROUVIER, 2. Davide LEONE, 3. Christophe HODGEN, 4. Bruno FERRARI, 5. Marco COPPINI.

Top 5 Category 2: 1. Patrick ANDRIESSEN, 2. Frédéric LAJOUX, 3. Gislain GENECAND, 4. Laurent VALLERY-MASSON, 5. Jean-Pierre EYNARD-MACHET.


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