Pau (France): Young Indian racer Jehan Daruvala began his 2018 campaign in the FIA Formula 3 European Championship with a podium finish in Race 3 of the season opener on Monday.
Jehan had created history last year when he became the first Indian to win a race in the FIA F3 European Championship at Nuremburg 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 third, when the race was stopped 13 minutes before schedule due to the un-driveable wet conditions, sealing Jehan's podium.
Earlier in the weekend, Jehan started Race 1 poorly, losing a couple of places before climbing upto 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.
"I made a mistake in the first qualifying which cost me 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," Jehan said.
Round 2 of the championship will be held at the Hungaroring F1 circuit in Hungary in early June.