Callum Ilott double ‘Pau-dium’ on the streets in France

Tough street circuit catches out championship contenders Joel Eriksson, Lando Norris and Callum Ilott.

Callum Ilott made sure his championship challenge stayed on track with a pair of clear podium finishes at the challenging and twisty street circuit in Pau, France. Once again the 18-year-old had to put a difficult start to the weekend behind him to finish second in the headline Grand Prix de Pau together with a third in the Sunday morning event. The results helped Ilott’s Prema Powerteam to stretch its advantage in the Teams’ championship to 76 points.

After dominating free practice and qualifying on pole for Race One, Ilott was looking for his first ever victory around the tight confines of Pau. A brilliant start saw Ilott seize the lead but an off at the notorious Foch Chicane saw him glance the barrier and immediately retire from the race. “It was gutting,” said Ilott. “I was disappointed with myself for the mistake, but with two more races to come, I knew I had to quickly put it behind me and focus on the remaining races.”

Ilott did just that in Races Two and Three. Race Two, held on Sunday morning was a more straightforward affair than Saturday’s first encounter. Starting third and bottled up at the start with no way past the front row, Ilott held that position throughout the race, managing the gap to championship rival Joel Eriksson, who ultimately succumbed to Pau’s barriers, leaving Ilott over six seconds clear of fourth place Harrison Newey.

Callum Ilott in action on the street circuit in Pau, France

The final race of the weekend on Sunday afternoon, the Grand Prix de Pau, was held under sunny skies and in warmer temperatures. Ilott again started well from third but had no way past and slotted in behind Lando Norris and team mate Maxi Gunther. After eight laps, Norris crashed out from the lead to leave Prema with a strong 1-2. As the 33 minutes plus one lap counted down and the race entered its mid-phase, Ilott experienced some pressure from Ralf Aron but this was short-lived as Ilott fought back to maintain the gap, ensuring his second place was secure.

Callum Ilott is pleased with his performance in Pau.

“Despite the disappointment of Race One, I’m pleased that we could turn it around and come away with a pair of podiums,” says Ilott. “As we saw throughout the weekend Pau is unforgiving so second and third places is 33 points for me and also a good haul for Prema in the Teams’ Championship. This championship is very competitive with four of us right in the mix.”

The championship now moves to Hungary on 17th/18th June.

About Ilott:

Callum Ilott is one of Britain’s upcoming young driving talents. At 12, he secured his first British national karting championship and just one year later dominated the international under 15s KFJ category with multiple championship wins and was nominated as the youngest ever WSK Driver of the Year in 2012.

Aged 15, he won the CIK-FIA European Karting Championship, the WSK Super Master Series and finished fourth in the CIK-FIA World Championship. Aged 16, Callum was Red Bull’s first ever driver to progress from karts to F3 to race in the FIA F3 European Championship securing a podium at the Nürburgring.

Last year, Callum won his first races in cars and finished sixth in the standings with VAR. In 2017, the BRDC SuperStar will be driving for championship-winning team PREMA Powerteam.

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