ART Grand Prix’s Théo Pourchaire says his Feature Race win and early lead of the Championship standings has given the whole team a boost ahead of the second round of the season at Jeddah.

Suffering the disappointment of a retirement in the Sprint Race due to technical issues, Pourchaire and his team rallied ahead of the Feature Race, which the Frenchman went on to win from second on the grid.

“The atmosphere is good for sure, they were really, really happy,” said Pourchaire. “The first round is always important. There is a lot of pressure going into a new season, so to start like that and to lead the championship… It is only the first race, but it is important. For the engineers, the mechanics, everyone.

“P2 in Quali behind Jack Doohan was a good result. Doohan is a rookie, but he did a really good job to take pole, and Virtuosi were very strong in Bahrain, so to beat them in the Feature Race and take the 25 points was a big challenge.

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Pourchaire won the first Feature Race of the season
Pourchaire won the first Feature Race of the season

“Before the Feature Race, the mechanics had to work almost all night to sort the new engine after the issues I suffered in the first race. Everyone was so tired, so it was good to reward the team with a win. We are all really motivated and happy.”

Pourchaire will be returning to the Jeddah Corniche Circuit for the first time since his collision with Enzo Fittipaldi at the venue last season. Four months on, the 18-year-old is focused on creating positive memories at the track.

“We all know what happened last time for me in Jeddah. It is what it is, and the past is the past. We cannot change the past, but I can affect the future. I will be focusing on my race.

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Pourchaire leads the Drivers Championship ahead of Round 2
Pourchaire leads the Drivers' Championship ahead of Round 2

“I like the track and ART are fast there, which gives me confidence. Jeddah is a very special track. it is the fastest street circuit in the world, and it is very complicated. I want to take pole, that is my main goal on Friday, and we will then see what happens in the races.

“We are fast, and I am pretty sure that we can do a very good result. I will try and take as many points as possible and try not to be too aggressive. Hopefully, we can come away from Jeddah still leading the championship.”