Joel finished the final race of the weekend – the official 2017 Grand Prix de Pau – in fifth place, reclaiming the FIA F3 European Championship lead in the process after rival Lando Norris crashed out.
Joel started the race from fourth on the grid, but dropped behind Harrison Newey and Ralf Aron in the opening stages to run sixth halfway through.
Meanwhile, Norris had grabbed the early lead from pole, but drama struck on lap 19 when the Briton crashed out at the notorious Foch chicane.
Joel thus inherited fifth and took the chequered flag in the same position as the lead Volkswagen-engined runner, while Maximilian Günther picked up the pieces after Norris’ demise to win for the second time this weekend.
The outcome sets up an ultra-dramatic situation at the top of the standings, with Joel and Norris now tied on points with 139 each. Joel, however, technically leads the championship thanks to three wins over Norris’ two so far in 2017. Meanwhile, Günther is now just two points adrift on 137.
“I didn’t do a very good start this time and lost a place to Newey into Turn 1. I was so much faster than him after that and was looking for a way past, but then we got bunched up at the hairpin and Aron managed to get ahead as well. Not my best race.
“As for the championship, I was quite fortunate that Lando crashed out. I did the same in Race 2 and I even think we both did it for exactly the same reason (broken suspension), so in a way it evened out now.”
RESULTS – Race 3