Pierre Gasly will race in front of a home crowd this weekend when Formula Renault 3.5 makes its way to Paul Ricard for the penultimate round of the championship.

The young Frenchman, currently third in the drivers' standings, is hoping that the advantage of French support will push him to a race win as the title fight begins its final stretch.

"For sure the aim this weekend is to win," he admits. "That is the aim every weekend but even more so here after being close, being on the podium a good number of times this season but just missing out on the win."

The 18-year-old won at this very circuit last year during a triumphant Formula Renault 2.0 Eurocup campaign. He will take on the iconic Paul Ricard track for the first time in an FR3.5 challenger. He is yet to win since making the step up but has secured six podiums this year.

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"It is a great track, a track where you have to be fast on every type of corner and where the driver can make a big difference," he explains. "We came testing here back in February so we have that to help us going into the weekend but of course I have a lot more experience than I did then when I was just starting out in the 3.5."

"I am very happy to be back here at my home circuit," Gasly concluded. "I've been waiting for this weekend for a long time. It is great to have more people here supporting us and of course to celebrate any success."

The Frenchman was sixth fastest for Arden Motorsport in a first practice session topped by the Lotus duo of Marlon Stockinger and Matthieu Vaxiviere.