25 entries arrived for this the Critérium du Nivernais, the fourth round of the French F3 Championship, most of the entrants were from the British or French Championships and the race was a support for the F2 European Championship. Leading the small March contingent was the Team Rose Bearings March 713S of James Hunt, also March-mounted were Tim Goss in his Sloan Marshall Garages 713M Holbay whilst in an older 703 powered by a Conrero tuned Alfa Romeo engine was American Cliff Haworth. Brabham-Holbay BT35s were in the hands of Brendan McInerney, Jean-Louis Lafosse and Bernard Lagier, the BT28 of David Purley was also Holbay motivated. The three works Alpine-Renault A360’s were driven by Jean-Pierre Jabouille, Patrick Depailler and rally driver
Jean-Claude Andruet. Christian Ethuin and Gérard Gourdon had their Tecno-Novamotors with Britain’s Chris Skeaping present in his Chavron-Rowland B17. The three Lotus 69s were driven by Andy Sutcliffe with Holbay power, whilst Manfred Möhr used a Novamotor, a late arrival during the Saturday practice was the Eifelland entered 69 for Sigi Hofmann. The remainder of the entry consisted of several Martini MW7s for drivers Jacques Coulon (Renault), Patrice Compain (Renault), François Lacarrau (Rowland), François Migault (Novamotor), Lucien Guitteny, Guy Dhotel, José Dolhem (BRM), Joel Auvray and François Rabbionne (Novamotor).
Practice on Friday was ruined by heavy rain with Depailler fastest from Ethuin, Jabouille and Hunt. Conditions were a little drier on Saturday when José Dolhem topped the times from Depailler and Sutcliffe. Migault crashed his Martini badly damaging the suspension, he was unhurt and the car was repaired in time for the race. Compain, Auvray, Gourdon and Hofmann did not practice for one reason or another whilst Andruet, Dhotel and Haworth did not qualify.
Dolhem led away from pole with Ethuin and Depailler close behind, however at the hairpin outside the Hotel du Parc somebody went sideways and all hell broke loose with cars spinning everywhere. Worst effected by the accident were Jabouille and Hunt both of whom suffered damaged suspension and had to retire, Andy Sutcliife was also badly delayed in the melee. Dolhem continued to lead from Depailler, Ethuin, Migault and Lacarrau but by lap 3 Ethuin was out and Lacarrau had moved up to fourth. Depailler was clearly the fastest car on the track and he swept into the lead on lap 4 ahead of Dolhem and Migault, next up was Lacarrau, Rabbionne, Lafosse, Lagier, Skeaping and Goss. David Purley was next to retire on lap 5 when after a few hairy moments he crashed out going down to the Virage du Buisson. Depailler continued to pull away whilst Dolhem and Migault kept up their battle for second place. Skeaping was next to go when he made solid contact with a tree in Parc Beaumont and Lagier’s Brabham came round with its nosecone pointing up in the air. Dolhem had been doing most of the leading in the second place battle but Migault got past for a few laps but on lap 16 Dolhem regained his position only to loose it again a few laps later. Tim Goss had to call into the pits with a blown head gasket and McInerney was suffering from failing fuel pressure. Depailler reeled of the remaining laps to win by nearly 10 seconds from Migault who had pulled out a small lead on Dolhem, best British driver was Sutcliife who managed to battle his way back to seventh after his early delay.