Despite being held in France this was a round of the UK Shell Formula 3 Championship and a good number of British based runners travelled across the Channel to join the top French F3 drivers. There were two hour-long practice sessions for the two heats and a final format, since the circuit could start 30 runners per race everyone qualified for the 10 lap preliminary races. The grids for the heats were decided on alternate times from qualifying.
Practice was dominated by the Alpine Renaults with Michel Leclere taking pole in the works car and the Shell sponsored car of privateer Lucien Guitteny second fastest, the second works car of Alain Serpaggi took sixth place. Of the other cars, the works Loti of Trimmer and Vermilio were only ninth and fifteenth with neither driver happy about how their 73s were going, the two Ensign-Vegantunes of Mike Walker and Colin Vandervell were in engine problems both requiring engine changes due to blow-ups after the first session. Jean-Pierre Jarier used a Vegantune to set his grid time with his March 713M but swopped
over to a Novamotor for the race. Newcomers were François Guerre-Berthelot in the new monocoque AGS and F. Renault racer Patrick Duchamp who had hired the spare GRD 372 of Andy Sutcliffe.
Williamson made the best start to lead heat one from Leclere and Andersson while Colin Vandervell made a complete hash of things when he selected third gear instead of first and stalled and his Ensign got away well behind the others. At the end of the first lap Leclere put his Alpine into the lead followed by a gaggle of cars consisting of Williamson, Lacarrau, Trimmer, Walker, Rousselot, and Vermilio. It was clear that Williamson was holding up the other cars and there was obviously something amiss with his GRD, his front right-hand tyre was loosing air and gradually the other drivers got past the ailing car. Lacarrau was first past and he set off after Leclere but the Alpine was well clear and Leclere took an easy 20 second victory. Walker passed Williamson with three laps to go and chased after Lacarrau, despite having no clutch since lap 1 the Ensign almost caught the second-placed Martini on the line. As Williamson fell further back Rousselot took an easy fourth after Andersson and Hull spun out and Trimmer moved up to fifth just ahead of Bob Evans. Barrie Maskell was fortunate to escape without injury when his Lotus 69 ended up badly damaged in the catchfencing after a mistake by Richard Knight in his Martini.
Heat two was fairly straightforward, Coulon led away from the start but his metering unit failed after one lap and Serpaggi took off to secure another easy Alpine win. Ethuin and Guitteny had a good battle for second with Guitteny getting the runner-up spot, Beguin held fourth for a time but was passed by the battling trio of Jarier, Kuwashima and von Opel. Jarier took fourth after the spectacular Kuwashima spun out with two laps to go and von Opel slowed a lap early thinking the race was over and was overhauled by Beguin and Nordström.
The first ten finishers from each heat plus the next five quickest on lap times from each heat made the final which allowed Williamson in at the back of the grid, Walker was also worried as to whether he could get his Ensign away as his clutch problems were too serious to be fixed between races. As the lights changed Leclere got away first with Jarier right on his tail, Walker was right to be worried, his Ensign stalled on the line and was collected by the Brabham of Peter Hull, both cars were out with suspension damage. At the end of the first lap it was still Leclere with Jarier locking brakes in second, next up were Serpaggi, Guitteny, Lacarrau, Beguin and Williamson. The GRD man had had a phenomenal first lap passing no less than 16 cars, he wasn’t finished yet and by lap 5 he was up to second and closing on Leclere. Three laps later and Williamson was in the lead and pulling away easily from the Alpine-Renault on his way to an apparently easy victory, Serpaggi had moved up to third with Jarier now down to fourth. With two laps to go Guitteny and Lacarrau got ahead of Jarier and then a fast closing Andersson managed to spin on the final lap taking Jarier with him, this left Beguin in sixth ahead of Vermilio who had gone well in a difficult car.
After the race the first four cars plus Trimmer’s Lotus had their airboxes checked and unfortunately Williamson’s narrowly failed to hold a sufficient vacuum and although it was arguable that he gained any performance advantage he was correctly excluded from the results.