The 32-year-old suspect mowed down two victims who have been rushed to hospital following the shock incident at 1am in Nimes, southern France, where bystanders had gathered in preparation for the region’s annual grape harvesting festival.
The man was reported to have sped the car towards a crowd of 50 people outside the L’Instant T bar.
Witnesses said the man had tried to flee the scene but had been stopped by bystanders before being arrested by police at 1.30am.
The victims had been standing behind barriers when the car hit them.
They were rushed to a nearby hospital in a stable condition having suffered injuries to their lower limbs.
A source told French publication Midi Libre the man was not known to police for suspected radicalisation.
The region’s public prosecutor Eric Maurel said the suspect was in a state of mental confusion” during his arrest, which followed him being roughed up by the crowd of witnesses who tried to restrain him.
A police spokeswoman said she had no information about the man’s motives but noted that the investigation is being handled by regular police, not anti-terror investigators who step in when terrorism is suspected.
France has been on high alert following a string of terror attacks in recent years.
More than 130 people were killed in the 2015 terror attack that saw jihadists target the Bataclan Theatre in Paris where American rock band Eagles of Death Metal were playing.
That same year saw 12 people killed in the Charlie Hebdo attack, also in Paris, after Al-Qaeda extremists targeted the satirical magazine.
The following year in 2016, a 19-tonne truck was driven into a crowd in Nice during Bastille Day killing 87 people.