Esteban Masson scores double win to extend lead at Zandvoort

The Frenchman claimed two wins in the Netherlands and brought the curtain down in the first half of the season in dominant fashion. Inthraphuvasak achieved his first podium in the series on Sunday. Zanfari stepped onto the rookies’ rostrum

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Campos Racing wrapped up the first half of the 2023 Eurocup-3 season in style as Esteban Masson added two further race wins to his tally at Zandvoort, which hosted the fourth round counting towards the series. The Frenchman managed to win both in wet and dry conditions and proved to be the man to beat in the Netherlands. Besides, Masson further strengthens the lead in the series. Thai Tasanapol Inthraphuvasak completed a strong weekend with third and fourth place finishes in his Campos Racing-run Tatuus machinery. Italian Francesco Braschi scored more points for the championship with Moroccan Suleiman Zanfari claiming a second place among the rookies.

On Saturday morning, Masson and Inthraphuvasak led the way for Campos Racing in FP2, which was a morale booster for Q1 taking place in the afternoon. There, Masson stormed to pole position by beating Bruno del Pino with his best lap of 1m32.365s, two tenths quicker than anyone else. Braschi clocked a lap time of 1m33.262s to end 6th-fastest in the timesheets and Inthraphuvasak posted a time of 1m33.751s and set to start from ninth. Zanfari would line up 14th on the grid with his lap time of 1m34.416s.

But if Saturday took place in dry conditions, Sunday dawned in clouds and rain, which forced to start behind the safety car for Race 1. After three laps, the safety headed into the pit lane with track still remaining very tricky. Masson, among others, slightly ran wide at T1 and lost several places. Another driver in trouble was Braschi, as the Italian ran off the track and beached in the gravel trap, forcing him to retire. It brought the safety car out once again. Within six laps into the race, the green flag was back with Masson immediately gaining several places in the standings. The safety car was brought a third time but it didn’t prevent Masson from taking the lead with two laps to go. Masson moved past del Pino on the outside at T1 and took the checkered flag as race winner, three seconds ahead of del Pino. Besides, he also scored an extra point due to the fastest lap of the race. Inthraphuvasak’s late charge rewarded him with a third place. Zanfari similarly moved through the field to finish 5th overall and 2nd among the rookies.

Q2 took place at noon with Masson in pole position contention once again. The driver of Campos Racing put himself on the front row alongside Mari Boya with a lap time of 1m32.961s. Inthraphuvasak qualified in seventh place with a lap time of 1m33.868s and Braschi set a time of 1m34.255s to start from ninth. Zanfari posted a lap of 1m35.122s.

When the lights went out, Masson got a sensational getaway and immediately took the lead ahead of polesitter Boya. Inthraphuvasak gained two places in the opening stages and moved up to fifth. Masson put a very high race trim and gradually pulled away from Boya, who was always his closest threat. Despite Boya tried to counterattack by the hallway point, Masson found pace and stretched his lead up to four seconds. Nobody else could challenge him for the win and he scored his fourth win of the season. Inthraphuvasak finished in fourth place with Braschi taking the checkered flag in seventh place. Zanfari crossed the finish line in 11th, besides he was fourth among the rookies.

With four rounds to go, Masson sits on top of the standings on 151 points, 35 ahead of 2nd-classified Boya. Braschi is fourth in the standings on 89 points with Inthraphuvasak moving up to seventh with 56 points to his name. Zanfari is now second among the rookies with 138 points, a mere 8-point deficit to del Pino. Regarding the teams’ standings, Campos Racing is still leading the classification on 274 points, 19 ahead of MP Motorsport.

The Eurocup-3 now takes its summer break with round 5 taking place on 23-24 September at Circuito de Jerez.