Esteban Masson wins in Valencia to hold series lead

The Frenchman emerged as winner on Saturday and remains on top of the standings with fifth place on Sunday. Inthraphuvasak claimed triumph among the rookies with Zanfari also putting himself on the rostrum

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Campos Racing contested the penultimate round of the 2023 Eurocup-3 Championship season, which took place at Circuit Ricardo Tormo and it was the home round for the Valencia-based racing team. Esteban Masson achieved his sixth win of the season and holds the first place in the standings ahead of the season finale thanks to another fifth place in race 2. Tasanapol Inthraphuvasak and Suleiman Zanfari also delivered strong performances with the Thai driver finishing first and second in the rookies’ classification. Zanfari finished third among the rookies. Italian Francesco Braschi took the checkered flag in seventh place in race 2.

During the official testing, Masson led the way for Campos Racing with a lap time of 1m28.450s, a mere 10 thousandths of a second quicker than teammate Inthraphuvasak, who was the first rookie driver classified. Braschi rounded out the top-3 with another Campos Racing-run Tatuus car. Undoubtedly, an excellent start to the penultimate round of the season.

On Saturday morning, two free practice sessions took place ahead of Q1, scheduled in the afternoon. In a close battle for pole position, Frenchman Masson stormed to pole position with a lap time of 1m28.694s beating José Antonio Garfías by 5 thousandths of a second. Inthraphuvasak qualified in sixth place with a lap time of 1m29.009s with the two other Campos Racing drivers also making it in the top-ten: Zanfari clocked a lap time of 1m29.291s to line up 8th on the grid ahead of Braschi, who was ninth with a lap time of 1m29.356s.

Race 1, consisting of 30 minutes plus a lap, started with a five-minute delayed due to some drops of rain before start. When the lights went out, Masson fended off Garfías at the start and completed the opening lap leading the field. Inthraphuvasak moved up two places in first lap and ran in fourth, besides he led the rookie class. Following a safety car period, the race was back in green flag in lap 3. Masson built a small gap on Garfías and, despite it was never bigger than 3 seconds, the Frenchman in Campos Racing colors always had the upper hand in the race. After 22 laps, Massan cruised to his sixth win of the season. Inthraphuvasak put 3rd-classified Mari Boya under pressure in the closing stages of the race finally taking fourth place. Besides, the Thai driver scored a win among the rookies. Zanfari crossed the finish line in seventh place to step up 3rd onto the rookies’ podium. Italian Braschi, following a difficult race, ended up in 12th place.

On Sunday, with lower temperatures, Campos Racing drivers struggled to put a lap together in Q2, which was scheduled early in the morning. Masson qualified in sixth place with a lap time of 1m28.230s ahead of Braschi, who was seventh with a time of 1m28.246s. Further adrift, Zanfari clocked a lap time of 1m28.470s and Inthraphuvasak stopped the clock on 1m28.521s.

In the afternoon, both Masson and Braschi moved past Darío Cabanelas when the lights went out. Inthraphuvasak completed a sensational opening lap as he gained four places and moved up to seventh. Inthraphuvasak’s recovery driver allowed him to overtake teammate Braschi for 6th in lap 6. Up the front, Masson put Bruno del Pino under pressure but overtaking is extremely difficult in Cheste and Masson opted to bring valuable points home with fifth place at the end of 21 laps. Inthraphuvasak finished in sixth place and second among the rookies. Braschi took the checkered flag in seventh place. Unfortunately, Zanfari was out of the race at T1 after making contact with a rival.

With just one round to go, Masson sits first in the standings on 217 points. Braschi is currently fifth in the drivers’ standings. Zanfari is second in the rookies’ classification, exactly the same position hold by Campos Racing in the teams’ standings.

The season finale will take place at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya on 11-12 November.