Francesco Braschi secures 1st and 2nd place at Spa-Francorchamps to take early lead in Eurocup-3

The Italian driver won the first race on Friday and finished second on Saturday. Zanfari stepped 3rd onto the rostrum and both Inthraphuvasak and Masson finished in the top-6 at the curtain-raiser event of the new Eurocup-3 series

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Campos Racing completed a strong first round of Eurocup-3 at Spa-Francorchamps as the Spanish based racing team scored its maiden win in the series and achieved two other podium finishes. Italian Francesco Braschi was the man of the weekend as he was untouchable in the wet race 1 and brought a second-place home on Saturday in dry conditions. Suleiman Zanfari also claimed his maiden podium in the series on Friday. Meanwhile, Tasanapol Inthraphuvasak and Esteban Masson ran in strong pace and considering that Lady Luck didn’t help them, particularly in race 1 when they started up the front.  

After two private test sessions held on Thursday, two free practice sessions took place later on the same day. They allowed all the drivers to gain more mileage and confidence with the upgraded Tatuus F.3 T-318 machinery. In FP2, Frenchman Masson topped the timesheets for Campos Racing thanks to his time of 2m17.289s.  

Both qualifying sessions were scheduled on Friday, when Spa-Francorchamps took its usual toll. If drivers tested in dry conditions on Thursday, Friday was a rain-marred day. In Q1, track was wet at the beginning but conditions massively improved over the course of the session. With a last-second flying lap, Masson moved up to second with a time of 2m17.501s. Thai Intraphuvasak posted the fourth-fastest lap time with his personal best of 2m17.797s. Braschi put himself in the top-ten as well, qualifying in 8th place with a lap time of 2m18.575s. Morocco’s Zanfari couldn’t make further improvements at the end and set to start from 11th on the grid. More rain came for Q2, which worsened the times in comparison with Q1. At the end of the 15-minute qualifying session, Braschi put together a lap of 2m28.737s to secure 5th spot on the starting grid for Race 2. Masson completed the top-ten with a lap time of 2m31.015s. Inthraphuvasak qualified in 11th place and Zanfari took 15th on the starting grid.  

In the afternoon, Race 1 started behind the safety car due to extremely wet track conditions. When the safety car headed into the pitlane, the first-ever race of Eurocup-3 got underway. After the first lap, Masson was running in second place and Inthraphuvasak had moved up to third after overtaking Bruno del Pino. But the man of the race was Braschi. From the middle of the starting grid, the Italian driver was unstoppable lapping several seconds a lap quicker than anyone else. In fact, after two laps he took the lead and started to build a solid gap. After five laps, Braschi’s lead was over twenty seconds. Unfortunately, the safety car was deployed once again and it ruined his gap. But the driver of Campos Racing didn’t get nervous and mastered not one but two safety cars. After 11 laps, Braschi took the checkered flag as first winner of Eurocup-3. Not by surprise, he also scored the fastest lap of the race. Zanfari also fought back and moved up to third after a faultless driving. Masson, who fought with poleman Mari Boya for most of the race, finally took 6th place. Inthraphuvasak rounded out the top-ten.  

Saturday’s race 2 was started in dry conditions instead. Braschi’s getaway was pretty good and gained two places in the first lap. Behind, Masson and Inthraphuvasak moved through the field and got in tight battles, particularly del Pino firstly and José Antonio Garfias later. The Thai driver overtook Garfias at Blanchimont on the outside. In the final stages of the race, Braschi got in Javier Sagrera’s slipstream and moved past the Spaniard for 2nd with two laps to go. Braschi crossed the finish line in second place. Inthraphuvasak finished fifth and Masson took the checkered flag in seventh. Zanfari ended up in 11th

After the first round, Braschi sits first in the drivers’ standings on 45 points. Zanfari is currently fourth on 15 points with Masson and Inthraphuvasak provisionally 8th and 9th.  

The second round of the serie will take place at Motorland Aragon on 27-28 May.