Ho Secures Two Wins in the Algarve. Kluss and Lisle Also Achieve Podiums for Campos Racing

Ho achieved his first two victories of the current season at the Autódromo Internacional do Algarve, earning a significant haul of points. The Singaporean and the German Kluss, who climbed the podium twice, were the dominant figures among the rookies. The Australian Lisle secured his first podium in a weekend where Shin also scored points

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It was a superb racing weekend for Campos Racing at the Autódromo Internacional do Algarve, the venue for the third round of the 2024 Eurocup-3 season. Without a doubt, the main protagonists of the meeting were the Singaporean Christian Ho and the German Valentin Kluss. Despite a hand injury, Ho topped the podium in two of the three weekend races, presenting his candidacy for the title. Kluss, meanwhile, was on the podium twice, extending his lead in the rookie classification. Also noteworthy was the impressive performance by the Australian Noah Lisle, who confirmed his progress in Portugal by securing his first podium, and the South Korean Michael Shin and the Moroccan Suleiman Zanfari, although Zanfari couldn't convert his performance into points due to two penalties. Collectively, they ensured that the team from Alzira was the dominant force of the weekend.

Ho's excellent rapport with the Portuguese Algarve began from the first free practice sessions, where he finished second with a time of 1m39.389s, ahead of Kluss, who was third with a best lap of 1m39.567s. In that initial session on the Portuguese asphalt, Lisle and Zanfari also placed in the top ten, being eighth and tenth respectively. Shin, on the other hand, was twelfth. In the second session, Ho again was the best of the Campos Racing drivers, once more finishing second with a lap of 1m39.175s. Similarly, Kluss secured the third spot with a time of 1m39.568s. Further back, Shin was ninth, closing the top ten with Zanfari. The Australian Lisle was 13th.

Early in the afternoon, Q1 took place, where Ho made a decisive step forward to secure pole position and the two points that come with it. The Campos Racing driver completed a phenomenal lap of 1m39.049s, leaving his rivals over two-tenths behind. Kluss secured the second row on the grid with a lap of 1m39.384s, giving him fourth place for the first race. Shin and Lisle shared the sixth row with their respective laps of 1m39.819s and 1m39.940s. Zanfari, meanwhile, stopped the clock at 1m40.014s, placing him 14th on the grid.

Late on Saturday, the first race of the weekend was held. When the lights went out, Ho perfectly maintained his privileged position ahead of Bruno del Pino. However, in the always chaotic first lap with 26 cars on the track, Kluss dropped to seventh. Lisle and Zanfari, meanwhile, had already moved into the top ten just as the safety car came out for the first time. On the fifth lap, the race restarted, and Ho immediately began to widen the gap with del Pino, setting the fastest lap. After eleven laps, Ho had del Pino over two seconds behind and the third-place driver nearly five seconds back. Further back, Lisle was sixth, running ahead of his teammates Zanfari and Kluss. Unfortunately, by then, the South Korean Shin had already moved ahead, and shortly before the end, Zanfari also did so, prompting the safety car's return. With no time for more, the race ended with Ho as the winner after 17 laps. Kluss ultimately finished sixth, while Lisle took eighth. Notably, Ho and Kluss also secured the top two spots on the rookie podium.

Sunday began with the second qualifying session, where the Campos Racing drivers once again emerged as the main favourites. This time, it was the German Kluss who claimed the two points for pole position with a time of 1m38.977s, narrowly beating his teammate Ho, who was second with a lap of 1m39.036s. Lisle secured fourth place on the grid with a time of 1m39.385s, while the fourth row was entirely Campos Racing's, with Shin and Zanfari in seventh and eighth.

The second race only confirmed the excellent impressions from Q2. When the lights went out, Ho catapulted into the lead ahead of Kluss, who battled with Owen Tangavelou. After the first lap, with Ho in the lead, Kluss was third, ahead of Lisle and Shin. In a race filled with incidents, the safety car appeared early, with the race restarting on the fifth lap. The safety car returned shortly after, but on the second restart, Kluss drafted Tangavelou to overtake and move into second behind Ho. Following a third safety car period, Lisle and Shin overtook Tangavelou, with the four Campos Racing cars running in formation in the top four positions until the chequered flag. Zanfari, who had climbed to sixth, fell back due to a five-second track limits penalty.

In the third and final race of the weekend, Ho started from pole position, but in a thrilling first lap, he dropped to third, just ahead of Kluss. The race didn't favour Campos Racing as much. In the sixth lap, Lisle retired, and Ho, who had climbed to second behind del Pino, was also forced to retire four laps from the end. Thus, the best Campos Racing representative was Kluss, finishing third. Shin completed another noteworthy performance, finishing fifth, while Zanfari was fifteenth.

After this third round, Ho moves up to fourth in the championship with 66 points, just twelve points behind the two leading drivers. Meanwhile, Kluss is sixth with 58 points, with Lisle and Shin also in the top ten, in eighth and ninth place with 29 and 28 points, respectively. Among the rookies, Kluss remains the leader with 110 points, with Ho now second with 80. In the teams' standings, Campos Racing remains in second place with 148 points, closing much of the gap to the leader.

The fourth round of the championship will take place at Circuit Paul Ricard on July 5-7.

Photos: Fotocar13