Campos Racing score triple points in Spielberg

Martí, Mansell and Barter made it into the points-paying positions at Red Bull Ring. Martí remained in contention for the podium on Saturday with both Australian youngsters adding more points to the tally of the Alzira-based racing team

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Campos Racing completed a strong fifth round of the 2023 FIA Formula 3 Championship season at Red Bull Ring, which took place in the frame of the Austrian F1 Grand Prix. All the three drivers in Campos Racing-colors scored points at the same weekend for the very first time this season. Pepe Martí continues the title fight after the Austrian venue and the Spanish racer proved his speed once again. Christian Mansell secured his season’s best result so far with a seventh place on Sunday’s feature race, with his fellow countryman Hugh Barter also scoring his first points in the Formula 3-based racing series with a rewarding eighth place.

On Friday, the single free practice session already predicted a very close fight for the top honors with 18 cars out of 30 within the same second. Spaniard Martí posted a lap of 1m20.071s to make into the top-12. Australian Mansell clocked a best lap of 1m20.226s with his fellow countryman setting a personal best of 1m20.634s. Qualifying turned to be a nightmare due to almost all the drivers in the field getting cancelled lap times due to track limits. At the end, Mansell secured his best qualifying result in the category by taking 10th spot on the grid for Sunday’s feature race with a lap time of 1m20.744s. Martí clocked a time of 1m20.819s to take 12th and, more importantly, the Spaniard grabbed the pole position on the reverse grid for Saturday’s sprint race. Barter’s best lap time left him in 19th his 1m21.142s.

Saturday was set to be another challenging day with Race 1 starting in wet conditions. This said, asphalt grip improved with the course of the 20-lap length as rain soon stopped and all the drivers made to the finish in wet tires. When the lights went out, Martí made a sensational start and rapidly pulled away. Mansell also got a good getaway but he dropped a couple of places in the first lap. After five laps, Martí had built a 5-second lead on Paul Aron. By then, Barter spun out at the final corner. Despite he fell down the order, the Australian could rejoin at the back of the field. By the halfway point, Martí still led the way for Campos Racing. Unfortunately, the safety car was deployed in 13 and it ruined his lead. Besides, he couldn’t keep the pace as track got dryer. At the restart, Martí kept his rivals at bay with a brilliant defensive driving. Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough and the Spaniard dropped to sixth in the final two laps. He still secured five valuable points for the championship. Mansell and Barter crossed the finish line in 14th and 23rd place respectively.

On Sunday, all was about surviving at the start of the 26-lap race 2. Martí, Mansell and Barter avoided any contact and they all gained some places in the first lap. The safety car came out in lap 2 as Gabriele Mini ran wide and beached in the gravel. At the restart, the Campos Racing-run cars gained more places as Grégoire Saucy and Aron made contact and both were forced to make a pit stop. Up the front, the battle was pretty close and, in the closing laps of the race, Martí was running in seventh place and was the fastest man on the track. Unfortunately, Martí ran wide in the penultimate lap and lost four places. Mansell and Barter enjoyed a problem-free last lap and took the checkered flag in seventh and eighth place respectively.

After Austria, Martí sits fourth in the standings on 73 points in the drivers’ standings. Similarly, Campos Racing is also fourth in the teams’ standings on 88 points.

Th FIA Formula 3 is back in action next weekend with Round 6 at Silverstone.