Campos Racing secures valuable points in FIA Formula 3 season opener

Vidales finished in the points-scoring positions twice in Sakhir at the wheel of his Campos Racing-run Dallara. Martí and Yeany also made promising start after putting in solid recovery drivers over the weekend

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Campos Racing made a strong start to the 2022 FIA Formula 3 Championship season at Bahrain International Circuit. The extremely young trio, with an average age of only 17 years, defending the Campos Racing-colors proved excellent pace and the quest for points was successful in Sakhir. Spaniard David Vidales secured a double points-haul on his debut in the series. His fellow countryman Pepe Martí might have also finished in the top-12 but handed a late five-second penalty on Sunday and it dashed his chances. American Hunter Yeany also made another promising start to the season with two strong performances in both races.

Friday’s free practice session saw Campos Racing and its drivers completing almost 40 laps and Vidales set the fastest lap time for the Spanish-based racing team. Vidales clocked a lap time of 1m48.802s, slightly quicker than Martí’s lap of 1m49.205s. Yeany posted a time of 1m49.557s. Later in qualifying, it was an extremely close fight session as expected with no less than twenty drivers separated by less than one second! Vidales’s last minute effort was good enough to make it into the top-ten with a lap of 1m46.707s. Martí clocked a lap time of 1m47.303s to line up 20th on the grid and American Yeany, struggling to find a clean lap, set a best time of 1m47.695s six places further adrift.

With Sprint race starting grid determined by reversing the top 12 finishers of the single qualifying session, Vidales started from third. When the lights went out, Vidales made a good start and fended his rivals off and ran in third place in the first laps behind Olli Bearman and Zak O’Sullivan. Soon, Vidales got under pressure from Isack Hadjar and Zane Maloney with the three drivers overtaking each other several times. There were very lively fights for points but it slightly dashed Vidales’s race trim who still had the pace to hold on the points-scoring positions and took the checkered flag in tenth.  Yeany ended up in 21st and Martí failed to finish as the youngest driver in the field was forced to retire while running in 16th.

On Sunday, the 23-lap feature race brought still more excitement. Vidales made another excellent getaway and avoided any clash in an incident-marred opening lap. The Spaniard was lapping in seventh place behind Hadjar and ahead of Arthur Leclerc. Further adrift, both Martí and Yeany managed to move through the field. After three laps in which the safety car was deployed to clear the track, the feature race was back in green flag conditions. Vidales got past Hadjar at the restart and gained another place when Roman Stanek suffered a puncture. After a second safety car period, Vidales got caught in almighty battles against Leclerc, Hadjar and Gregoire Saucy. Despite Vidales lost some places, Vidales still secured another strong 8th-place finish at the end of the race. Martí delivered a fantastic performance and, after passing no less than six cars, moved into the top-12 on lap 14 after overtaking O’Sullivan. The Spaniard moved also past Rafael Villagomez shortly after and crossed the finish line in 11th place. Unfortunately, he handed a 5-second penalty for exceeding track limits and dropped to 13th, just ahead of Yeany. Yeany’s performance was also very remarkable finishing as one of the fastest drivers on track.

The FIA Formula 3 Championship will now take a four-week hiatus before Round 2, which is going to take place at famous Imola circuit on 23-24 April. Before that, the Formula 3-based racing series will carry out two collective test in Jerez and Barcelona in the first weeks of April.