Christian Mansell scores points in both races at Monza

The Australian driver finished seventh and eighth in his Campos Racing-run Dallara F3 car. Martí experienced a troubled weekend as the Spaniard was taken out while fighting for the Vice-Championship. Dufek completes positive debut in the series

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The 2023 FIA Formula 3 Championship season brought the curtain down at the Autodromo Nazionale di Monza, which hosted the season finale of the F3-based racing series. Campos Racing fought back after a problematic qualifying session and made their way back into the points thanks to Christian Mansell as the Australian crossed the finish line in seventh and eighth place on Italian soil. Pepe Martí, who was in contention for the Vice-Championship, had a very unlucky weekend as two rivals put him out of the race both days. Swiss newcomer Josh Dufek made a promising start finishing in the top-15.

The ultra-fast Monza circuit proved to be a hard task on Friday morning, with all the Campos Racing drivers experiencing problems to put a clean lap together. Mansell set a lap of 1m40.437s and was the fastest man of Campos Racing with Dufek clocking a time of 1m40.661s in his first outing with the Dallara F3 machinery. Martí completed a best lap of 1m40.832s. Later in qualifying, the session saw no less than three red flags and the drivers in Campos Racing colors couldn’t further improve their fastest laps. As a result, Martí’s best time of 1m40.114s left him 13th on the starting grid and he would start alongside Mansell, whose best time was a lap of 1m40.176s. Dufek set a lap of 1m41.419s to start from row 10.

Saturday’s sprint race, with a length of 18 laps, had an unlucky start for Martí. The Spaniard had made a good race start but he was collected by Paul Aron at T1, who previously had punctured after contact with Caio Collet. At the end of the first lap, the safety car was deployed and Mansell had moved up to ninth. After four laps, the safety car headed into the pit lane and Mansell gained other two places at the restart. After a closely-fought race, Mansell took the checkered flag in seventh place, adding more points to his tally. Dufek made it to the finish in 14th place after completing several overtaking maneuvers during the race.

On Sunday, with another sunny morning perfect for racing, both Martí and Mansell moved up into the top-12 after the first lap, when the safety car was deployed for the very first time as a result of Franco Colapinto stopping on the track. The green flags waved two laps later and the drivers of Campos Racing pushed to move through the field but the safety car was deployed two other times before the halfway point. Unfortunately, at the third restart, Martí was hit by another rival and pushed off the track. A very unfair to the season for the new Red Bull protegee. The safety car remained on track for several laps to clear the track and the race resumed with just one lap to go. Australian Mansell fended his rivals off to take an 8th-place finish at the checkered flag. Dufek finished in 15th after another remarkable performance.

After nine rounds, Barcelona-native Martí has finished 5th overall in the standings on 105 points with three wins and four podiums to his name. Series newcomer Mansell ranked 12th overall on 60 points and two podiums in his tally. Campos Racing has secured a fourth-place finish in the teams’ standings on 179 points.

The 2023 season is over but preparation for the 2024 campaign is about to start with three collective testing scheduled in Jerez (5-6 October), Barcelona (10-11 October) and Imola (23-24 October).