Pepe Martí scores second win of the FIA F3 season in Monaco

The Spaniard secured lights-to-flag win in the streets of Monte Carlo with an outstanding performance. Martí added more points to his tally on Sunday by finishing in ninth place. Mansell and Barter endure tough weekend

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Campos Racing delivered another brilliant performance in the FIA Formula 3 Championship, whose third round of the 2023 season took place in the frame of the Monaco Grand Prix. Pepe Martí grabbed a second race win in the series after dominating Saturday’s sprint race. Christian Mansell and Hugh Barter couldn’t put themselves in the points-paying positions starting in the middle of the pack. Mansell put in good recovery drives and Barter got caught in a couple of incidents that dashed his chances in both races.

On Thursday, free practice started in wet conditions which definitely made things even more difficult for rookie drivers in Monte Carlo. At the end, asphalt dried and most of the drivers managed to run on slick tires in the closing minutes of the session. Spaniard Martí clocked a lap time of 1m27.324s to take 4th place in the timesheets, an excellent first taste of the street track. Mansell posted a lap time of 1m28.793s and ranked 12th in the standings with Barter four places adrift with a personal best time of 1m29.233s.

Friday’s qualifying sessions were as challenging as expected due to yellow and red flags and traffic. Mansell took part in the odd numbered session. With four minutes to go, Mansell was 8th in the provisional classification with a lap time of 1m26.055s. Mansell was able to further improve his lap times but the Australian ace was forced to abort his attempt due to traffic in the third sector. During his last flying lap, Mansell was posting green sectors but Sebas Montoya hit the wall and Mansell’s chances to lower his times got ruined once again due to a red flag. The even numbers session saw Martí and Barter defending the Campos Racing colors. Martí was impressive by setting a fastest lap of 1m24.850s, which put him on top at the beginning. He improved to post a lap of 1m24.770s, which still secured him the pole position for Saturday’s reverse grid. Barter struggled to find a clean lap and on his last attempt, the Japanese-Australian hit traffic in the third sector and couldn’t lower a lap time of 1m25.267s.

Martí mastered Saturday’s sprint race and cruised to a dominant win with nobody being able to challenge him for the win. When the lights went out, Martí kept his rivals at bay and the first lap ended with the Spaniard leading the field just when the safety car was deployed. Barter was one of the drivers forced to make a pit stop and rejoined at the back. After five laps, the safety car headed into the pit lane and Martí led the way for Campos Racing at St. Devote. His closest rival Leonardo Fornaroli remained in his slipstream until the halfway point when Martí gradually pulled away. In the final laps, Martí was the single driver lapping in 1m27s and finally took the checkered flag with a gap of more than 8 seconds on Fornaroli. Mansell ended up in 20th place and his fellow countryman Barter crossed the finish line five laps further adrift, they both having overtaking several cars despite it is a mammoth task in Monte Carlo.

On Sunday, tire wear and degradation were expected to be an issue during the 27-lap feature race. When the lights went out, Martí made a good getaway and ran side-by-side for almost the entire first lap with Zak O’Sullivan. The Spaniard ran in 11th that first lap. Further adrift, Mansell and Barter were in the top-20. The safety car was deployed very early in the race when Ido Cohen crashed into the barriers. At the restart, Martí nursed his tires to avoid any problem in the closing stages of the race. Unfortunately, Barter had to make an unscheduled pit stop and dropped down the order. Up the front, Caio Collet and Montoya made contact and Martí gained two places to move up to ninth. From then onwards, Martí focused on bringing the car home to score more points. The Spaniard finished in ninth place. Mansell finished in 17th place. Barter, after his pit stop, ended up in 26th.

After Monte Carlo, Martí sits sixth in the drivers’ standings on 37 points. Campos Racing is currently 5th in the teams’ standings on 41 points.

The fourth round of the season will take place at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya next weekend, which is the home round for Campos Racing.