Christian Ho and Matteo de Palo claim 1-2 for Campos Racing in Valencia

Ho won the third and final race this weekend and finished third in another. Italian De Palo made it onto the overall podium twice, besides he also won the rookies’ classification. Deligny followed his footsteps among the rookies. Cárdenas and Strømsted brought solid points home

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Campos Racing completed a strong home weekend of the F4 Spain Championship at Circuit Ricardo Tormo, which hosted the penultimate round of the 2023 season. Christian Ho secured his second win of the season in the series and added another podium to his tally. Italian Matteo De Palo put a great show in Cheste as he stepped onto the overall podium twice and similarly emerged as winner among the rookies. Enzo Deligny was another top rookie contender throughout the weekend with more rostrums to his name. Andrés Cárdenas finished in the top-8 in all the three races and Noah Strømsted also made it into the points. Unfortunately, Jesse Carrasquedo Jr. couldn’t imitate his teammates in Valencia.

After two free practice sessions in which Campos Racing and their drivers already showed excellent pace, the Valencia-based racing team headed into Q1 in high spirits. In an incredibly close session, with a record 31 drivers within a second, Ho snatched the pole position putting together a lap of 1m32.771s and beating Théophile Naël by a mere 9 thousandths of a second. De Palo qualified in third place with a lap time of 1m32.822s. Deligny and Cárdenas respectively took sixth and seventh spot on the grid with their best efforts of 1m32.984s and 1m33.008s. Carrasquedo Jr. and Strømsted made the start further adrift in the middle of the field.

Race 1 took place on Saturday in the afternoon. When the lights went out, Ho dropped to second but remained in the slipstream of Valerio Rinicella when the safety car was deployed as a result of an eventful first lap. Deligny completed the first lap running in fifth ahead of Cárdenas and De Palo. When the race was relaunched in lap 4, Rinicella, Ho and Naël pulled away from the rest of the field. Despite Ho put Rinicella under pressure, an overtaking maneuver was extremely difficult on the twisty Valencia track. At the end of the race, Ho finished in third place. Deligny took the checkered flag in fifth place and won the rookies’ classification ahead of Cárdenas and De Palo, in an all-Campos Racing podium. Carrasquedo and Strømsted ended up in 18th and 20th respectively after a hard-fought race.

Sunday kicked off with the second qualifying session in the early morning. Campos Racing and their drivers put themselves in the fight for pole position but a red flag with three minutes to go impeded their best laps as several of them were setting purple sectors. Anyway, Ho posted the second fastest lap time of 1m32.516s and De Palo secured a second row start with his lap of 1m32.629s. Deligny clocked a lap time of 1m32.716s to start from seventh. Cárdenas qualified in ninth place with a lap time of 1m32.793s. Strømsted put a lap together of 1m32.840s to start from 11th. Carrasquedo produced a best lap of 1m33.015s, which left him 18th in the timesheets.

Race 2, whose starting grid was shaped by the 2nd-fastest lap time in Q1, saw De Palo lining up 3rd on the grid ahead of teammates Cárdenas, Ho and Deligny. When the lights went out, Ho moved up to third by overtaking De Palo. Deligny remained in fifth place and Cárdenas dropped to ninth. The safety car was deployed by the middle of the race and was back in green flag conditions in lap 8. In a classic nose-to-tail race, it was pretty difficult to move through the order with the track limits penalties providing most of the “overtaking changes”. After 14 laps, De Palo classified in third place with Deligny fourth. Singaporean Ho was sixth in the final classification. Cárdenas crossed the finish line in 8th place. Carrasquedo Jr. and Strømsted experienced two other problematic races.

The third and final race saw a stellar start coming from Ho and De Palo who moved up to first and second respectively at T1. Deligny, Strømsted and Cárdenas was also running in the top-7 in the opening stages of the race. Ho and De Palo had pulled away when the safety car was deployed in lap 10, which ruined their gap. Another safety car was deployed shortly after but Ho and De Palo kept everything under control to secure a 1-2 finish for Campos Racing. Besides, De Palo scored another win in the rookies’ classification, in which Deligny was second (and fourth overall). Strømsted took the checkered flag in fifth place with Cárdenas rounding out the top-6. Carrasquedo Jr. finished in 20th place.

With a single round to go, Ho now sits second in the drivers’ standings on 216 points. Deligny is third on 213 points and first rookie driver classified. De Palo moves up to fifth overall and second rookie. Strømsted and Cárdenas are seventh and eighth respectively. Campos Racing is currently lying in second place in the teams’ standings on 333 points.

The season finale will take place at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya on 11-12 November.