Double triple podium for Deligny and Ho in Portugal

Deligny scored his second triumph of the season and two second places. Ho stepped onto the podium in all the three races. De Palo, Cárdenas and Strømsted finished in the points-paying positions

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Campos Racing delivered another brilliant performance at Autódromo do Estoril, which hosted the fifth round of the 2023 F4 Spain Championship season. The Portuguese venue marked the second win of the campaign for Enzo Deligny, who clinched another two second places in addition this weekend. Singaporean Christian Ho was another of the most competitive drivers at Estoril as he secured three results on the podium. Matteo De Palo, Andrés Cárdenas and Noah Strømsted also ran in the frontrunning positions. Jesse Carrasquedo Jr. showed speed despite the Mexican racer couldn’t translate it into points.

After two closely-fought free practice sessions on Saturday morning, Q1 was another hard-working session with no room for mistakes. Despite it was particularly difficult to put a clean  lap together as a result of 35 cars on track, Deligny put himself on the front row with a lap time of 1m38.783s. Ho and De Palo shared row two with lap times of 1m38.830s and 1m38.879s respectively. Peruvian Cárdenas and Carrasquedo Jr. also made into the top ten in sixth and seventh place respectively. Further adrift, Danish driver Strømsted couldn’t improve his 16th place on the grid for Saturday’s race one.

When the lights went out, Deligny and Ho got a nice getaway and ran in second and third after the first lap. Cárdenas had moved up to 5th with De Palo completing the first lap in seventh place. Cárdenas was trying to gain more places and made an attempt to overtake Pedro Clerot on the outside in lap 4. Up the front, Deligny and Ho consolidated their second and their place and after 12 laps they were the single drivers to continue in pursuit of Théophile Naël. At the end of the race, Deligny and Ho took the checkered flag in second and third place. Cárdenas finally rounded out the top five with De Palo crossing the finish line in seventh place. Strømsted moved up to 12th when the checkered flag dropped. Carrasquedo Jr. ended up in 20th after an eventful first lap.

On Sunday, Campos Racing further raised the performance bar and the pole position in Q2 was decided between two drivers of the Spanish-based racing team. Ho had the upper-hand with a lap time of 1m38.335s to beat Deligny to pole position by a mere 17 thousandths of a second in an all-Campos Racing front row start. Cárdenas clocked a lap time of 1m38.690s and qualified in seventh place with De Palo and Carrasquedo Jr. rounding out the top ten. Strømsted finished 12th in the timesheets.

The shorter race 2 saw Deligny and Ho again as the strongest rivals of Naël for the win. It was an incident-marred first lap in which Carrasquedo Jr. was forced to retire and Cárdenas also made slight contact with another rival. When the safety car headed into the pit lane, Deligny remained in the slipstream of Naël with Ho and De Palo in third and fourth place behind. But one of the fastest drivers on the track was Strømsted as he had moved up to eighth after seven laps. Deligny put race leader Naël under pressure but finally second was a rewarding result for the championship. Ho took the third step on the rostrum ahead of De Palo. Strømsted’s recovery drive finally granted him a sixth place at the end of the race and the fastest lap in addition. Cárdenas finished in tenth this time.

The third and final race was dominated by Campos Racing drivers from the lights to the flag. Ho led the was at the start before the safety car was deployed. At the restart, Deligny took advantage of the slipstream to overtake Ho for the lead on the outside at T1. Despite Deligny never pulled away, he controlled the race until the checkered flag with Ho finishing in second place. Cárdenas took a brilliant fourth place with De Palo crossing the finish line in ninth place. Strømsted couldn’t improve a 13th place in the classification ahead of Carrasquedo Jr.

With just two rounds remaining, Deligny and Ho sit second and third in the drivers´ standings on 181 and 167 points respectively. Besides, Deligny is the best rookie driver classified. De Palo, Strømsted and Cárdenas occupy sixth, seventh and eighth respectively. Campos Racing is second in the teams’ standings on 333 points.

The home round of Campos Racing will take place at Circuit Ricardo Tormo in two weeks’ time, which is also the penultimate round of the 2023 season.