James Egozi Steps Up to the Podium Twice at Circuit Paul Ricard

The Campos Racing driver emerged as the main asset for Campos Racing in Le Castellet, fighting for victory in two of the weekend's three races. Mexican driver Rivera, sporting Griffin Core by Campos colors, secured three top-5 finishes, keeping him firmly in the title hunt

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The third event of the F4 Spain season saw the championship move to the south of France for three new races in 2024. James Egozi completed his best meeting of his debut season so far, finishing twice on the podium at Circuit Paul Ricard at the wheel of his Campos Racing Tatuus. Meanwhile, Mexican Ernesto Rivera led the Griffin Core by Campos trio, securing two fourths and a fifth place between Saturday and Sunday. At Campos Racing, Nathan Tye also scored points twice, as did Jan Przyrowski for Griffin Core by Campos. Enzo Tarnvanichkul of Campos Racing and Andrés Cárdenas of Griffin Core by Campos did not have Lady Luck on their side this time.

After Saturday morning's free practice, Q1 took place at noon. Rivera set the sixth fastest time with a lap of 2m05.698s, securing the sixth spot on the grid just ahead of Egozi, who was seventh with his lap of 2m05.698s. Slightly further back in ninth place was Przyrowski with his best time of 2m05.818s. Outside the top ten, among the 35 drivers present, were Tye (13th), Cárdenas (15th), and Tarnvanichkul (20th).

In the first race, held on Saturday afternoon, Rivera gained two positions at the start, with Egozi also moving up one place in the first few meters. It was Egozi, in his Red Bull-liveried car, who capitalized on the first lap, moving up to fourth ahead of Rivera. Further back, Tye had also moved into ninth. After a safety car period, the race resumed on lap 3, and Egozi moved up to the podium by overtaking Keanu Al Azhari on the inside after drafting him on the Mistral straight. A few laps later, Rivera also passed Al Azhari. The battle between Egozi and Rivera with Juan Cota, who was second at the time, allowed the Mexican to overtake the American and attempt to take second place. In the end, the battle went in Egozi's favor, as he first overtook Rivera and then Cota to finish second. Rivera ended up fifth. Tye crossed the finish line in ninth place. Tarnvanichkul finished 18th. Both Przyrowski and Cárdenas had to retire.

On Sunday, the day kicked off with Q2, where Egozi was just ten thousandths off pole position with his time of 2m05.914s, sharing the front row with Maciej Gladysz. Rivera set the fourth fastest time with his lap of 2m05.941s, while Polish driver Przyrowski secured ninth place with his lap of 2m06.193s. Briton Tye and Peruvian Cárdenas were to share the sixth row of the grid, with Tarnvanichkul starting 19th.

In the second, shorter race, Rivera and Egozi started from fifth and sixth on the grid. The race saw a red flag due to a three-car pile-up that blocked the track at the start. After twenty minutes, the race resumed behind the safety car, with the green flag waving with ten minutes to go. With Rivera and Egozi in the top six, Tye passed Przyrowski to move into ninth. Ahead, on lap 8, Rivera overtook Griffin Peebles to move into fourth, and Egozi also passed the Australian to move into the top five. At the finish, Rivera completed his climb in fourth place, with Egozi fifth. Przyrowski finished eighth. Cárdenas, in his final sprint, gained a couple of places to finish 11th. Tarnvanichkul was 20th at the finish. Tye had to retire in the closing stages.

In the third and final race, Egozi attempted to challenge the leader, Gladysz, at the start, while Rivera was further back in fifth. Tye, in eighth, and Przyrowski, in tenth, were also in the points positions. It was Przyrowski who was one of the most aggressive in the early stages, setting the fastest lap and moving up to eighth ahead of Tye and Cárdenas. From the eighth lap, Egozi began his attack on Gladysz, and a couple of laps later, Rivera passed Mattia Colnaghi. Ahead, the battle between Egozi and Gladysz allowed Al Azhari and Rivera to catch up with them. By then, Przyrowski was already sixth, while Tye and Cárdenas were running eighth and tenth. Egozi tried to overtake Gladysz inside and out, but the Pole opened up the track, forcing the American onto the run-off area, allowing Al Azhari to pass him on the inside. Thus, Egozi had to settle for third place in the end, ahead of Rivera. Przyrowski finished his impressive performance in sixth place, two positions ahead of Tye. Tarnvanichkul moved up to 15th, while Cárdenas dropped to 29th at the finish.

After three events, Rivera occupies third place in the drivers' standings with 86 points. Egozi, for his part, is seventh with 71, ahead of Przyrowski. Tye is ninth in the overall standings.

The championship will return to Spain for the fourth event of the season at Motorland Aragón on July 27-28, just before the summer break.

Photos: Fotocar13