Finnish Laaksonen delivered a strong performance at Italy’s “Tempio della velocità” and kept in podium contention. Pulcini was also fighting for another rostrum finish when dropped due to gear-shifting issues. Menchaca retired from the race after another rival hit him
Campos Racing has completed a positive GP3 Series race weekend at Monza, the antepenultimate round of the season in the frame of the Italian Grand Prix. Simo Laaksonen really impressed with his strong pace and was able to stay in podium contention on Saturday. Leonardo Pulcini also shone at his home round but the local favorite experienced terrible luck just like in Belgium last week. And Lady Luck wasn’t on Diego Menchaca’s side either.
Friday’s qualifying session was cancelled due to rain in the morning and everybody headed into the qualifying with a very short feedback. Pulcini clocked a lap time of 1m38.158s to line up third on the starting grid at his home round. Laaksonen qualified 14th (1m38.859s) and Menchaca took the 18th spot on the starting grid with his lap of 1m39.049s.
Saturday’s race 1 began in wet conditions. Pulcini moved up to second with Laaksonen also gaining several places at the start and ran in 7th. In fact, the “Flying Finn” even posted several fastest laps with plenty of standing water on the track. Despite Anthoine Hubert passed Pulcini for second, the Italian driver pulled away from Callum Ilott and Nikita Mazepin. Lap by lap, the circuit was rapidly drying and Pulcini’s was good enough to catch up the race leader but then his car experienced gearbox issues and dropped down the order. Just moments earlier, Menchaca had retired when another rival hit his car on lap 16. Laaksonen managed to avoid any other race incident and brought fourth place finish home.
Today, Laaksonen lost several places at the start and it has hurt his podium chances in race 2. Laaksonen still fought with Mazepin and Jake Hughes. At the end, Pulcini’s recovery drive gave him a ninth place with Laaksonen ending up tenth. Menchaca finished 17th.
The GP3 Series will head to Russia on 29-30 September for the second-to-last round of the 2018 season.