Campos Racing will have one car on pole for both the Sprint and Feature Races after Hugh Barter finished Qualifying in P12 and teammate Josep María Martí took the top spot.
The Australian driver was satisfied with his efforts after poor luck and driver errors in previous rounds. The session remained wet throughout, but drivers had to push throughout as conditions improved, and as a result, it was all about timing.
Starting his final flying lap ahead of the majority of the field, Barter says remaining cautious to keep his place inside the top 12 was a big positive to take into Saturday. While he will have a clear view from reverse grid pole, he added that there was a better result on the cards had he been able to start a lap closer to the chequered flag.
“I mean, there's a lot going on, that's for sure. Having wet conditions always brings a lot of variables and the track is constantly changing, especially with the weather being so unpredictable, you really never know what's going to happen. It could get worse could get better. So, it was a matter of pushing every single lap and hopefully not making a mistake during those laps because, that could be your fastest lap.
“Luckily, the track got better and better read through the session, on the last set, I knew everybody was going to be improving. I was one of the first ones to cross the line and I knew that the lap was not great. There was a lot left on the table and I played extremely safe. But it was just enough to grab P12, so I'm happy where we ended up. Was a more on the table? Yes, for sure, but it puts us in a good position for tomorrow.
“I was more focused on keeping on track in the last push because that for sure was going to be the push that everyone was going to go green, green, green on. The track was dry in some areas, and we saw in F2, the first part of their session was dry. So, I think my aim was to just keep it on track, but it was a bit too safe. I think that the lap before driving to the conditions was better. But the track improved in the second push.
Focusing his attention on the Sprint Race and what Saturday might bring, Barter says there’s no reason why he can’t convert his starting position into a season-best result. The team was one of those who got to grips with the new medium compound used in Budapest, and with the same tyres set for action should things remain dry at Spa, another strong race could follow. Whether it rains or stays dry though, Barter is confident whatever the weather.
“The expectation is to maintain position, that's number one. But I think if I get some good points on the board, I'll be happy with it either way. I think a podium would be really nice, a good way to sort of wrap up the end phase of the season. So, we’ll just see what tomorrow brings and just focus on my own thing.
“If I had the choice, I’d probably like a little bit more rain because I think Campos as a whole has quite some pace here. I don't really mind how it goes, we had some really good pace on the mediums, and we were managing really well at Hungry on the mediums with the deg and so honestly it could go either way and I'd be pretty keen for it. But having the wet conditions, it’s a bit harder to pass, which gives me a bit of a chance to run away.”
With Spa Qualifying representing his best Friday result since Round 1 in Sakhir, the Australian was happy to have shown what he says was a truer reflection of his progress in what is his rookie campaign in Formula 3.
While the job isn’t done yet with two races ahead of him, he says that there is a good deal of confidence building up at Campos that good results aren’t down to luck but rather pure performance.
“If you remember back to Bahrain, it was a really good qualifying for me in P5 and we've kind of struggled since in Qualifying to replicate that. It was a combination of mistakes on my side and a few unlucky situations in too. We got a bit lucky in Budapest, but we knew the pace was there and I was able to come back and finish near the points. I think this result is more a better reflection of the progress that's happened throughout the year.”