Josep María Martí proved that there’s no place like home, as he secured his first Formula 3 Feature Race victory at his and Campos Racing’s home race. The Spaniard started from pole and kept everything in check to convert it into his third win of the campaign and put himself into the title fight.
Franco Colapinto returned to the podium for the first time since the Sakhir Sprint Race but couldn’t catch Martí for the win after a mid-race overtake for second. Dino Beganovic’s consistency continued as he comfortably claimed third.
AS IT HAPPENED
Despite getting a strong launch from pole, Martí was forced to immediately dive to the inside to cover off Taylor Barnard. Making an impression on his first front row start and benefiting from the slipstream, the Jenzer Motorsport driver tried to swoop around the outside but had to peel off down the escape road, re-joining in second.
After scoring his maiden podium in the Sprint Race, Luke Browning’s race came to an early end on the opening lap. Contact with Leonardo Fornaroli down into Turn 4 left the #16 Hitech Pulse-Eight pulling up with broken suspension to bring out the Safety Car.
Martí opted to make the jump early on Lap 7, trying to pull away from Barnard through Turn 12. The Briton was all over the Campos just after the restart but couldn’t sustain the pace, dropping out of DRS range by Lap 10.
Barnard steadily began to drop down the order, as Colapinto and Beganovic breezed past the Jenzer along the main straight on consecutive laps with DRS.
Gabriel Bortoleto found his way through on Lap 17, but Barnard attempted to fight back through Turn 2. That opened the door for Aron to swoop past, going late on the brakes downhill through Turn 5.
A mistake out of the final corner gave Mari Boya and Sebastián Montoya their opportunities to pounce. Whilst the MP Motorsport driver got through, Barnard fought back, diving up the inside of the Hitech Pulse-Eight driver to regain eighth momentarily before a late lunge from Montoya stuck.
In the battle for the final points, Sprint Race winner Zak O’Sullivan made an ambitious overtake attempt on Oliver Goethe around the outside of Turn 13. It put the pair three-wide with Grégoire Saucy on the start of Lap 19. Although both the PREMA Racing and ART Grand Prix drivers found their way past, the #8 ART picked up a puncture after the slightest of contact with the Trident’s front wing. Saucy dropped to the back of the pack while Goethe received a 10-second time penalty for causing a collision.
Out front, nobody could deny Martí and the crowd their celebrations, with the Spaniard reaching the chequered flag 4.4 seconds ahead of Colapinto and Beganovic. Bortoleto achieved back-to-back P4 finishes ahead of Aron and home hero Boya.
Montoya secured seventh ahead of O’Sullivan, after the Williams junior demoted Barnard to P9 with a move on the penultimate lap. Goethe's time penalty promoted Christian Mansell to the final points position.
KEY QUOTE – Josep María Martí, Campos Racing
“Just won my first Feature Race here at home, so I’m just so happy with it. Obviously, we did a great race, had to manage Taylor in the beginning and then after the Safety Car restart, I had to manage him again for a little bit. All of a sudden, I looked in my mirrors, I looked again, and Franco was there.
“I had to manage my pace from then on, try to keep my tyres in a good shape before the end because I really didn’t know what Franco was doing with his tyres, with him you never know. I was just trying to do my best, get my best race time and it went perfectly, so super happy with the result and a massive thank you to the team.”
THE CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS
Bortoleto remains in the lead of the Drivers’ Championship, sitting comfortably on 92 points. Victory has rocketed Martí from sixth to second on 68 points, seven points ahead of Beganovic in third. Gabriele Minì couldn’t add any points to his tally and drops to fourth, with Aron now two behind the Italian on 54 points.
PREMA Racing leapfrog their compatriots Trident to the top of the Teams’ Standings on 156 points, with a five-point advantage. Hitech Pulse-Eight remain third on 117, as Campos Racing and MP Motorsport overtake ART Grand Prix for fourth and fifth, on 73 and 62 points respectively.
The Formula 3 field has a short break before a busy run of four race weekends in five weeks. The action gets underway with Round 6 and a visit to Spielberg on 30 June – 2 July.