Martins leads title rival Leclerc in opening FIA F3 Barcelona session

Martins leads title rival Leclerc in opening FIA F3 Barcelona session

20.05.2022: For the second round in a row, ART Grand Prixís Victor Martins set the pace during Formula 3 Free Practice, clocking in a 1:32.796 to go fastest in Barcelona.


For the second round in a row, ART Grand Prix’s Victor Martins set the pace during Formula 3 Free Practice, clocking in a 1:32.796 to go fastest in Barcelona.

 

With cooler early morning temperatures, it was a somewhat leisurely start to running as the 30- car field turned their focus towards the end of the session.


Initially, the Carlin trio led the way with Williams Racing Academy driver Zak O’Sullivan setting a benchmark of 1:35.420, ahead of teammates Brad Benavides and Enzo Trulli.


15 minutes in and Van Amersfoort Racing’s Reece Ushijima leaped to the top of the timing sheets, becoming the first driver to break the 1:34s barrier.


David Vidales then went quickest on home soil with a 1:33.932, narrowly ahead of Jenzer Motorsport’s Ido Cohen and his Campos Racing teammate Josep María Martí.


While track temperatures rose above 29°C, lap times continued to tumble. A flurry of action saw six drivers exchange the top spot, changing hands between the Trident trio of Oliver Rasmussen, Zane Maloney and then Roman Stanek with a 1:33.304.


Title contenders Arthur Leclerc and Martins were nip-and-tuck on track with less than a tenth between them. The PREMA Racing driver went quickest, only for Championship leader Victor Martins to go 0.076s quicker.


Having completed in-season testing at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya a month ago, the drivers all set about finding the limits ahead of what’s expected to be a tight Qualifying session.


Both Rasmussen in the Trident and VAR’s Rafael Villagómez found themselves fighting a snap of oversteer at Turn 9, while Hitech Grand Prix’s Isack Hadjar brushed the gravel at the next corner and Leclerc suffered a heavy front lock-up.


Attentions turned from the timing sheets to the lap counts, as the top 10 remained virtually unchanged for the final 15 minutes of Practice.


Martins ended the session fastest, ahead of Leclerc. Stanek slotted into third, just over half a second behind the leading time.


Jak Crawford was fourth ahead of Imola Sprint Race winner Franco Colapinto and pole-sitter last time out Maloney. Oliver Bearman made it three PREMAs inside the top seven, ahead of Hitech’s Kaylen Frederick.



MP Motorsport’s Alexander Smolyar was ninth fastest, as Vidales put his Campos into 10th at the team’s home weekend.

 

Importantly, the top 12 were all within a second of the ART’s leading time, so be prepared for an intense battle for the two pole position points in Qualifying when the action returns on Friday at 3:30pm local time.

 

 

- Alexa QUintin, photo Formula Motorsport Ltd

Permanent-URL: http://www.automobilsport.com/martins-leads-title-rival-lecler-fia-f3-barcelona-session---237845.html

20.05.2022 / MaP

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