The inaugural Eurocup-3 season started with a big shock as Campos Racing’s Francesco Braschi claimed his first ever car racing win in dominant style at Spa-Francorchamps.
Pre-race rain meant it started with a lap behind the safety car, with MP Motorsport’s Mari Boya on pole ahead of Esteban Masson (Campos Racing), Bruno del Pino (MP), Tasanapol Inthraphuvasak (Campos), Cenyu Han (Global Racing Service), Pierre-Louis Chovet (Drivex School), Jose Garfias (MP) and Braschi.
Palou Motorsport’s Cian Shields was a non-starter, while MP’s Sebastian Gravlund had an off on the opening lap but was able to continue without damage.
Some drivers were comfortable on slick tyres in the wet conditions, while others were sliding at almost every corner. Boya led Masson and del Pino when racing actually began on lap two, but by the next lap Han had got past Masson and Braschi had come all the way from eight to lead.
Braschi finished lap three with a 12.7-second lead over Han, with Suleiman Zanfari (Campos) a further 1.4s behind and the top five completed by Boya and Masson.
The lead gap grew to 16.6s on lap four, and was still at 20.99s next time by despite that lap ending under safety car conditions as Garfias had spun out of 11th place and got his rear wheels stuck in a gravel trap.
Racing resumed on lap eight, and during the safety car period 12th-placed Sebastian Ogaard pitted to swap from slick to wet compound tyres. Somehow Han picked up damage prior to the restart, with the bodywork panel that sits above and between the main body of the car and the nose having flapped open on one side.
Braschi immediately pulled away, but the safety car was summoned again before the end of the lap as Palou’s Miron Pingasov had beached his car in the turn 13 gravel.
Drivex’s Nick Gilkes followed Ogaard’s strategy at the end of the lap, which Braschi finished with a 6.082s advantage, then there was one full lap of safety car action before the field were released again on lap 10.
Masson went off-track down the Kemmel Straight in an attempt to pass Boya for third but then went off at Les Combes, and Braschi built a 6s gap again by setting the fastest lap by 4.813s.
He extended his lead on the final lap to 10.782s, with victory marking his first podium appearance since racing in F4 in 2021. Han’s runner-up spot was the second podium of his car racing career, and third place for Zanfari marked his third career podium.
Ogaard’s tyre switch almost worked out, charging up the order in the late green flag action to finish just behind Boya in fifth. Gilkes recovered to seventh behind Masson, while a last-lap issue for Sagrera dropped him from sixth to 13th.
Race result (11 laps)
|1||Fransesco Braschi||Campos Racing||32m34.200s|
|3||Suleiman Zanfari||Campos Racing||+12.469s|
|4||Mari Boya||MP Motorsport||+20.397s|
|5||Sebastian Ogaard||MP Motorsport||+20.996s|
|6||Esteban Masson||Campos Racing||+21.469s|
|7||Nick Gilkes||Drivex School||+23.033s|
|8||Bruno del Pino||MP Motorsport||+26.556s|
|9||Pierre-Louis Chovet||Drivex School||+28.628s|
|10||Tasanapol Inthraphuvasak||Campos Racing||+29.574s|
|11||William Karlsson||Drivex School||+30.155s|
|12||Sebastian Gravlund||MP Motorsport||+34.350s|
|13||Javier Sagrera||Palou Motorsport||+47.625s|
|Ret||Miron Pingasov||Palou Motorsport|
|Ret||Jose Garfias||MP Motorsport|
|DNS||Cian Shields||Palou Motorsport|
|Fastest lap: Braschi, 2m29.827s|