Home Formula RegionalEurocup-3 IndyCar champion Palou makes test cameo for his own Eurocup-3 team

IndyCar champion Palou makes test cameo for his own Eurocup-3 team

by Ida Wood

Photo: Eurocup-3

Esteban Masson outpaced two-time IndyCar champion Alex Palou to top Eurocup-3’s pre-event test at Estoril.

Campos Racing driver Masson topped the day’s first 55-minute session by 0.342 seconds over Palou, driving for his own Palou Motorsport team. Tasanapol Inthraphuvasak (Campos) and Mari Boya (MP Motorsport) were 0.405s and 0.471s behind in third and fourth, with only two other drivers within a second of the pace.

Emmo Fittipaldi, who will be making his series debut this weekend with Global Racing Service, and Drivex School’s Nick Gilkes did not record any laptimes.

Masson set the benchmark laptime of the session then pitted with 10 minutes to go, with Boya his closest rival at that point. Boya could not improve his pace, while Palou was able to go faster on one lap to rise from third to second, and Tasanapol Inthraphuvasak jumped from 12th to fourth, then improved again in the final minute to take third place.

Campos’s Suleiman Zanfari was first to the top in session two, then Inthraphuvasak. Palou was the first person in the afternoon to lap in the 1m35s, and he was on top when red flags waved 22 minutes in as Miron Pingasov stopped at turn seven with session-ending issues.

It was a long wait for everyone else before they could head back on track, but Masson and Inthraphuvasak did not take long to beat Palou’s pace. Masson set a 1m35.019s, and Inthraphuvasak was 0.172s slower than him. At the very end he improved to get within 0.12s of him.

They were among six drivers to better their session one pace, and this time Sebastian Ogaard and Jose Garfias skipped the action. Nobody could beat Masson and Inthraphuvasak’s times in the last two sessions, with Masson skipping session three and Inthraphuvasak absent from session four, but Boya was able to match Inthraphuvasak’s pace as he topped both sessions.

Sainteloc Racing’s Dario Cabenelas was fastest at first in session three, and after a red flag period Gilkes knocked the pace down to 1m36.247s. Palou Motorsport’s Javier Sagrera then broke into the 1m35s, but found a pace ceiling and was shuffled down to fourth place behind Boya, who set a 1m35.139s, Inthraphuvasak and Campos’s Francesco Braschi.

There was little track action early in session four, with Fittipaldi and Campos’s Suleiman Zanfari the fastest two but also the only two going on proper runs.

Once Palou joined in he immediately went 0.469s faster than Zanfari, but Cabanelas then bettered Palou by 0.17s. Braschi brough the pace down into the 1m35s in the session’s second half, before Boya went on a run of improvements and ended the session with a 1m35.202s. Palou was 0.429s behind in second place, and just 0.013s ahead of Braschi.

Garfias and Sebastian Gravlund were two of the slowest drivers on track, and the only ones not to improve after session one.

Pre-event test results
Pos Driver Team Time Gap Laps
1 Esteban Masson Campos Racing 1m35.019s 36
2 Tasanapol Inthraphuvasak Campos Racing 1m35.139s +0.120s 44
3 Mari Boya MP Motorsport 1m35.139s +0.120s 55
4 Alex Palou Palou Motorsport 1m35.333s +0.314s 74
5 Francesco Braschi Campos Racing 1m35.644s +0.625s 73
6 Sebastian Ogaard MP Motorsport 1m35.827s +0.808s 55
7 Javier Sagrera Palou Motorsport 1m35.989s +0.970s 62
8 Daniel Nogales Drivex School 1m35.998s +0.979s 70
9 Dario Cabanelas Sainteloc Racing 1m36.048s +1.029s 79
10 Nick Gilkes Drivex School 1m36.086s +1.067s 52
11 Jose Garfias MP Motorsport 1m36.259s +1.240s 50
12 Bruno del Pino MP Motorsport 1m36.287s +1.268s 52
13 Emmo Fittipaldi GRS 1m36.367s +1.348s 60
14 Suleiman Zanfari Campos Racing 1m36.519s +1.500s 72
15 Miron Pingasov Paluo Motorsport 1m36.550s +1.531s 57
16 Jorge Campos Palou Motorsport 1m36.587s +1.568s 60
17 Sebastian Gravlund MP Motorsport 1m37.054s +2.035s 84
18 Daniel Mavlyutov GRS 1m38.374s +3.355s 85