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O’Sullivan beats Browning to win Barcelona F3 sprint race

by Steve Whitfield

Photo: Prema

Prema’s Zak O’Sullivan resisted early pressure from fellow Williams junior Luke Browning for his second FIA Formula 3 sprint race win at Barcelona.

O’Sullivan held off Hitech GP’s Browning and Trident’s Leonardo Fornaroli in a three-lap dash to the chequered flag following a late safety car period.

Browning challenged reversed-grid polesitter O’Sullivan off the line before slotting into second at turn one, while Fornaroli passed ART Grand Prix’s Gregoire Saucy for third.

Prema’s Paul Aron gained two places to sixth, and MP Motorsport’s Mari Boya slipped from fifth to eighth after losing out to Sebastian Montoya and Gabriel Bortoleto through turns seven and eight.

The safety car was deployed at the end of lap one after Rodin Carlin’s Ido Cohen crashed into the barriers at turn nine following contact with Rafael Villagomez, who was forced to pit for a new front wing.

O’Sullivan immediately built a one-second advantage once racing resumed on lap five of 21, but Browning gradually closed to within 0.3 seconds.

On lap 10 Browning used his DRS to mount a challenge, with O’Sullivan defending the inside into turn one. Browning had another good run down the pit straight next time by, looking to the inside of O’Sullivan who held onto the lead on the outside.

O’Sullivan gradually pulled out more than a second advantage over the next few laps, with Fornaroli keeping pace with Browning, while there was plenty of action behind.

Saucy ran wide out of the final turn, losing fourth to Aron, and then ran wide again as he tried to fight back and lost further places to Montoya and Bortoleto. Montoya then suffered a puncture after contact with Aron, with Bortoleto capitalising to move into fourth. 

Prema’s Dino Beganovic locked up while running 10th, running off the track and retiring and promoting feature race poleman Pepe Marti into the points. Running just behind, his Campos Racing team-mate Christian Mansell and Gabriele Mini made contact at turn two, with Mansell ending up in the gravel and Mini being penalised 10s for the incident.

That triggered a second safety car period, with the green flags waved with three laps to go. Browning was forced to defend immediately at the restart from Fornaroli, but held onto second into turn one.

The order remained the same until the finish, with O’Sullivan coming home 1.6s clear of Browning, who scored his first F3 podium, with Fornaroli a further 0.6s behind.

Bortoleto retained fourth ahead of Aron, with MP’s Franco Colapinto climbing from 10th to sixth. Boya came home seventh ahead of Marti, while Saucy slipped back to ninth ahead of Jenzer Motorsport’s Taylor Barnard, who will start alongside Marti on the front row tomorrow. 

Race result (21 laps)
Pos Driver Team Time
1 Zak O’Sullivan Prema 36m53.410s
2 Luke Browning Hitech GP +1.676s
3 Leonardo Fornaroli Trident +2.360s
4 Gabriel Bortoleto Trident +3.177s
5 Paul Aron Prema +3.659s
6 Franco Colapinto MP Motorsport +4.164s
7 Mari Boya MP Motorsport +5.002s
8 Pepe Marti Campos Racing +6.233s
9 Gregoire Saucy ART Grand Prix +7.114s
10 Taylor Barnard Jenzer Motorsport +7.826s
11 Nikita Bedrin Jenzer Motorsport +8.419s
12 Oliver Goethe Trident +8.886s
13 Jonny Edgar MP Motorsport +9.586s
14 Caio Collet Van Amersfoort Racing +10.132s
15 Nikola Tsolov ART Grand Prix +11.982s
16 Kaylen Frederick ART Grand Prix +12.865s
17 Ollie Gray Carlin +13.576s
18 Hunter Yeany Carlin +14.150s
19 Tommy Smith Van Amersfoort Racing +15.233s
20 Hugh Barter Campos Racing +15.716s
21 Gabriele Mini Hitech GP +15.863s
22 Sebastian Montoya Hitech GP +15.905s
23 Sophia Floersch PHM by Charouz +16.509s
24 Alex Garcia Jenzer Motorsport +16.882s
25 Rafael Villagomez Van Amersfoort Racing +17.210s
26 Piotr Wisnicki PHM by Charouz +18.006s
27 Roberto Faria PHM by Charouz +18.346s
Ret Christian Mansell Campos Racing
Ret Dino Beganovic Prema
Ret Ido Cohen Carlin
Fastest lap: O’Sullivan, 1m32.054s

Championship standings
Bortoleto 80   2 Mini 56   3 Saucy 49   4 Beganovic 46   5 Aron 44   6 Marti 42   7 Browning 38   8 O’Sullivan 37   9 Fornaroli 36   10 Colapinto 30