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Pepe Marti triumphs in Formula 3’s Bahrain opener

by Steve Whitfield

Photo: Formula Motorsport Ltd

Campos Racing’s Pepe Marti came from behind to score a maiden FIA Formula 3 victory in the season-opening sprint race in Bahrain.

Marti lined up on the front row alongside reversed-grid polesitter Franco Colapinto and immediately tried to challenge the MP Motorsport driver when the lights went out.

Colapinto fended off the Spaniard into turn one, with Van Amersfoort Racing’s Caio Collet capitalising by sweeping around the outside of Marti into second at turn two. 

The safety car was deployed at the end of lap two after VAR’s Rafael Villagomez tangled with Trident’s Gabriel Bortoleto before spearing into the barriers at turn five.

The race resumed on lap seven of 19, with Marti immediately moving alongside Collet on the pit straight and Prema’s Paul Aron trying to make it a three-wide scrap on the outside. The trio maintained their positions into turn one, but Marti then made another move to retake second from Collet at turn four.

Reigning GB3 champion Luke Browning, who had climbed to 12th for Hitech GP, spun after a collision into turn one and retired, resulting in the deployment of the safety car for a second time. F3 returnee Sophia Floersch, trying to recover from a pitlane start, also spun in contact with Charouz team-mate Roberto Faria but was able to continue.

Marti made another good restart when the safety car was withdrawn on lap 12, challenging for the lead into turn four, with Colapinto holding on.

Two laps later, Marti tried another move at the same corner, this time edging ahead on the outside, and remained in front until the finish to beat Colapinto by 1.8 seconds. 

Collet finished a further four seconds adrift in third, and Dino Beganovic came out on top in a wheel-to-wheel battle with team-mate Aron in the latter stages to take fourth. Trident’s Oliver Goethe also tried to pass Aron but had to settle for sixth.

Gregoire Saucy was seventh for ART Grand Prix ahead of Trident’s Leonardo Fornaroli, with MP’s Jonny Edgar and Hitech’s Sebastian Montoya rounding out the top 10.

Feature race poleman Gabriele Mini had a difficult race, a poor start dropping him to 26th on lap one before he was then was forced to pit for a new front wing during the second safety car period.

ART GP’s Kaylen Frederick ran inside the top 10 early on, but suffered a puncture after being rear-ended and trailed home in 28th.

Race result (19 laps)

Pos Driver Team Time
1 Pepe Marti Campos Racing 43m09.598s
2 Franco Colapinto MP Motorsport +1.805s
3 Caio Collet VAR +5.879s
4 Dino Beganovic Prema +9.017s
5 Paul Aron Prema +9.848s
6 Oliver Goethe Trident +10.623s
7 Gregoire Saucy ART GP +11.157s
8 Leonardo Fornaroli Trident +11.737s
9 Jonny Edgar MP Motorsport +12.359s
10 Sebastian Montoya Hitech GP +12.897s
11 Hugh Barter Campos Racing +13.663s
12 Gabriel Bortoleto Trident +14.111s
13 Zak O’Sullivan Prema +14.829s
14 Christian Mansell Campos Racing +15.819s
15 Taylor Barnard Jenzer Motorsport +17.461s
16 Mari Boya MP Motorsport +18.032s
17 Nikita Bedrin Jenzer Motorsport +19.240s
18 Gabriele Mini Hitech GP +19.663s
19 Ido Cohen Carlin +23.416s
20 Hunter Yeany Carlin +24.671s
21 Ollie Gray Carlin +25.049s
22 Sophia Floersch PHM Racing by Charouz +25.373s
23 Tommy Smith Van Amersfoort Racing +25.951s
24 Roberto Faria PHM Racing by Charouz +38.570s
25 Piotr Wisnicki PHM Racing by Charouz +45.222s
26 Nikola Tsolov ART GP +47.787s
27 Alex Garcia Jenzer Motorsport +1m01.177s
28 Kaylen Frederick ART GP +1m25.396s
Ret Luke Browning Hitech GP
Ret Rafael Villagomez Van Amersfoort Racing
Fastest lap: Marti, 1m50.867s