Campos’ Pepe Marti took an impressive and dominant second win of the year in the inaugural Formula 3 Sprint race around the streets of Monte Carlo.
Reverse pole sitter Marti had a good getaway at the start, with Leonardo Fornaroli maintaining his P2 and Gregoire Saucy slotting into P3, overtaking Taylor Barnard at the start.
A little bit further down, Feature race polesitter Gabriele Miní managed to get a jump on Prema’s Dino Beganovic.
MP Motorsport’s Jonny Edgard found the wall at the start in turn 1 after contact, bringing out the safety car, while fellow MP Motorsport driver Mari Boya and Carlin’s Hunter Yeany also made contact trying to avoid the stricken MP car, limping into the pits with damage.
Roberto Faria and Alex Garcia also pitted, with PHM retiring Faria’s car, while MP also retired Boya’s car, Garcia was able to get back out onto the track.
The Carlin team worked hard to fix Yeany’s car in the pits, bringing the American driver back out three laps down to get some valuable track time ahead of tomorrow’s Feature race.
After the safety car restart, the top 3 held position, while birthday boy Franco Colapinto found his way around Barnard at the hairpin, letting Barnard fall into the clutches of championship leader Gabriel Bortoleto
Further down the field, Van Amersfoort Racing’s Tommy Smith found the wall at Portier after an incident with Oliver Goethe, but was able to continue, dropping down to P20. Goethe was subsequently handed a ten-second penalty for the incident.
The field ran close in the laps after the safety car restart, with overtaking proving as difficult as expected.
Miní was hot on the heels of Prema’s Paul Aron, fighting for the final points-scoring position in the field.
A small mistake dropped Miní out of DRS range from Aron and right into the hands of Aron’s teammates Beganovic and Zak O’Sullivan, followed by a mistake by Aron, bringing Miní back into the mix with the two Prema cars right behind him.
Further up the field, a close fight for P4 was developing between Barnard, Bortoleto and Hitech’s Sebastian Montoya, with the Colombian experiencing the difficulty of overtaking at the track and failing to get past the Trident driver.
In the closing stages of the race, leader Marti managed to pull a nice gap of over four seconds ahead of Fornaroli, who felt the pressure of Saucy behind him, with Colapinto right behind the pair.
The fight over second allowed Marti to finish eight seconds ahead of Fornaroli and Saucy, making it the second Sprint victory of the year for the Spaniard, as Fornaroli took his maiden podium in the championship, with Saucy holding on to third at the finish for his second podium of the season.
Colapinto finished just off the podium, followed by Barnard, Bortoleto, Montorya, Luke Browning, Caio Collet, and Aron holding on to the final point scoring position.
The F3 Feature Race is scheduled for tomorrow morning, at 8:00 local time.