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F3 Sprint Race Results: Austria

The Red Bull Ring provides the shortest lap time on the calendar and plenty of overtaking opportunities. Who will prevail in the Styrian hills?

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The Prema Racing of Paul Aron finished the Sprint race in first, claiming eleven additional points for his Championship charge.

Pepe Marti finds himself second in the Drivers’ Standings, and started the Sprint race on pole (Image Credit: @Formula3 on Twitter)

Yesterday’s Qualifying session was led by the ART Grand Prix of Gregoire Saucy, his first ever pole position in the feeder series. But with the top 12 qualifiers reversed for the Sprint race, Josep Maria ‘Pepe’ Marti would start on the front row alongside Gabriele Mini.

Track limits were a massive talking point in F3 on Friday, as many drivers had lap times deleted for failing to stay within the fated white lines. Most significantly the Prema Racing of Paul Aron had his best time deleted, which would have been good enough for pole position.

Further penalties were dished out after the session had finished, affecting the starting grid for the Sprint. Zak O’Sullivan was found to have impeded another driver and will drop three positions (from P7 to P10), while Christian Mansell will also drop three places for crossing the white lines on pit entry.

Championship leader Gabriel Bortoleto continued his long run of form with third in Qualifying. Thanks to O’Sullivan’s penalty, he will start this race in ninth.

Opening laps

The heavens opened overnight and into the morning. All 30 drivers bolted on the wet tyres for what would be a wet and slippery race.

21 laps of action for the Sprint, and it would be Marti who led the way into the first corner. Oliver Goethe stalled on his grid slot from P4, dropping to the foot of the field.

Frederick and Mini side-by-side through much of the first lap, with the former claiming second place. Aron profited off of the tussle directly in front, also making his way past Mini.

A few drivers off the track on the opening lap, including Taylor Barnard and Alex Garcia, both of whom peeled into the pits.

The tricky conditions would prove difficult for some, as Saucy suffered several off-track excursions. The polesitter for the Feature race eventually tumbled to 28th and last of the runners.

Bortoleto with a disappointing start to the race, falling to 12th. The reason later determined to be the Brazilian hitting the pit limiter button on one of the straights

By lap four, Marti had opened up a three-second advantage over Frederick, with Aron in third.

The sixth lap saw Campos Racing driver Hugh Barter spin on the final corner as he fell into last place.

Impressive racing between Bortoleto and Mansell for 11th from lap seven, but their constant battling allowed Dino Beganovic to close in on the pair.

Aron stuck on the gearbox of Frederick since the start of the race, as the Estonian finally made his way past for second position on lap eight.

Frederick was seemingly struggling to extract the maximum out of his ART Grand Prix, as Mini followed by Collet making their way past him. Frederick down to fifth.

An interesting development from Aron, over a second faster per lap than leader Marti. The latter’s engineer hopped on the radio to tell the Spaniard to up his pace as soon as possible.

Safety Car restart

Further back, Franco Colapinto failed to get his car stopped, dropping from seventh all the way to 19th.

Not soon after on lap 12, contact between Oliver Gray and Rafael Villagomez would bring out the first Safety Car of the race.

Marti, Aron and Mini the top three as the Safety Car pulled in at the end of lap 13. The race leader maintained first into Turn 1.

The track was beginning to dry as the race reached it’s latter stages; would this change the complexion of the race?

The closing stages

Aron less than a second behind Marti up front, but Aron was shown a black-and-white for track limits. One more excursion out of the white lines and he would receive a penalty.

Frederick continued to lose positions, as O’Sullivan and Jonny Edgar made their way past the American.

Three-tenths the gap between Marti and Aron at the start of lap 17. They would go side-by-side at the final sector, allowing Mini to join in on the action. The top four separated by less than half a second!

Three-wide into Turn 3, with Aron taking the lead of the race and Mini finding himself in second ahead of Marti. Collet stalking just behind in fourth.

Marti’s tyres looked completely shot with a couple of laps to go, as Collet made his way into the final podium spot. O’Sullivan and Edgar also overtook the #23 Campos Racing; a frustrating end to the race for the Spaniard.

An impressive race win for Aron from eighth on the gird, especially after a cruel Qualifying session. Mini and Collet round out the podium.

Sprint race final classification

Full results can be found here.

Feature Image Credit: @Formula3 on Twitter

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