Hamda Al Qubaisi, Bianca Bustamante and Marta Garcia were the race winners in the second F1 Academy round at Valencia.
Prema’s Marta Garcia started the weekend by topping both qualifying sessions, but track limits abuse was a big problem and stewards did not get time do delete all of the invalid laptimes before the two sessions were over.
The top three drivers in Q1 all lost their fastest laps, with Garcia being left with no valid laptimes, team-mate Bustamante dropping from second to eighth and Rodin Carlin’s Abbi Pulling falling from third to the back as like Garcia she had all of her timed laps deleted.
That meant Campos Racing’s Nerea Marti inherited race one pole ahead of Hamda Al Qubaisi and Chloe Grant. It did not take long for Al Qubaisi to hit the front on the opening lap, and she told Formula Scout about how she got ahead.
“I just had a really good launch, and it was kind of an easy pass on the straight,” she explained. “It was just about managing the tyres at the end [after that].”
Al Qubaisi comfotably won over Marti, while her sister Amna Al Qubaisi lost third to a five-second penalty for abusing track limits and was classified seventh. ART Grand Prix’s Lena Buhler inherited the final podium spot.
Garcia recovered to sixth and Pulling to 10th, while Chloe Chong and Emely de Heus both got 10s track limits penalties. Chong failed to finish the race.
Bustamante had the reversed-grid pole for race two, and led Buhler early on as Amna and Hamda Al Qubaisi jumped up to third and fourth. Marti pitted after one lap, and de Heus was black flagged into retirement.
The Al Qubaisi sisters swapped places, while Bustamante held off Buhler for victory. This time Pulling finished a distant 12th.
Garcia retained her pole position for race three and converted it into a points lead-extending win over Martin.
Pulling held off Buhler for third, and a five-second penalty for Grant meant her fifth place turned into 11th and instead Hamda Al Qubaisi finished fifth just ahead of her sister.
Jessica Edgar recieved a black-and-orange flag early on, Maite Caceres was penalised 10s, Lola Lovinfosse stopping on track led to a mid-race safety car period and there was finally late drama when Chong and Megan Gilkes had a race-ending incident.
Race 1 (17 laps)
1 Hamda Al Qubaisi MP Motorsport 27m02.443s
2 Nerea Marti Campos Racing +7.163s
3 Lena Buhler ART Grand Prix +9.534s
4 Chloe Grant ART Grand Prix +13.199s
5 Bianca Bustamante Prema +16.529s
6 Marta Garcia Prema +16.908s
7 Amna Al Qubaisi MP Motorspot +18.750s
8 Megan Gilkes Carlin +26.686s
9 Jessica Edgar Carlin +28.036s
10 Lola Lovinfosse Campos Racing +28.694s
Pole: Marti, 1m35.220s
Fastest lap: H Al Qubaisi, 1m34.809s
Race 2 (11 laps)
1 Bustamante 18m49.969s
2 Buhler +0.741s
3 H Al Qubaisi +1.153s
4 A Al Qubaisi +5.144s
5 Garcia +5.373s
6 Chloe Chong Prema +7.519s
7 Grant +8.953s
8 Lovinfosse +10.302s
9 Edgar +11.750s
10 Maite Caceres Campos Racing +15.371s
FL: H Al Qubaisi, 1m35.709s
Race 3 (17 laps)
1 Garcia 28m05.291s
2 Marti +1.021s
3 Abbi Pulling Carlin +4.151s
4 Buhler +4.548s
5 H Al Qubaisi +9.425s
6 A Al Qubaisi +9.966s
7 Bustamante +10.449s
8 Carrie Schreiner ART Grand Prix +11.510s
9 Edgar +15.148s
10 Emely de Heus MP Motorsport +15.837s
P: Garcia, 1m34.683s
FL: Garcia, 1m34.834s
1 Garcia 96 2 H Al Qubaisi 71 3 Marti 54 4 Buhler 51 5 A Al Qubaisi 49 6 Bustamante 44 7 Pulling 41 8 Edgar 22 9 Grant 19 10 Gilkes 15