Emely de Heus won the first F1 Academy race at Barcelona after a gearbox problem sidelined leader Lena Buhler three laps from the finish.
Sauber junior Buhler made a perfect getaway from the outside of the front row to outdrag polesitter de Heus off the line and take the lead into the opening corner.
Behind them, Rodin Carlin’s Abbi Pulling lost third to MP Motorsport’s Hamda Al Qubaisi, with the Prema duo of Marta Garcia and Bianca Bustamente having to drop in behind them.
Although de Heus was initially able to close the gap to Buhler, the Swiss driver gradually began to eke out a comfortable lead of over two seconds, with a further gap back to Al Qubaisi in third.
The opening 10 laps featured little further racing action in the top 10, with the only overtaking at the back of the field as Carrie Schreiner made up three places having dropped to the back of the field on the opening lap.
Pulling did move ahead of Al Qubaisi for third on lap 10, with the latter pitting at the end of the following lap with mechanical issues.
However, despite being in clean air the Alpine junior was unable to make any ground on the leading pair, dropping two seconds back from de Heus.
On lap 14, the bitterly disappointed Buhler was forced to pull off at Turn 5, robbing her of her maiden career win in single-seaters. As she made her way back to the pits, an understandably frustrated Buhler told Formula Scout that her retirement was due to a broken gearbox.
However, the ART Grand Prix driver’s misfortune promoted MP’s de Heus, 14th of the 15 drivers in the standings after the first two rounds, to victory ahead of Pulling.
Garcia held off a late challenge from her team-mate Bustamente to hold onto the final podium position and to extend her points lead. MP’s Amna Al Qubaisi and Campos Racing’s Nerea Marti completed the top six.
Race result (16 laps)
|1||Emely de Heus||MP Motorsport||27m38.443s|
|5||Amna Al Qubaisi||MP Motorsport||+7.211s|
|6||Nerea Marti||Campos Racing||+7.801s|
|7||Chloe Grant||ART Grand Prix||+10.781s|
|8||Lola Lovinfosse||Campos Racing||+13.037s|
|9||Carrie Schreiner||ART Grand Prix||+16.764s|
|13||Maite Caceres||Campos Racing||+29.415s|
|Ret||Lena Buhler||ART Grand Prix|
|Ret||Hamda Al Qubaisi||MP Motorsport|
|Fastest lap: Buhler, 1m42.366s