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Abbi Pulling completes perfect weekend with hat trick in Miami

Alpine Academy racer Abbi Pulling enjoyed a perfect weekend in Miami, scoring 57 out of 58 available points with two wins, two pole positions and a fastest lap - thus stretching her legs in the championship standings which she now leads by 34 points.


Abbi Pulling, Rodin Motorsport, F1 Academy 2024, Miami Autodrome
Photo credits: Formula Motorsport Ltd

Alpine Academy racer Abbi Pulling enjoyed a perfect weekend in Miami, scoring 57 out of 58 available points at the 5.412 km-long street circuit in Florida - thus stretching her legs in the championship standings which she now leads by 34 points over Doriane Pin.


After trading places at the top of the timing screens in FP1 with Pin, Pulling commanded every single session and completed two flawless races that offered plenty of action throughout the pack just behind her. Pin - who had claimed a second place in race 1, wasn't quite able to mount a challenge in both races and saw the Alpine-coloured Rodin motorsport car driving away. The French star would have to battle with Bianca Bustamante - who claimed a remarkable first podium of the season on Sunday.

 

With a slightly different starting grid compared to race 1, the 16 drivers hit the track for the final contest of the weekend at Miami International Autodrome: alongside championship leader Abbi Pulling it would be in fact McLaren-junior Bustamante, who had made a great recovery in race 1 after stalling on the grid to finish seventh, before a penalty demoted her to P9. Doriane Pin and Hamda Al Qubaisi shared the second row, ahead of Nerea Marti and Maya Weug - who both had shown great speed throughout the weekend.


At lights out, Pulling immediately shut the door on the inside as Bustamante had a great launch; behind them, Pin and Al Qubaisi followed closely, but it would be Chloe Chambers to be the star of the start once again: the American charged from eighth to fifth and then overtook Hamda Al Qubaisi at the end of the first lap with a dive into turn 17 to grab P4.


Aurelia Nobels attacked Maya Weug while she also defended from Marti - but the latter lost out to the opportunistic move of Lola Lovinfosse. The entire field was bunched up and positions constantly changed; at the front, though, Pulling, Bustamante and Pin attempted to drive away from the rest of the pack.


Unfortunately, Tina Hausmann was tagged by Lovinfosse and retired on the first lap for the second consecutive time. The Swiss driver has only completed one clean race this year, which she finished sixth, before being hit by bad luck.


Red Bull MP Motorsport teammates Amna Al Qubaisi and Emely de Heus fought side by side throughout the third lap - and the Emirati found a way past, having also gained the most places in race 1. This opened the door to Courtney Crone, as the Wild Card entry made a brilliant move on De Heus to snatch P15, although the Dutchwoman fought back.

Crone, though, remained in the pack and was ready to pick up the pieces from the busy field.


After a positive qualifying, Hamda Al Qubaisi started to struggle on race pace and saw Weug finding a way past her Red Bull car on lap 4. Aurelia Nobels had great speed and, while she tried to put pressure on Hamda, she had the aggressive Lovinfosse pushing behind. The two eventually made contact after a late move by the Frenchwoman at turn 17 which ended in tears, and both dropped down the order.

Lovinfosse was handed two 10 second time penalties for the incidents.


Ahead, Pin had Bustamante in her target - and that allowed Pulling to stretch her legs in the lead. The Filipina, though, closed every gap and defended masterfully: Pin could do nothing but slot behind.


Among the countless wheel-to-wheel battles, Jessica Edgar and Nerea Marti fought for seventh and, just behind them, Amna Al Qubaisi had again charged through the pack, having passed Lia Block and Carrie Schreiner - who were trading positions as well.


Edgar got a pass done - but Marti responded one lap later, although the Spaniard went wide into turn one, handing over P7 to the Brit. A few corners later, though, the AMEX-sponsored driver spun and dropped out of contention for the points-paying positions.


With Bustamante under pressure from Pin, Abbi Pulling extended her gap to 3.7 on the final lap and completed her Miami masterclass with a second light-to-flag victory. After taking her first win in F1 Academy - and in single seaters - in race 2 at Jeddah, Pulling has been the driver to beat and will head to Barcelona with a 34 point margin.


It was a redemption race for Bianca Bustamante, who held on brilliantly from the attacks of Doriane Pin to finish second - in her first podium of the season. Bianca also gained two positions in the drivers standings, as she now sits fifth with 39 points. Pin was third and maximized points on a weekend where the Prema Racing machines struggled on overall race pace. After her first F1 Academy podium on Saturday, home hero Chloe Chambers was the protagonist of another stunning performance: she recovered four positions and collected 12 points by finishing fourth.


Maya Weug had a solid weekend and secured a top five, preceding Hamda Al Qubaisi and Nerea Marti. After a very challenging start of the season, Al Qubaisi had a positive qualifying and a top five on Saturday - and will try to gather the positives from the second round to return to the positions where she belongs in the remaining rounds.


Her sister Amna was the biggest mover of the weekend: by recovering six places in each race, she had another stellar charge to finish eighth. The Emirati - a multiple race winner last year - is now up to P9 in the standings. Carrie Schreiner was ninth and came out ahead of a big train of cars battling for points. The German thus bounced back from a difficult first race - which is so far her only non-point-scoring result.


After a tricky qualifying, Emely de Heus gained five positions in race 2 alone to collect her first points of the season in tenth: Emely preceded Lia Block - who was once again close to the top ten - and Courtney Crone. The Californian enjoyed a highly positive weekend despite the minimal testing in the new-gen Tatuus F4 car and could battle all race in the pack, showing great versatility.

Aurelia Nobels' pace went unrewarded and was P13, ahead of Jessica Edgar and Lola Lovinfosse


F1 Academy will now head back to a permanent racetrack as Circuit de Catalunya will play host to the third round of the season on 22-23 June, for the first of two European meetings.



UPDATE: A post-race 5 second penalty for Emely de Heus dropped the Dutchwoman to P12 - therefore promoting Lia Block to tenth place. The American scored the first point of her F1 Academy career on home soil.

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