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British F4: Abbi Pulling scores top-5 after charging second race in Snetterton

Abbi Pulling recovered from a challenging qualifying in the third round of the British F4 championship to score a top five in race 2, charging from 14th on the grid - then added two more top ten finishes, collecting a good haul of points at Snetterton.

Abbi Pulling, Rodin Motorsport, 2024 British F4, Snetterton
Photo credits: Jakob Ebrey Photography

Abbi Pulling recovered from a challenging qualifying in the third round of the 2024 ROKiT British Formula 4 championship to score a top five in race 2, charging from 14th on the grid - then added two more top ten finishes, collecting a healthy haul of points as she leaves Snetterton.

Pulling made history at the previous round in Brands Hatch when the Alpine Academy junior - who also leads the F1 Academy championship standings - took a breakthrough victory, becoming the first ever woman to win in the series' history. Pulling finished in the top 10 in seven races out of eight so far, and sits fifth in the drivers' championship.

Having showcased her speed at Brands Hatch, the Rodin Motorsport driver headed to Snetterton aiming to carry momentum and certainly the free practice session proved that she would again be among the front runners: Pulling was in fact third fastest in the first practice, three tenths from pacesetter Deagen Fairclough, and then fourth fastest in FP2, further improving by 3 tenths on her personal best.

Potential for a strong qualifying was therefore there, and Abbi aimed for the front rows on Saturday morning with clear speed for the podium.

Unfortunately, a yellow flag on her fastest lap meant that she lost the chance for a good run: "In qualifying I ended up in the top ten, however I got a lap time taken off due to an incident with the yellow flags that we lifted for, but unfortunately my times were taken away", she explained. "We ended up starting a bit out of position". She would line up eleventh in race 1, 14th in the reverse grid race and 13th in the final contest of the weekend.

The Snetterton round threw all sorts of weather conditions to the drivers: on a damp track, Pulling immediately gained two positions at the start, then started hunting down Bart Harrison. When the latter dropped down the order, Pulling continued to move forward, before the intervention of the safety car neutralized the race for the stranded car of Mika Abrahams.

The race resumed with a handful of minutes left on the clock and Abbi was now putting pressure on Yuanpu Cui - as both tried to find a way past Ella Lloyd. The latter, though, held on with determination and positions remained unchanged until the chequered flag: Abbi Pulling brought home another top ten with ninth in race 1, scoring two points.

The track was fully wet for Sunday's race 2, which featured a reverse grid from the qualifying best-lap, in a top-12 inversion as per new format. Pulling slotted into P14, which would force the young Brit to a charge through the grid.

And that's exactly what she did: the Rodin Motorsport driver immediately picked up three places at the start, and closed in on Bergstrom and Lloyd. Very hectic laps followed, and with conditions worsening drivers struggled to keep it on track. Pulling was flawless and gained four more places by lap 4, continuing an impressive recovery in very challenging conditions.

The safety car was eventually deployed - and she moved further up to sixth when Lloyd spun.

The race was back to green with two and a half minutes to go and Abbi was now right in the mix for the battle for the podium: she climbed to fifth when Harrison dropped down and tried to challenge Ninovic in the final lap.

Yuanpu Cui had meanwhile stretched his legs and survived a chaotic race to take his first win in the series, ahead of Sherwood and Fairclough. Abbi Pulling crossed the finish line in P5 - thus making up nine positions from the start. This outstanding charge gained her 15 points.

Race 3 in the afternoon was yet another challenge for the drivers, who started on slicks but soon faced a thunderstorm after a handful of laps.

Ninovic and Fairclough battled for the lead at the start - with the latter being squeezed off track and damaging his rear wing.

A stellar getaway for Pulling saw the driver of the #9 machine making up six positions over the course of the opening lap alone. The safety car was in fact soon deployed for the stranded car of Robinson; at the restart with 10 minutes to go Pulling immediately set purple sectors and was on course to gain more positions to charge once again back in the top five, when the rain started to fall once again and, with cars going off on slicks, the red flag was eventually waved and half points awarded.

With seventh place in race 3, Pulling completed three races in the top ten, bouncing back from a challenging qualifying - and will be aiming to improve her starting positions in the coming rounds to showcase her full potential.

"Throughout the race weekend we made 18 places, so it just goes to show that we've got pace to be at the front we just need to get that qualifying sorted", she summed up.

British Formula 4 will return to the track on 8-9 June at Thruxton Circuit.



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