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F1 Academy: Abbi Pulling tops second practice at Miami

Alpine Academy's Abbi Pulling found more time in the second F1 Academy practice at Miami International Autodrome and was unbeaten in the second half of the session - although times remain very close with Doriane Pin and Campos teammates Nerea Marti and home hero Chloe Chambers not far behind.


Abbi Pulling, Rodin Motorsport, F1 Academy 2024, Miami Autodrome
Photo courtesy: Alpine Racing

Abbi Pulling was the driver to beat in the second practice session at Miami International Autodrome, after the British racer had followed Doriane Pin by 70 thousandths of a second in the morning session. Timed continued to be extremely close and the track evolution meant that more and more drivers went below the 2 minute mark in the second 40 minute session - which saw Campos Racing teammates Nerea Marti and Chloe Chambers also reaching the battle for the top three.


In the morning, the F1 Academy Tatuus cars were the first to hit the track and the very green surface resulted in a few drivers struggling for grip. Conditions improved in the afternoon, but the leading duo was unchanged: Abbi Pulling and Doriane Pin traded positions at the top, before the Alpine Academy driver remained unbeaten in the second half of the session.


All drivers were out early in the session to maximize their track time on a circuit where it is crucial to get the maximum out of practice. Bianca Bustamante - who had a very positive FP1 where she was third fastest - set the pace after the first run, already on a competitive time as the track continued to evolve after F1 and Porsche Carrera Cup North America's sessions. Doriane Pin and Abbi Pulling were not far behind - despite the British driver having a close call with the wall.


The duel from the previous session resumed in full force: Pin climbed the leaderboard - after having a lap previously deleted being reinstated - before Pulling topped Doriane's time by 4 hundredths of a second.


Hamda Al Qubaisi made good improvements and closed in on the top three, slotting in between Bustamante in third and Nerea Marti in fifth with 25 minutes to go. Maya Weug started to put in quick times and made it to the top five, while also Nerea Marti made the most of her experience at the track - where she had previously claimed a pole position in W Series n 2022 - and moved up to third just before drivers pitted for a new set of tyres midway through the session.


With 20 minutes to go, five cars were separated by one tenth of a second - in one of the closest sessions to date. As drivers went back out, the Al Qubaisi sisters gained ground and moved into P7 and P8, just ahead of Jessica Edgar - now sporting the new American Express sponsorship after running a F1 Academy livery in Jeddah.


Pulling found more time and improved by seven tenths, setting the fastest lap of the day in 1:59.677. Campos teammates Chloe Chambers and Nerea Marti followed Pulling, with more drivers running for the first time under the 2 minute mark on new tyres. Lia Block survived a slide but kept it on track, while Bustamante locked up on her first push lap and missed out on a bigger improvement, as times continued to drop.


Home hero Chambers brought the Haas-sponsored car up to second, thus demoting her teammate Marti; the Spaniard fought back, but neither of them could get quite close enough to Pulling's 1:59.346. Despite feeling unwell, Abbi was unchallenged and improved again with a 1:59.237.


Right at the end of the session, Doriane Pin set a purple first sector, but lost two tenths in the middle sector; nevertheless, the Mercedes AMG junior could leapfrog the Campos drivers and slotted in second as the chequered flag fell.


Abbi Pulling established herself as one of the favourites for pole position - although she will surely have strong competition from Pin, as well as Marti and Chambers - who closed the day third and fourth respectively.


Aurelia Nobels had a superb second session and stopped the clock on a 1:59.725 that placed her fifth fastest, ahead of Maya Weug and Bianca Bustamante. Amna Al Qubaisi also had a remarkable improvement in the closing stages and was well within the top ten, preceding MP Motorsport and Red Bull teammates Emely de Heus and Hamda Al Qubaisi. Just one second off the top of the timing sheets, Tina Hausmann was P11 in the Aston Martin/Prema, ahead of Lola Lovinfosse, Lia Block and Jessica Edgar.


Carrie Schreiner wrestled with a car that seemed lacking grip; she was P15 and preceded Wild Card entry Courtney Crone, who had a clean session and impressed with a significant improvement from FP1 - now under the 2 second gap after a single test in the new gen Tatuus F4 car prior to the Miami event.


The second F1 Academy qualifying of the season is scheduled for Saturday morning at 10:25 local time: unlike last year, the starting grids for both races will be set by a single 30 minute qualifying, with the best and second-best laps shaping the starting orders. Race 1 will also take place on Saturday, at 14:05 local.

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