F1 Academy: Amna Al Qubaisi seals second win of the season after perfect run in Barcelona race 2
Amna Al Qubaisi became the second F1 Academy driver to win more than one race, leading from start to finish in Barcelona race 2 – completing MP Motorsport’s stellar day.
F1 Academy’s second day at Barcelona was action filled, with two qualifying sessions and two races – which brought a new race winner as well as a returning one.
Amna Al Qubaisi has in fact sealed her second win of the season after a perfect race 2 in Barcelona – where she grabbed the lead at the start and never looked back.
Nerea Marti was starting from reverse grid pole position in the 20 minute race, held on Saturday afternoon. The start, initially scheduled for 7pm, was further delayed due to a red flag in the previous FRECA race, which resulted in a dusk F1 Academy race, as temperatures dropped and clouds intensified over Circuit de Catalunya.
Bianca Bustamante and Marta Garcia lined up on the second row of the grid – as both Prema drivers were looking to score big points. Bustamante, unfortunately, had a very strong start, but after a few metres had to brake due to a slow start for pole sitter Marti. Bustamante’s car stalled, but was luckily avoided by the whole pack.
With a perfect launch, Amna Al Qubaisi couldn’t miss the opportunity to take the lead and, while Marta Garcia was also menacing into turn 1, the Emirati completed the first lap ahead of Marti, Garcia, Pulling and Buhler – who had both passed Hamda Al Qubaisi.
Bustamante was fast and set the fastest lap while trying to recover; she overtook Caceres and Chong in the first three laps.
Ahead, Amna Al Qubaisi and Nerea Marti were separated by half a second, after the latter had regrouped after the difficult start. Behind them, Garcia, Pulling, Buhler and Hamda Al Qubaisi all battled for third.
Hamda attempted a pass on Buhler on lap 5, but the Swiss driver defended well. The leading duo, meanwhile, had opened a two second gap to Marta Garcia, who had also checked out from the small train of cars she led, settling in third.
Bustamante continued to make progress, clearly showing some good pace, and overtook Edgar on lap 7 and Gilkes on lap 9.
Marti, meanwhile, was pushing to catch Amna Al Qubaisi, but the Emirati remained in control. In a similar issue like in race 1 for race leader Léna Buhler, Marti hit trouble with a few laps to go, when she slowed down due to a gearbox issue. Nerea initially lost second to Marta Garcia – and then was soon caught by Pulling, Buhler and Hamda Al Qubaisi. With a damaged gearbox, Marti could do nothing to keep them at bay, but still managed to hold on to sixth.
After 10 laps, Amna Al Qubaisi secured her second win of the season – and her third in single-seaters – four seconds ahead of Marta Garcia and Abbi Pulling. Al Qubaisi thus becomes only the second driver to win two races in F1 Academy, with Garcia claiming three. The victory also allows Amna to return to third in the championship standings, only 5 points behind her sister Hamda.
Léna Buhler was fourth after the heartbreaking first race, still showcasing her speed ahead of tomorrow’s third race, where she will start from pole position.
Following an overall unlucky day, Hamda Al Qubaisi was fifth and preceded Nerea Marti – who had several technical issues since the start of the season and lost third in the points.
From tenth on the grid, Chloe Grant had another positive race and scored points; the Scottish driver is emerging as one of the most consistent of the midfield and kept race 1 winner Emely de Heus at bay. De Heus scored one more point in Race 2, now bringing her total to 32 after one of the most memorable days in her career so far.
On the final lap, Bustamante attacked Carrie Schreiner at Turn 12, but tangled with the ART GP driver and spun; with nowhere to go, Chloe Chong couldn’t avoid the spinning car of her teammate and the two crashed out of the race.
Schreiner still finished tenth, ahead of Megan Gilkes, Jessica Edgar and Maite Caceres.
The Uruguayan had good battles in race 2 and, towards the end of the race, she had very promising pace – which brings good hopes for race 3.
After eight races, Marta Garcia extended her lead to 45 points over Hamda Al Qubaisi, and 50 to Amna Al Qubaisi. Abbi Pulling, on a three-podium streak, is making up ground and has now moved ahead of Marti by one point. Léna Buhler also remains in the fight – and will start Race 3 from pole position after a brilliant qualifying this morning.
Alongside Buhler we will find Hamda Al Qubaisi, eager to get some redemption after an unlucky day. On row two, Marta Garcia and Abbi Pulling will also aim for the win in the final 30 minute race of the Barcelona weekend, scheduled for 11:05 local time.