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F1 Academy: Doriane Pin storms to victory in Jeddah Race 1

Mercedes AMG junior Doriane Pin survived a safety car restart and stormed to a lights-to-flag victory in Jeddah's race 1, holding off a quick Abbi Pulling until the chequered flag. Maya Weug completed the podium of an action-filled race 1.

Doriane Pin, Prema Racing, F1 Academy
Photo courtesy: Formula Motorsport Ltd

Friday at Jeddah started off as we left one day ago: with Doriane Pin on top of the leaderboard. After claiming her first pole positions in dominant fashion, the 20-year-old French star has taken her first race win at F1 Academy debut - therefore scoring her third race win in F4 since making her first start in November.

Pin, an established driver in endurance racing with victories in class GT World Challenge, ELMS and a podium finisher in WEC, has taken the world of F1 Academy by storm following her deal with Mercedes, quickly becoming one of the title favourites.

With drivers completing a three day test two weeks ago at the Saudi circuit, everyone entered the 2024 season opener with some track time under their belt - and Doriane Pin ended the sole practice session on top, beating Abbi Pulling's previous best testing time.

Pin then converted that pace into a double pole position in the Saudi night, finishing an extraordinary 8 tenths clear of everyone on her fastest lap, and six tenths clear on her second-best lap that will shape the grid of race 2. Only Abbi Pulling was able to get under the one second gap.

In a revised format that this year only features two races instead of three - and with a reverse grid race axed - every point will count in the battle for the title, as well as in the midfield, which looks extremely close and competitive. Behind Pin, in fact, all drivers are looking in a position to score points - including an impressive rookie Lia Block, who despite only having a handful of F4 weekends in her resumé was in contention for the top five in qualifying.

The highly anticipated first race of the season started with an extra formation lap, as the starting procedure was aborted on the grid. The adrenaline went through the roof as lights went out and Doriane Pin held off Pulling and Weug - who had a good start but couldn't get around the Alpine car.

Bustamante had a little contact and went wide - then had to defend from Chambers, as the Haas driver had already gained a spot over her compatriot Lia Block, seventh on the grid. Tina Hausmann also made up one place on the first lap and passed Jess Edgar into the final corner to take P10.

Bustamante struggled with what she initially thought was a puncture - and had a big train of cars right behind looking to get through; Chambers made a move stick on lap 3, but Bianca went deep and then had to hand over the position.

The safety car was deployed soon after, when Reema Juffali lost the car under braking at turn 4 and hit the wall - unfortunately collecting Amna Al Qubaisi in the process. Both cars made it to the pits for a front wing change and continued - although Amna's race was ultimately compromised, having lost over 20 seconds to the pack.

Doriane Pin perfectly managed the restart one lap later, as Weug attacked Pulling around the outside of turn 1 but had to desist. Chambers was also all over the back of Lovinfosse's Charlotte Tilbury car - and Hamda Al Qubaisi completed a brilliant pass around the outside of Carrie Schreiner. A slight contact for Aurelia Nobels dropped the Puma car behind both Hausmann and Edgar in the first hectic laps.

After an initial difficult restart, Lovinfosse was soon back up to pace and started to put pressure on her former teammate Nerea Marti - but there was more action just behind, when Tina Hausmann attacked Lia Block at the final corner and a three-wide battle ended up with Jessica Edgar picking up a puncture.

Hamda Al Qubaisi was aiming for more progress and this sparked a lengthy duel with Aurelia Nobels; both ran wide and had to swap places - as Schreiner joined the party for the final point scoring position. Al Qubaisi did get tenth when Lia Block spun and hit the barriers with two laps to go, which unfortunately brought her very promising debut race to an early end.

There were more twists and turns on the final lap, when Nerea Marti was hit by Lola Lovinfosse while comfortably in fourth place - resulting in Chloe Chambers moving into P4.

Amidst some frantic action, Doriane Pin always kept her cool and stormed to a lights-to-flag victory, never really under pressure from Abbi Pulling, who nevertheless scored the extra point for the fastest lap - the only under the 2:05 mark - and kept the gap under the one second.

Maya Weug completed the podium in a solid race for the Ferrari Driver Academy racer, who was 4.7 seconds ahead of Chloe Chambers - in a highly positive and mature drive from eighth on the grid.

Despite the final lap accident Lola Lovinfosse still crossed the line in fifth, preceding Bianca Bustamante and Tina Hausmann. Aurelia Nobels survived the attacks from Hamda Al Qubaisi and was eighth; the Emirati made up four places and collected 2 points despite the challenging start of the weekend for the whole MP Motorsport team.

Carrie Schreiner scores the final point of the day, having kept a fast Reema Juffali in the closing stages of the race; the Saudi driver was in fact only three tenths away from a top ten, having last raced in single seaters in 2021. Emely de Heus was 12th, less than a second behind, and Amna Al Qubaisi rounded out the finishers after the third lap accident.

Nerea Marti, Jessica Edgar and Lia Block all had proved to be potential front-runners and will be eyeing to bounce back in race 2 on Saturday.

Doriane Pin will line up from pole position once again, alongside Abbi Pulling and Maya Weug. Lola Lovinfosse will start from fourth ahead of Nerea Marti and Chloe Chambers - who has the chance to get away two places ahead compared to race 1. Hausmann will start from seventh, with Nobels, Edgar and Bustamante in the first five rows of the grid.

Race 2 is scheduled for 15:05 local time.

UPDATE: Lola Lovinfosse was handed a 10 second penalty and thus drops to P8, promoting Bustamante to P5, Hausmann to P6 and Nobels to P7.



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