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F1 Academy: Home hero Nerea Martí leads FP1

Nerea Martí was fastest in the first practice session of the F1 Academy round at her home track in Valencia, preceding Abbi Pulling and Léna Bühler.


Photo by: F1 Academy Limited

Valencian Nerea Martí topped the first practice session of the F1 Academy second round, held at her home track of Circuit Ricardo Tormo.


Martí (Campos Racing) had also finished on top on the morning Thursday testing session and is looking strong for a big result this weekend, having been denied a podium on the championship’s curtain-raiser last weekend due to a post-race penalty.


Alpine Academy driver Abbi Pulling led the early pace for Rodin Carlin, but it would be Nerea Martí to return to the top of the leaderboard half-way through the session – and never gave up the position until the end of the 40 minute session.


Léna Bühler was fastest of anyone in the first sector – with Amna Al Qubaisi setting the fastest third sector overall soon after. The Emirati sisters, flying the flag of MP Motorsport, were first and second at the end of Thursday and tried to keep momentum.


Hamda moved up to third with 13 minutes to go, before Bühler improved again. The youngest of the Al Qubaisi sisters then improved again her sector 2, but couldn’t gain back third.


It was a very positive start of the weekend for Uruguayan Maite Caceres, coming off an unfortunate season opener when a testing accident really hampered her chances and limited her track time in Austria.

Caceres, though, already knows the Ricardo Tormo Circuit – the venue of her European debut in February, where she scored a top-10 in Formula Winter Series – and the early results are encouraging: she held on to fifth place for most of the session, albeit a track limit infringement cost her some time in the session.


Chloe Chong and Lola Lovinfosse were also experimenting with track limits and had several laps deleted.


Times dropped in the final minutes; Carrie Schreiner moved into the top five – eventually demoted to sixth by Bianca Bustamante.

Nerea Martí set the new benchmark in 1:34.416, extending the gap to Pulling’s best effort by over 2 tenths.


The FP1 best reference, though, was still four tenths off Hamda Al Qubaisi’s best lap on Thursday.

Abbi Pulling and Léna Bühler finished second and third, with Hamda Al Qubaisi and Bianca Bustamante rounding out the top five. Schreiner had a solid run, followed by her ART Grand Prix teammate Chloe Grant, who set a timed lap only in the closing minutes. The Scottish had a technical issue on Thursday that cost her some running time, but she seems to be not far off a potential top five on pace.


Maite Caceres finished eighth fastest, ahead of Amna Al Qubaisi and Lola Lovinfosse – with ten drivers within one second from the leader. Emely de Heus was P11 and preceded Megan Gilkes, Chloe Chong, Jessica Edgar and current championship leader Marta García – who only completed 3 laps.


All three Prema cars, in fact, had very limited running and were likely not looking for performance, with tyre strategy likely playing a role later on in the weekend.


The second practice session is scheduled for 12:30 local time.

P1

Nerea Martí

Campos Racing

1:34.416

P2

Abbi Pulling

Rodin Carlin

1:34.684

+0.268

P3

Léna Bühler

ART Grand Prix

1:34.833

+0.417

P4

Hamda Al Qubaisi

MP Motorsport

1:34.895

+0.479

P5

Bianca Bustamante

Prema Racing

1:34.917

+0.501

P6

Carrie Schreiner

ART Grand Prix

1:35.019

+0.603

P7

Chloe Grant

ART Grand Prix

1:35.187

+0.771

P8

Maite Caceres

Campos Racing

1:35.279

+0.863

P9

Amna Al Qubaisi

MP Motorsport

1:35.302

+0.886

P10

Lola Lovinfosse

Campos Racing

1:35.470

+1.054

P11

Emely De Heus

MP Motorsport

1:35.556

+1.140

P12

Megan Gilkes

Rodin Carlin

1:35.810

+1.394

P13

Chloe Chong

Prema Racing

1:35.867

+1.451

P14

Jessica Edgar

Rodin Carlin

1:36.156

+1.740

P15

Marta Garcia

Prema Racing

1:40.340

+5.924


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