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F1 Academy: Pulling takes double pole at Barcelona, front row for Chambers

Abbi Pulling secured her third and fourth pole positions of the season in an intense qualifying session at Circuit de Catalunya: the Alpine Academy driver preceded a brilliant Chloe Chambers, who will start both races from the front row.


Abbi Pulling, Rodin Motorsport, F1 Academy, 2024 Barcelona Spanish GP
Photo credits: James Gasperotti

After being the first series out on track on Friday morning, F1 Academy wrapped up Friday at Circuit de Catalunya in the late afternoon with a 30-minute qualifying session that set the grid for both races based on the quickest and second-quickest times.


Rodin Motorsport's Abbi Pulling secured her third and fourth pole positions of the season in an intense qualifying session at Circuit de Catalunya. The Alpine Academy driver preceded a brilliant Chloe Chambers, who will start both races from the front row. Home hero Nerea Marti and Doriane Pin followed, as the Frenchwoman was back at the front after her injury.


Carrie Schreiner had a very positive practice in the morning with a P7, and the German was the first driver to post a lap time in qualifying. This was then topped by FP1 stars Abbi Pulling and Bianca Bustamante. Hamda Al Qubaisi and Chloe Chambers further improved as times dropped.


After a tricky start to the weekend, Pin set new record sectors and was the first driver to run under the 1:42 minute mark, with a 1:41.988 that put the Mercedes junior on top, ahead of Hamda Al Qubaisi. Chambers, however, found a few more hundredths of a second and claimed the top spot with 18 minutes to go, before everyone made their way back to the pits to fit in a new set of tyres for the second half of the session.


The first driver to improve in the closing minutes was McLaren's Bianca Bustamante, who was quickest with a 1:41.921 - five thousandths of a second faster than Chambers - and grabbed the new provisional pole. Pulling, however, was setting new purple sectors and found three more seconds to clock the new benchmark.


Nerea Marti had a stellar lap and beat Pulling, but the home hero's lead lasted only a few seconds before her Campos Racing teammate Chloe Chambers was back ahead.

The track improved significantly in the final minutes, and Pulling wasn't ready to give up quite yet: the Alpine driver was not to be denied and secured pole position with a 1:41.396, less than a tenth ahead of a brilliant Chloe Chambers, claiming her first start from the front row.


Nerea Marti was third and preceded Doriane Pin, who couldn't quite challenge her rivals on her final run, but her second-best lap would be enough for third.

Bianca Bustamante was fifth fastest, ahead of Swiss racer Tina Hausmann, who made a good step forward in the closing minutes, bouncing back from a tricky practice on a circuit that she has knowledge of.


It was a positive first day for Hamda Al Qubaisi, seventh on the grid for race 1 and fifth for the second race. While she couldn't take the battle for pole position to Pulling and Chambers, the Emirati seems to be back in the front-running positions after technical issues hampered her start of the season.


Lia Block continued her strong weekend with a P8 in qualifying, in yet another impressive run for the single-seater rookie who will start race 2 on Sunday from P6.

Jessica Edgar and Lola Lovinfosse made it to the top ten, both within one second of the pole sitter, in yet another tightly contested session. Last year's pole winner Emely de Heus will line up in P11, ahead of Maya Weug, as the FDA driver struggled with the balance of her car throughout Friday.


Amna Al Qubaisi preceded Carrie Schreiner and Aurelia Nobels, although gaps remained minimal throughout the field.


The biggest differences for the grid of race 2 will be Doriane Pin moving up to third, Hamda Al Qubaisi and Lia Block fifth and sixth respectively, while Bustamante will have to recover from eighth. Schreiner will gain two positions to P12, while Weug, Nobels, and Amna Al Qubaisi will aim to charge up the field.


The four points conquered in qualifying bring Abbi Pulling up to 103 points, 38 ahead of Pin.

The first race of the weekend is set to go green at 18:00 local time on Saturday at Circuit de Catalunya.

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