Heartbreak after a perfect Friday for Lena Bühler at Jarama
Updated: Nov 8
Some technical problems and the tricky mixed weather conditions at Jarama overturned Léna Bühler's weekend, after her Friday's outstanding qualifying performances.
Coming from her best seasonal result just conquered last weekend in Motorland Aragon, Léna Bühler hit track at Jarama circuit for the sixth round of the 2020 Spanish F4 Championship.
With a strong performance on Friday, the Swiss driver secured a starting position on the first row of the grid for both Race 1 and Race 2, only behind polesitter Kas Haverkort.
This was the best ever qualifyng result for the Drivex lady, that confirmed her very positive start of the weekend by clinching an equally remarkable P4 in the second qualifying session.
Race 1 went green on Saturday morning and drivers found different track conditions compared to the previous sessions: the rain had fell down overnight and forced the F4 competitors to a wet start of the race - the first of the season.
Kas Haverkort had a positive start and immediately led the field into Turn 1, while behind his, Dufek had a good reaction from third that allowed him to pass Léna Bühler for second place.
Goethe stalled on the grid from the second row and rejoined at the tail-end of the pack.
After the opening lap, Léna Bühler started to drop back in the challenging track conditions, as she lost third place to Mari Boya on the main straight.
Ten Brinke overtook the Swiss lady for fourth on the following lap again at Turn 1, while Formula De Campeones' Bordàs made the pass on Bühler a few corners later, as Léna had seemed to miss straight line speed.
At the same time, the train composed by Oliveira, Goethe, Joullie and Martinez battled for P8 in the midfield, while race leader started to pull away and put over a second margin between him and the rest of his competitors.
In the following laps, Pallot, Oliveira and Martinez reduced the gap to Léna Bühler, and the ten Brinke/Bordàs duo remained close for P4.
The three podium spots were always clearly in the hands of Haverkort, Dufek and Boya, with comfortable gaps between them.
In the final stages, Martinez passed Bühler at turn 1 after the Drivex racer went off in the gravel. She dropped to P12 - few laps before her Race 1 came to an early stop at Turn 8 when she reported a throttle issue.
Dutch driver Kas Haverkort won in commanding fashion, ahead of Joshua Dufek and Mari Boya in an all-MP Motorsport podium.
The rain was back just a few minutes before the start of Race 2 and the weekend of Léna Bühler just turned from bad to worse.
On the line up lap, the young lady suffered another incident with the stuck throttle that didn't allow her to take the start from the front row - continuing an unbelievably difficult Saturday at Jarama.
From pole, Kas Haverkort had again the best start off the line and dominated without rivals.
Behind the Dutch driver, Oliver Goethe and Mari Boya dropped towards the end of the field after a contact that involved both the MP Motorsport drivers at the first corner.
More messy actions continued and, on the following lap, the Safety Car was called out when Shameli and Martinez retired, with also the contact between Pallot and Joullie requiring the marshals to move the stricken MP Motorsport car.
After a long Safety Car period, the action restarted and Boya spun just as he was moving ahead of Pallot; the French driver's car had in fact continued without damages following the previous contact.
Haverkort was unchallenged into the lead, followed by Dufek in second and ten Brinke in third. The MP Motorsport trio ended again on the podium when the race was definitely declared stopped with a red flag in the final minute, as Pallot and Goethe were protagonists of another incident at Turn 1.
The third and final race of the weekend saw the double-race winner Haverkort starting from pole, alongside Mari Boya on the first row and in front of Goethe and Bühler who saw the green lights from P3 and P4 respectively.
The Danish driver advanced to second with a great start and ten Brinke from fifth overtook Léna Bühler.
Kas Haverkort extended his comfortable margin early on, while behind him the fight for second between Goethe, Boya and ten Brinke was very tight.
On the second lap, the two Global Racing Services teammates made contact and Mexican Alejandro Garcia was forced to retire.
Race 3 was neutralized on lap 3 when Bordàs got stuck in the gravel at Turn 1. A few moments before, Léna Bühler had dropped to P8 after consistently running in the top 5 until that moment.
Both Boya and ten Brinke made successful moves on Oliver Goethe and the MP teammates battled for the podium just before the Safety Car was called into action.
With 13 minutes to go, Boya tried - unsuccesfully - to take the leadership at Turn 1 after the restart, but lost out second place from ten Brinke.
Concluding a nightmarish Saturday, Bühler had her race cut short once again after she went off at Turn 1. Lorenzo Fluxa had the same fate two corners later on the same lap.
The action restarted with 5 minutes left on the clock after yet another Safety Car and, despite the gaps separating the field were still narrow, no positions changed until the chequered flag.
MP Motorsport impressively locked out the top-6, testament of today's competitive advantage from the Dutch team in such track conditions.
Drivex's Paul-Adrien Pallot was the first not MP driver and finished in P7.
Started in the best possible way with her strongest qualifying performances so far, Léna Bühler's Jarama weekend was completely overturned in the mixed weather conditions.
"What a sad day" - commented Léna.
"In Race 1 and 2 I had a problem with the throttle [which] stayed blocked when I wanted to release the pedal. Race 3 difficult conditions with wet and dry track, some mistakes!"
"Best to remember it's my qualification with two times P2 and P4. The speed is there on the dry. Now we have to learn better with rainy conditions with more practice."
What certainly remains, is indeed her remarkable improvement in qualifying and her continous pace on dry track, which is undoubtedly very encouraging as the series moves to Barcelona.
The final round of the 2020 Spanish F4 championship will in fact be contested next weekend at Circuit de Catalunya, where the young drivers will hit the track for the third week in a row.