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  • Writer's pictureRACERS

Marta García, Doriane Pin make FRECA debut

Iron Dames made their FRECA debut at Hockenheim, with both drivers having a positive learning-oriented first outing; Doriane Pin enjoyed impressive qualifying sessions and Marta García moved forward in both races despite the multiple safety car disruptions, building crucial experience in one of the most competitive junior series.

Marta Garcia, Iron Dames, Formula Regional European Championship by Alpine, Hockenheim 2024
Photo credits: Dutch Photo Agency / Diederik van der Laan

Iron Dames Marta García and Doriane Pin made their debut in Formula Regional European Championship by Alpine at Hockenheimring, where the series kicked off its sixth season of competitions with a world-class entry list featuring some of the most promising junior drivers in single seaters in the world.

The weekend marked the debut of revolutionary project Iron Dames in FRECA, as the organization expands outside of endurance racing and has announced a 12 driver roster for the current racing season across sportscar racing, single seaters, rallying and karting.

Its FRECA driver line up is certainly turning heads, with two of the most talented female drivers currently racing in formulas.

García, 23, secured the crown in the inaugural season of F1 Academy, following a highly competitive and consistent season with Prema Racing, which saw the Spaniard taking seven wins, 12 podiums, 6 pole positions and 7 fastest laps over the seven triple headers. This accomplishment resulted in F1 Academy announcing a progression path for its inaugural champion, who received funding support to step up to FRECA.

Pin, 20, had already established herself as one of the leading young drivers in sportscars, both in GT and LMP2 machinery, before making her F4 debut at the end of 2023, when she took her first win in her second ever weekend. Having raced in both F4 SEA and F4 UAE – again with a victory to her name – Pin is also one of the protagonists of the all-female F1 Academy series, where she represents the Mercedes AMG.

Her FRECA debut marks the fifth championship for Pin this year, having also raced in part time programs in IMSA and FIA WEC as part of the Iron Dames line up – and will return behind the wheel of the magenta Lamborghini Huracan GT3 Evo2 for the upcoming 24 Hours of Le Mans.

García and Pin made significant improvement over the opening weekend of the FRECA season, starting from practice where they consistently worked their way up the order and reduced the gaps. Both drivers found almost half a second between practice sessions, and entered qualifying aiming to get closer to the top-20, in an over 30-car field covered by a little over 2 seconds.

Doriane Pin, Iron Dames, Formula Regional European Championship by Alpine, Hockenheim 2024
Photo credits: Dutch Photo Agency / Diederik van der Laan

In the first qualifying group, García set a 1:36.202 that placed her P12 in the group, led by Prema's Rafael Camara. In the second group, Doriane Pin had a brilliant first qualifying outing and was straight in the group top-10, setting the ninth fastest time in 1:35.957 that ended up being less than half a second off the overall pole position, claimed by R-Ace GP's Enzo Deligny.

Starting from P18 and P27 respectively, the Iron Dames aimed to make their way forward in the first race of the season.

The first laps weren't short of action, as positions changed by the second in the busy midfield; Camara took over the race lead from Deligny, and both Marta and Doriane lost a position after one lap of racing; García preceded fellow F1 Academy competitor Léna Bühler, who was making up places. Pin fell down to P23 on lap 4 – but she would recover one position when Evan Giltaire dropped down the order.

Marta also started to move up the field and, with better pace, she grabbed P24, then started to chase her Iron Dames teammate by lap 7 – although the Frenchwoman was determined to stay in front. The safety car was deployed on lap 9, when Teophile Nael's car came to a halt out of turn 12.

Camara led the restart on lap 12; Pin had a sterling restart and moved up into P21, passing Maschio and Toparis, as Marta had to settle in P23. Doriane had great pace in the final minutes of the race and challenged Andriolo, Liu and Lacorte – all battling at arm's length. While she tried to get past Andriolo, the Iron Dame lost out to Giovanni Maschio and was shuffled down to P22; Marta had also caught up with this group and was trying to pick up the pieces.

On the final lap, Carrasquedo was on the move and gained several positions, passing both and Pin and García – who eventually took the chequered flag to finish their first ever race in FRECA in P23 and P24 respectively.

Marta Garcia, Iron Dames, Formula Regional European Championship by Alpine, Hockenheim 2024
Photo credits: Dutch Photo Agency / Sebastiaan Rozendaal

On Sunday morning, Doriane once again gave proof of her qualifying skills in the Group B which was out on track first. With another really strong run, she reached the top ten in her group and would start race 2 from the top-20, with a 1:36.070 that was again just four tenths off the front row despite a mistake in sector three likely costing a top-12.

In group A, García was 16th fastest which resulted in a start form P29 on the grid. With group A marginally faster, James Wharton took pole position and would share the front row with Evan Giltaire.

At lights out, Pin had a tricky start and dropped to P27 over another chaotic first lap; García was also boxed in the first corners and fell down the order, but was soon on the move to recover positions. An issue for pole-sitter Wharton eventually resulted in a retirement for the Prema driver. Pin survived the first laps and started to recover, gaining two positions before the safety car was finally deployed. At the neutralization – brought out by the stricken car of Edgar Pierre – Pin sat in P22, one position ahead of teammate Marta García, who had also made significant progress and gained six places.

Giltaire led the 33 car pack at the restart, ahead of Camara, Domingues and Deligny - after a disastrous start had also seen Ugochukwu retiring from the race. Just as she was fighting for the top 20, Bühler was pushed off at the hairpin and, with a broken suspension, her race ended prematurely. The safety car again picked up the pack, this time with Pin in P23 and Garcia in P27, as the latter also had lost a few positions in the incident.

The race was back underway with 5 minutes to go and the Iron Dames aimed to make more progress - although the action was short-lived, as a further incident between Kanato Le and Costa Toparis saw the two colliding at the fast turn 11; the Australian almost flipped and went hard into the barriers – but both drivers emerged uninjured.

The race finished under safety car: Doriane Pin finished 23rd once again; García gained five positions from the start to finish P25, showing determination in the battles despite limited green flag running.

In a very tough championship and in a traditionally demanding car, Doriane Pin and Marta García had a positive learning-oriented first outing, ran with the pack and built crucial experience. Pin was particularly impressive in qualifying – in a series where starting position can be very important. Both drivers will aim to continue their progress at the second round at Spa Francorchamps, on May 25-26.



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