Marta García wins photo finish Monza race 1
Marta García won a shortened race 1 at Monza, beating Léna Bühler in a photo finish that saw the top five in 6 tenths of a second.
Marta García won a shortened first race at Monza following an accident involving Chloe Grant at the first chicane on lap 1 that brought out the red flag and reduced the running time to seven minutes.
García came out on top of a 5 car battle for the win and survived attacks from Léna Bühler as well as Abbi Pulling, eventually winning at photo finish by 9 thousands if a second over Buhler. The Spaniard's victory was an important step championship-wise, after an issue on the grid before the formation lap forced Hamda Al Qubaisi to start from pit lane. The Emirati eventually recovered to eighth, picking up a few crucial points.
Alone on the front row, García had a good launch at lights out and retained the lead from Léna Buhler and Abbi Pulling who battled for second coming into the first chicane. A big crash at the tricky first chicane involving Chloe Grant, Bianca Bustamante, Nerea Marti, Amna Al Qubaisi and Carrie Schreiner brought out the red flag, with Grant taking off and ending her race upside down into the run off of Prima Variante. Schreiner, Bustamante and Marti lost their rear wings, while Al Qubaisi sustained damage to her front wing in the multi-car tangle.
Grant received immediate assistance and was taken to the medical centre for checks.
All the other drivers were able to drive back to the pits, but Bustamante and Schreiner retired.
The race restarted behind the Safety Car with 7 minutes left on the clock. At the green flag, Jessica Edgar passed Amna Al Qubaisi – who had her front wing changed – with Marti also retaining fifth after a rear wing change. Nerea lost out to the two MP cars of De Heus and Amna Al Qubaisi on the third lap, while Caceres, Lovinfosse and Hamda Al Qubaisi battled for the final point. The latter managed to displace Caceres and was started her recovery despite the shortened race.
Pulling meanwhile overtook Bühler for second – but the Swiss driver fought back. The top three pulled away and Bühler found the speed to attack Marta García on lap 4, albeit she had to watch her mirrors from Pulling who was eager to seize the opportunity.
All Carlin cars were quick enough to eventually join the leading trio in the battle for the podium: Megan Gilkes had a great run on Pulling after Prima Variante, but ended up losing fourth to Edgar.
The final lap ended with two photo finishes: Léna Bühler attacked Marta García and the two crossed the finish line 9 thousands of a second apart – with the Prema Racing driver taking the win.
Jessica Edgar claimed her second podium of the season by beating across the line her Carlin teammates, also separated by hundredths of a second.
Abbi Pulling and Megan Gilkes finished in the top five, while Emely de Heus also won a four car battle and preceded Nerea Marti, Hamda Al Qubaisi and her sister Amna. Despite a difficult qualifying, Lola Lovinfosse was tenth and collected the final point.
While eleventh across the line, Chloe Chong scored one point thanks to the fastest lap at the very end of the race. She finished ahead of Maite Caceres.
The second race of the weekend is scheduled for 18:40 local time.