Bianca Bustamante claimed her second win of the season to bring an action-packed weekend of racing at the Autodromo Nazionale Monza to a close.
Starting in P2, the Filipino driver was forced to bide her time early on as Rodin Carlin’s pole-sitter Abbi Pulling got away well off the line and created a gap to the PREMA Racing driver.
Winner of Race 1, Marta García, starting in P4, had a torrid time at the start of the race, losing two places to fall to sixth, before contact with title rival Léna Bühler at the Curva Alboreto left the Spaniard at the back of the grid with MP Motorsport’s Emely de Heus.
At the front, three cars were pulling away from the pack, as Pulling continued to hold off Bustamante and title chaser Hamda Al Qubaisi. The British driver was not able to hold onto P1 for long as Bustamante, who had secured a podium in Race 2 this weekend, overtook around the Ascari Chicane.
It was then time for H.Al Qubaisi to make her move as she powered down the straight past Pulling to briefly move into P2. The Emirati driver would struggle to slow her car into Turn 1 making contact with the rear of Bustamante’s car and ending her race prematurely, though the PREMA car escaped unscathed from the incident.
Bustamante continued to pull away from Pulling, before further down the field, the Brit’s Rodin Carlin teammate Megan Gilkes spun out after contact with Lola Lovinfosse, bringing out the safety car and bunching up the pack.
With three laps to go, the Safety Car pulled in with Bustamante and Pulling immediately creating distance from Amna Al Qubaisi in P3. The Emirati driver and Campos Racing’s Nerea Martí continued to scrap for the final podium place, repeatedly switching positions while García and Bühler were back to battling, this time for P6.
Both drivers looked to overtake ART Grand Prix’s Carrie Schreiner with just two laps to go, a move that García was able to make stick, but the Swiss driver was forced to take the run-off area, clipping the final board in the process, and falling back to P9.
With just over one lap remaining, contact at the back of the grid between #14 PREMA Racing driver Chloe Chong and Mercantile Campos Racing’s Maite Cáceres left both in the gravel.
With just one lap left, the race finished under the Safety Car with Bustamante claiming her second win of the season ahead of Pulling and A. AL Qubaisi.
Bianca Bustamante, Race Winner:
“It was a tough race. The P2 in qualifying really helped me. At the start, the main goal was to race cleanly and navigate the first few corners. I tried a few time in T1 for the overtake on Abbi but was able to have a good run on one occasion into T3 and get the move donw. It was a really mega job from the team and the car was amazing.”
As It Stands Bustamante’s win moves her to P6 in the standings and just ten points off of a top five position. As the weekend comes to a close, Marta García has once again pulled ahead of her nearest rival H. Al Qubaisi. In the Teams’ Standings, PREMA Racing have closed the gap to MP Motorsport to just 28 points, after two race wins at their home track,
The teams head to Paul Ricard in just under two weeks’ time for two pivotal days of testing before Round 6 takes place there on 18-19 July.