Dutch Racer Beitske Visser secured two victories out of three in round two of the W Series Esport League. Finnish driver Emma Kimiläinen won the reveres grid race, repeating her feet from the first-round last week.
Visser extends her lead at the top of the championship by 14 points despite solid performances from Russian Irina Sidorkova and Brit Alice Powell who now sit second and third in the Championship respectively.
Visser qualified in pole position four tenths of a second ahead of Australian Caitlin Wood. Spanish driver Marta Garcia lined up in P3. However, it was a bad start for Visser, who was down to P3 by the first corner and Garcia took the lead as the rest of the pack got all caught up in an incident. As the race began to settle into a rhythm, Visser began to regain her composure and took P2 from Nerea Marti. Meanwhile last week’s star, Sidorkova, was struggling and having been the only driver not to set a time in qualifying, the Russian had started at the back and being made to work hard carving her way up the field. Back up front the leaders were making their way through the back markers and this allowed Visser to make a move on Marta and take the lead. It was plain sailing for the championship leader as she secured a race one win. It was bad luck for Wood who was overtaken by Alice Powell with five minutes remaining to take the last podium position.
Race One Results
The reverse grid race saw Italian Vicky Piria start on pole and it was a textbook getaway as she led from Brazilian Bruna Tomaselli going into the first corner. Norwigan driver Ayla Agren held P3. An incident laden first lap saw both Piria and Tomaselli lose the lead as Kimiläinen quietly made her way though the mayhem to lead what was left of the pack from Jessica Hawkins who was a stunning nine seconds behind! In an incident packed race it was hard to keep up with anyone looking like they could pounce and take advantage. Sidorkova was having a much better race and had made her way into P2. Hawkins ran wide to let Powell into P3 and the top three settled in as the race approached its closing stages. A late charge from Sidorkova was not enough to ruffle Kimiläinen’s feathers as the Finn took the win, her second reverse grid victory.
Race Two Results
Visser again qualified fastest with South African Tasmin Pepper in P2 and qualifying specialist, Wood in third and looking to convert solid qualifying performances into solid race performances. As the race got underway it was a better start from Visser who lead from Pepper going into turn one. There was hardly anything between the top six in the early stages but a spin from Pepper dropped her down to P6 leaving Nerea Marti to capitalise. A tense battle between Wood and Sidorkova played out behind the top two, Visser who now had a three second lead as the race hit the midway point. A mistake from Marti promoted Wood and Sidorkova into second and third. The battle for second allowed Visser to pull away further and the Dutch driver completed a brace as she took the flag with six seconds in hand.
Race Three Results
On her race wins Visser said, “Circuit of the Americas is a very different track to Monza [the host circuit for round one of the W Series Esports League] which has long straights and heavy braking. COTA is fast and flowing, especially the first sector. If you make a mistake in one corner you mess up quite a few corners afterwards, so you need to be in a good flow. Track limits are an issue too so it can be difficult to get a good lap in qualifying. Hopefully I can keep winning, that’s the aim, but everyone else will be practising hard as well. Brands Hatch is a shorter track, so I expect everyone to be closer.”
Reverse grid winner Emma Kimilainen said, “I don’t know how I keep winning the reverse-grid race! I was nervous and shaking because every time I brake is a mystery. I don’t have consistency, but I saw a few good places to overtake, had some luck and managed to get a big lead. I’m happy and shocked that I won. Sim-racing is very different to real life, but it will be easier to practise for Brands Hatch because I’m familiar with that circuit. I had never driven COTA so I didn’t have any muscle memory. I’ll be one step ahead with that at Brands, but Beitske [Visser] is very fast.”
The championship after two rounds now looks like this;
Round three is at Brands Hatch next Thursday, 25 June at 7pm BST. You can watch it all on BBC iPlayer, BBC Red Button, BBC Sport website and W Series’ Twitch, YouTube and Facebook channels.