A win in the final race helped championship leader Beitske Visser increase her lead as the W Series arrived at Mount Panorama…
It was business as usual in the final race of round eight of the W Series Esports League as dutch driver Visser increased her lead at the top of the table. Wins in the first two races for Marta Garcia and Irina Sidorkova looked to be heaping the pressure on the championship leader earlier on in the evening, but Visser bounced back with a win late on.
Visser was on top form in qualifying and beat M. Garcia to pole position by just half a second. Dutch driver Visser made a great start into turn one, but not to be outdone, M. Garcia also got away cleanly and overtook Visser on the way to Turn Two. M. Garcia led by one second as the pack crossed the line at the end of lap one and, by the halfway stage, looked comfortable. Visser was finding it hard to mount a challenge as she was busy fending off Caitlin Wood, who was out to impress on her home turf. Any hopes of Visser turning the tide evaporated as she got bogged down in back markers and as the race entered its final stages, a late charge was ended by backmarkers. Wood was also under pressure late on but held on to beat Nerea Marti to the final podium position and take a well deserved P3.
Race One Result
It was a clean start for Irina Sidorkova who started in P1 for the reverse grid race. The Russian pulled away from her closest challengers as Gosia Rdest, Tasmin Pepper and Emma Kimiläinen all fought over second place, with Pepper coming out the winner by the end of the first lap. Meanwhile Kimiläinen hit the barriers and gathered the unfortunate Alice Powell in the process. Championship front runners Visser and M. Garcia had fought their way it into the top 10 from the back row of the grid, although M. Garcia had damaged her front wing on the way. Visser was quietly making her way up the pecking order, making the most of a collision between Rdest and Abbie Easton. M. Garcia took P6, again making the most of a struggling Bruna Tomiselli and Sarah Moore. The final podium spot was taken by Marti.
Race Two Result
Visser took P1 in qualifying for the second time and was able to keep the pack behind her going into turn one. A mistake moments later from M. Garcia gave Visser a comfortable lead and M. Garcia rejoined the track in 10th place. This momentarily played into the hands of Wood, but it was short lived. M. Garcia began her fight back and, with 20 minutes remaining, the Spaniard was up to seventh. A great battle between Wood, Moore and Alya Agren saw Wood sadly lose out by hitting the barrier at turn two. As the race entered the final stages, M. Garcia had Pepper in her sights but spun as she attempted to take third place, leaving Marti and Pepper safe to take P2 and P3 respectively.
Race Three Results
On her race three win, Visser had this to say, “I’m happier now than I was after the last round at Suzuka. In the first race, I had a good start but my exit at Turn One was not very good so Marta [Garcia] got past. I tried not to make many mistakes but Marta was very fast so I couldn’t win that one.
In the reverse-grid race, I think me, Marta and Caitlin [Wood] had the same idea to take it really slowly on the first lap because it seemed like we were all going at half-throttle to avoid the chaos. But after lap one I started pushing, managed to get up to fifth and score the fastest lap as well. In the third race I was fighting with Marta on the first lap and she managed to get past me down the back straight but then she out-braked herself. From there I had a big gap so I could manage the race and just drive the car home safely.
The next round at Nürburgring Nordschleife is the one I’ve been most looking forward to. It’s a very different track because it’s so long. In qualifying you normally try to put one lap together, but this will be like trying to put five laps together at once. Like Bathurst, the walls are very close so it’s going to be very tricky. It will be interesting to drive it in a Formula car too because in real life they don’t do that now, so I’ll need lots of time on the sim to get up to speed there.”
Marta Garcia was happy with her race win but thinks it will be difficut to catch Visser in the championship. She had this this to say,“In race one I started second, had an OK start and on the straight I could overtake Beitske [Visser]. From there I managed to have good pace and won the race.
Catching Beitske at the top of the W Series Esports League looks like it will be very difficult now, almost impossible. But I will keep trying my best to do that over the last two rounds. The first of those takes us to Nürburgring Nordschleife. I can’t wait to drive such an iconic circuit and will be practising hard on the sim next week so that I’m well prepared.”
Finally, Irina Sidorkova has this to say about her race win, “I was unlucky in the first race. I had a crash at the second corner and I’m not sure whose fault it was. That meant I had to start from pole position in the second race and my plan was the same as it has been over the last few rounds in the reverse-grid races – to get a good start and go from there without making mistakes. I had a perfect start and a five-second gap early on which was good because Tasmin [Pepper] was going a little bit faster behind me but I had enough in hand to finish first.
The last few rounds have been really tough because I’m also racing on-track in the Russian Touring Championship. That has limited my preparation time and impacted my lap times, but I’ll work as hard as I can to finish the W Series Esports League season off strongly.”
Round Nine is at Nürburgring Nordschleife, Germany, next Thursday, 6 August at 7pm BST. You can watch all the action on BBC iPlayer, BBC Red Button, BBC Sport website and W Series’ Twitch, YouTube and Facebook channels.