Dutch driver Beitske Visser was crowned W Series Esport Champion after a commanding performance in round nine at the Nürburgring Nordschleife.
Visser, who lead the series for most of the season, clinched the title with one round to spare, which the Dutch driver actually won’t be taking part in due to other racing commitments.
Runner-up in W Series’ maiden on-track season in 2019, Visser won two of the three races at the infamous German circuit. The 25-year-old also came from third in the reverse-grid race and set the fastest lap in two races for a total of 59 points. Marta Garcia, the only challenger to Visser’s crown, finished the three races in second, fifth and second positions respectively. This means Visser leads the Spaniard by 68 points with a maximum of 63 available in the final round at Silverstone next week.
The third place battle really heated up as Nerea Marti outscored Irina Sidorkova by nine points to cut the Russian’s lead to just 27.
It was business as usual as Visser beat M. Garcia to pole position by the large (in racing terms) margin of two seconds and the 10-minute, two-lap race got off to a good start. The race was fairly settled until four minutes in when Marti passed Caitlin Wood for third. Guest driver, Gabriela Jilkova ran wide attempting to pass Wood and was overtaken by Tasminn Pepper for fifth as a result. An amazing wheel-to-wheel battle ensued but with four minutes remaining, Pepper spun to hand Jilkova the place back. Meanwhile, Visser was steadily building her advantage out front and took a comfortable win by almost five seconds.
Race One Result
|6||31||Tasmin Pepper||-1 L||6||11|
|7||22||Belen Garcia||-1 L||8||10|
|8||26||Sarah Moore||-1 L||13||9|
|9||17||Ayla Agren||-1 L||12||8|
|10||99||Naomi Schiff||-1 L||7||7|
Brazilian Bruna Tomaselli took the lead from pole-sitter Vicky Piria early at turn one in the reverse grid race. Jess Hawkins and Piria were involved in an incident which was then followed by a crash involving several of the midfield runners. This helped promote champion to be Visser to ninth from last on the grid as the early staged of the race settled down. The Dutch driver took a further postion when Piria ran wide from eighth place. It was all change up front as Tomaselli hit the wall and promoted Naomi Shiff into the lead. Meanwhile, Visser had now worked her way up to sixth. With six minutes remaining on the clock, Jilkova passed Schiff for the lead of the race and Visser took fourth all thanks to mistakes in the midfield. Visser took the final podium spot from Belen Garcia halfway through the last lap and stole second place on the final straight, however Schiff fought back to secure a runner-up finish and her best ever W Series Esports League result.
Race Two Result
|6||31||Tasmin Pepper||-1 L||12||11|
|7||51||Ira Sidorkova||-1 L||5||10|
|8||4||Charlie Martin||-1 L||7||0|
|9||1||Hannah Grisham||-1 L||6||0|
|10||3||Gosia Rdest||-1 L||4||9|
M. Garcia finally managed to end Visser’s run of seven straight W Series Esports League pole positions, but it was Visser who got the better start and passed M. Garcia up the inside and take the lead with less than one minute gone ont he clock. M. Garcia then ran wide trying to fight back which helped let Wood through into P2. M. Garcia regained the place at the end of the lap bring an end to a close battle. Visser crossed the line to start the second of her three laps two seconds ahead of the pack. M. Garcia had to beat Visser to keep her championship dreams alive and threw everything at it on the final lap. She got within one second but Visser was just out of reach and Visser held on to win the race and with that the W Series Esports League title.
Race Three Result
On her strong performance and champion win, Visser said; “It feels really good to win the W Series Esports League. From the start of the League season I’ve been very strong so I’m happy that I could win it with one round to spare. I didn’t realise until someone told me afterwards that I’d not only won the League but also 11 races out of the 27 we’ve had so far! Racing drivers want to win everything so it means a lot to me.
In the first race I had a really good qualifying and luckily, after the first few corners of the race, I could make the gap big enough so that Marta [Garcia] wasn’t in my slipstream and I could just drive it home. In the third race I wasn’t on pole position so it was more difficult, but I got in the slipstream of Marta and got around her. Then she made a small mistake behind and that gave me a big enough gap to win.
It was very different driving the Nürburgring Nordschleife in a Formula car as I have only driven there in GT cars in real life, so it was a new experience but an enjoyable one. The pressure was on today as I’m not sure if I will be able to race in the final round at Silverstone, so I had to win the League now and I’m so happy that I did.”
The 10th and final Round at Silverstone is next Thursday, 13 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.