W Series

W Series: Birthday girl Chadwick takes the win in scorching Spain

Feature Image Credit: W Series

It was the perfect birthday for defending champion Chadwick as the Brit took pole and the win in race three of the W Series in the scorching heat of Barcelona.

Race three saw the W Series light up the already sweltering Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, with Jenner Racing’s Jamie Chadwick taking all the spoils.  Chadwick, who turned 24, continued her form from Miami with a commanding performance all weekend, taking pole in qualifying and the race win to extend her lead in the championship.

In a frantic qualifying, where provisional pole was tossed about between several drivers, the Brits lap of 1:44:951 with five minutes remaining was enough to see off the challengers.  Those challengers came in the form of last year’s runner up Alice Powell, who took P2 and Abbi Pulling, who made it an all-British affair in P3.  Newcomer Pulling, who was competing in only her second season showed great maturity and race craft all session and could have taken pole had Chadwick not come up with the goods before the end.

Come race day, it was all to play for.  Catalunya was the venue for pre-season testing so all drivers were very familiar with the track and a close race was expected.  It was Chadwick who made the perfect start and controlled the race from the front holding off a late challenge from fellow Brit Pulling, the 19-year-old overtaking Powell at the exit of turn one, with Powell having to settle for third.  Pulling’s second W Series podium moves her into second place in the championship in a great start for the young driver.

Emma Kimiläinen took P4 and Beitske Visser P5.  Marta Garcia was the best placed Spanish driver in P6 competing at her home race and was closely followed by compatriots Belen Garcia and Nerea Martí who rocked up the grid from 11th to eighth one the first lap.  Fabienne Wohlwend, P9 and Sarah Moore, P10 completed the top 10.

Series newcomer Tereza Babickova started 16th having received a three-place grid penalty for causing a collision during the last race in Miami.

As the race settled into a rhythm, the top 10 were posting lap times within two tenths of a second of each other. Pulling was eating away at Chadwick’s lead, cutting it to less than half a second with Powell hot on the heels of both was just four tenths further down the road.

With 15 minutes remaining, Moore moved into the top 10 by overtaking Jessica Hawkins at Turn 1. As the track temperature soared above 45 degrees Celsius, conditions were tough, but a series of fastest laps allowed Chadwick to eek out a comfortable lead.

Despite encouragement from her team, Pulling couldn’t force a mistake from Chadwick who held her nerve to seal the win and make it the perfect birthday.  Waved yellow flags come out as the race ended as Chadwick’s team-mate Chloe Chambers lost the rear of her car and got stuck in the gravel at Turn 9.

On her historic race win Chadwick said, “It was all about managing the tyres in that race and I managed to do that the whole way.  In the last few laps, I got a bit nervy and was struggling when I came under pressure from Abbi [Pulling], but fortunately I managed to hold her off and I’m really happy with the win.”

Pulling was equally happy, “I’m proud of myself after bouncing back from Miami and a bit of a poor qualifying.  I started on the front foot here and big thanks to my team.  I had good pace, couldn’t quite get Jamie [Chadwick] but it’s still a good result for me. I was right behind her on the last lap, and I know what I need to do in the next races to move forward again.”

The series returns 1st to 3rd July in support of the British Grand Prix.

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