Chadwick edges Visser to take second win in Misano
Updated: Jun 10, 2019
British superstar Jamie Chadwick has won a closely fought third round of the W-Series season in Misano, Italy, extending her championship lead.
Fabienne Wohlwend had earlier took her maiden pole position but could not capitalize the result after a slow start and was immediately overtaken by front-row starter Chadwick, who had a brilliant getaway and secured the first position.
Visser was fast to pass Wohlwend as well, and when Alice Powell went side by side towards turn 1, the two made contact and Powell was almost sent airborne, ending her short race in the gravel.
"It's been a little been a bit of a struggle really, FP1 was really good, FP2 not so great as we lost a bit of time in the pitlane but the guys did a great job to sort the issues. Qualified 4th, not too bad, but then the race went a bit downhill to be honest. It's unfortunate, contact was made, it all happened so quickly, and I don't know exactly what happened without looking at the video footage." - commented Powell. With such a short championship, now her title hopes get a difficult turn: "It's just very frustrating, the championship is tough to win now, third is very doable but I think second or first are difficult now", she said.
The Safety Car was then immediately deployed to clear Powell's car, as she climbed out unhurt by certainly disappointed.
At the restart the leading trio signed off from the rest of the field but kept battling hard throughout the race. Chadwick could not pull away from Visser, who stayed well within the half-second window for most of the race. Wohlwend, at the same time, kept putting pressure on Visser, but without a real opportunity to pass. The two exchanged fastest laps on lap 4 and 5.
Behind them, Piria managed to run solidly in 4th, with Miki Koyama not far behind.
Esmee Hawkey passed Bovy for 13th, with the Belgian responding soon after. Jessica Hawkins joined the fight and took advantage of a mistake from Hawkey to gain both positions.
On seventh lap, Chadwick was still under huge pressure from Beitske Visser, as the Dutchwoman tried different lines at Curva del Carro but could not make the move for the lead.
In the second half of the race Miki Koyama pulled an impressive move on Piria, overtaking the Italian driver on the outside of turn "Quercia". The Japanese moved up to 4th and managed to open a safe gap on Piria.
"I had a good start and I kept the 4th position for a while but then in the middle of a fast corner I completely lost the car electronics and Miki got past me." - said fan favourite Piria, "I have to be honest, she was really fast nonetheless but maybe 4th was possible. Anyway, top 5 was the target so I'm happy with that."
While the race was as tense as it gets for the leading positions, the midfield saw several battles throughout, with Sabre Cook completing a majestic comeback from 15th on the grid to 8th, passing Sarah Moore on the last lap of the race.
"It was a tough race, with the heat and everything, but I was very happy to get a good start and continue to move forward from there." - said a cheerful Cook, "it's been a bit of a struggle for me so far this season, not being able to score points in the first races so I'm just very excited to get those first points and show that I can run up in the top 10".
Naomi Schiff spun late in the race and rejoined 18th, while Jessica Hawkins received a time penalty for a jump start and was demoted to P15.
Vivien Keszthelyi enjoyed a strong finish in 10th, picking up her first points.
Garcia was sixth and Tasmin Pepper seventh, confirming her previous strong results of the opening rounds.
"I can't say that I am satisfied with the result. Missing entirely the second practice really damaged the weekend, because track time for us is really important and it was a new track for me. Starting P7 I managed to move up to 6th, but from there there were no chances of catching the girls in front" - said Marta Garcia.
Ultimately, Chadwick crossed the line in first, followed by Visser and Wohlwend, with Koyama and Piria completing the top 5.
“After Zolder, when I didn’t convert pole position into a lap-one lead, I really wanted to get my start right here at Misano." - Chadwick said.
“I knew there would be an opportunity down the inside so I really focused on getting that right, which fortunately I did. After that, I felt I had good pace, but Beitske kept me honest the whole way. She was always very close but I concentrated on not making mistakes, trying to reel off the laps in without making any errors."
Visser tried to put pressure on the Brit for the whole race, but couldn't attempt a move in the last sector where she was strongest.
“Obviously I’d prefer to have won, but second place represents 18 useful points and at the Norisring next time out I hope I can do better in qualifying and convert a good quali into 25 points.” - commented Visser.
Chadwick now leads Visser 68 to 55 points in the standings with Marta Garcia promoted to 3rd at 35 and Powell at 33 points.
W-Series will be back supporting the DTM at Norisring, a street circuit unknown to most of the drivers except Wohlwend, who raced there in 2017 in the Audi TT Cup.
In Jamie's words:
“ It made for a long, hard race. She was always close.”
Ph credits: Racers-Behindthehelmet.com