F.Regional: Chadwick advances to 9th in Barcelona race 2
In a more challenging Barcelona round for the Prema drivers, Jamie Chadwick again gained one position in the second race and crossed the finish line in ninth, after two very positive starts in Saturday's races.
After commanding the first qualifying session, Van Amersfoort Racing drivers Pierre Louis Chovet and Dennis Hauger were again the men to beat in Q2 and the Dutch team locked out once again the front row at the end of yesterday's qualifying session.
Making his debut in the series after a season in the uber-competitive FIA Formula 3 Championship, Norwegian racer Dennis Hauger clinced pole position in his first outing in Formula Regional, ahead of teammate Chovet - who had made a costly mistake at the start of race 1 earlier today which relegated the Frenchman to seventh place.
Oliver Rasmussen was again the best of the Prema drivers and took the start from third, ahead of championship rivals Leclerc and Petecof. Jamie Chadwick, following a struggling Friday at Circuit de Catalunya, lined up in tenth.
As the lights went out, it was another amazing start for the Premas: Rasmussen led the pack into Turn 1, followed by Hauger and Leclerc. Chovet had another slow getaway and dropped to fourth, ahead of Matteo Nannini - the latter enjoying a very positive weekend in his return to Formula Regional in the Monolite Racing car.
Leclerc and Petecof - after their Monza clashes - banged wheels again at Turn 2 and the Brazilian driver had the worst out of it, as he went wide an into the gravel and rejoined at the back of the field. Jamie Chadwick had another great start off the line: after the opening lap, the British racer was seventh, but soon after she came under threat by Gillian Henrion, who passed her on the second lap.
Meanwhile, Chovet proved the Van Amersfoort speed by attacking Leclerc at Turn 2 and 3, but the Monegaque initially held on to third. Towards the mid-race mark, though, in a very similar move, Leclerc slided towards the outside at Turn 2 and left the door open for Chovet, who would quickly take advantage from the situation to claim the lowest step of the podium.
After some blistering starts, Chadwick saw her pace disappear and also came under pressure from the recovering Petecof. The Brazilian got past at Turn 4, relegating the British lady to ninth place. On the same lap, Patrik Pasma moved ahead of Matteo Nannini when the latter went wide an over the kerb at the last corner, paving the way for the KIC Motorsport's Finnish driver.
Ahead, Rasmussen saw Dennis Hauger getting bigger and bigger in his rear-view mirrors: the Norwegian, despite being the fastest driver on track, struggled to find a way past the fellow Scandinavian driver and they both pulled away from third-placed Chovet.
Another very entertaining battle saw Nannini, Henrion and Petecof fighting for sixth place: with 12 minutes to go, Petecof dived on the inside of La Caixa hairpin, moving ahead of Henrion. He would soon overtake Nannini as well, but the championship contender had to settle for sixth in what has been a challenging weekend so far for the Brazilian.
Meanwhile, Pasma was also putting pressure on Leclerc: the latter locked up going into Turn 1, but managed to defend his position.
Except from Rasmussen, all the Prema drivers struggled for overall pace compared to the Van Amersfoort and KIC competitors. In the second half of the race, Jamie Chadwick's laptimes were more competitive and the 22-year old lady closed in on Henrion and Nannini while extending her gap to Konsta Lappalainen to over 9 seconds.
On the final lap, Pasma stripped Leclerc of fourth place on the main straight after a better exit out of the final corner, just as Henrion completed a great pass at Turn 10 on Nannini.
Oliver Rasmussen took his second victory of the day - the fifth of his 2020 Formula Regional campaign - ahead of Dennis Hauger, Pierre Louis Chovet and Patrik Pasma. Leclerc was only fifth and preceded his main title rival Gianluca Petecof.
Despite its dominant pace, Van Amersfoort Racing team was again denied its first victory in the championship, but will have one more chance tomorrow in the third and final race on Spanish soil.
Jamie Chadwick again gained one position from her starting place and finished the second race at Circuit de Catalunya in P9.
Race three will get underway on Sunday morning at 10:30 CEST.