F.Regional: Jamie Chadwick 10th after Le Castellet race 2 accident
In Formula 3 Regional European Championship's second race at Le Castellet, Jamie Chadwick was set to finish once again in P10 - before an accident with 2 laps to go put an early end to the Brit's Saturday.
In the first race of the Le Castellet round, Jamie Chadwick took P10 and one point after a race-long battle with Italian Emidio Pesce, thanks to a last lap move by the British racer.
The 2019 W Series champion - despite not being obviously satisfied with in terms of results - said she was happy about the direction her setup was heading, with the car feeling way better compared to the tougher practice sessions of Friday.
"I just need to get a better start, a better first lap and hopefully we can be back up into top-5 or 6." - she told us after the first race of the French round at Circuit Paul Ricard.
And, indeed, her pace further improved in Race 2 as well, but another slow start off the line forced the lady from Bath, UK, to another recovery. Her getaway - potentially caused again by clutch issues - dropped Jamie to eleventh place after the first lap.
Ahead, Gianluca Petecof led Arthur Leclerc as the lights went off, with Chovet and Vips holding P3 and P4 after Turn one. The Prema teammates were close throughout the opening corners, but Leclerc could not get around the Brazilian.
Chadwick passed Cola at Turn 5 but was again reached by Emidio Pesce - who looked again aggressive in her quest to gain the last point-paying position.
Red Bull junior driver Juri Vips also tried to attack Van Amersfoort's Chovet, but then had to watch his mirrors from the return of Oliver Rasmussen in the third Prema car.
The pack remained for most of the race very compact, with only the top four breaking away in the second half of the competition.
Breaking the stasis, Konsta Lappalainen went off in the run off area on the third lap and dropped all the way back to the tail-end of the field, thus allowing Chadwick to re-gain her ninth starting position. The Finn then made his way back to the pits, likely with car issues.
Chadwick caught up with Gillian and spent the vast majority of the race right behind the Frenchman, but was unable to find a gap to advance into P8.
Still battling for the lead, the two leading Premas could not sign off and gain a significant margin over third-placed Chovet, who still had Vips right in his tail.
Facundo Regalia had a more difficult second race and was protagonist of a couple of off at the chicane. The Argentinian received a warning for track limits afterwards, just as Gillian in the closing stages.
With ten minutes left on the clock, the whole field remained bunched up - splitted in two main groups - but no driver attempted a real attack with tyre management a big topic of the F3 Regional second race.
The first change for position came with less than five minutes to go: when Chovet missed the chicane, the battle for third heated up and Vips finally made a move stick after a prolonged side-by-side action. Chovet was forced to give up this position, but remained close behind the #4 KIC Motorsport Tatuus.
Petecof signed the fastest lap with three laps to go - then topped by Vips one lap later - and opened a small safe margin to Leclerc, thus securing his second win of the season.
Chadwick, under pressure from Pesce, lost a couple of seconds from Gillian. But her pace in the latter stages of the race allowed the British racer to close in again on the Gillian Track Events driver. Unfortunately, when she was again trying to move up to eighth, she went slightly wide at the chicane and damaged her front wing on the kerb. Catching some air, her car became uncontrollable and the Jamie collected Pesce. Both drivers were out and into the wall in the final lap. Despite the accident, Chadwick was classified in P10.
Vips edged Chovet for the last step of the podium, while Rasmussen rounded out the top five.
Tomorrow's third and final race of the Le Castellet weekend will go underway at 11:20, as Jamie Chadwick will try to finish the second round of the Formula Regional European Championship season with a high.