Jamie Chadwick advanced one position from her starting place and finished the first race of the Formula Regional European Championship round in Barcelona in tenth place.
Two weeks after the Monza round, Formula Regional European Championship makes its return to the racetrack at the Circuit de Catalunya, Barcelona, as the continental F3 series is contesting its sixth round of the season. Inaugural W Series champion Jamie Chadwick has so far endured a character-building year, with some very exciting moments like a podium at her debut in Misano and a top-5 finish at the Red Bull Ring, together with more battling weekends where the young Brit struggled for pace.
The Spanish weekend started with the Van Amersfoort drivers - Pierre Louis Chovet and series rookie Dennis Hauger dominating the sessions and locking out the front row of the grid for the two opening races at Barcelona. Surprisingly, the Prema drivers had a more challenging start of their weekend, as Oliver Rasmussen finished third and championship contenders Arthur Leclerc and Gianluca Petecof found themselves only fifth and seventh on the grid.
Jamie Chadwick was P10 in both the Friday practice sessions and not happy about her performance. After the two qualifying runs, the 22-year old driver of the #55 Rodin Cars-sponsored Tatuus was eleventh and tenth. "Awesome track but not our day.", she commented after the first day of running. "We refocus and go again tomorrow."
In a warm Saturday morning, the first race of the weekend went underway with first-time poleman Chovet stalling and dropping all the way to the tail-end of the field. With an outstanding getaway, Oliver Rasmussen and Arthur Leclerc sprinted into the lead at Turn 1, overtaking Dennis Hauger in the second Van Amersfoort car. Jamie Chadwick also had a great start from the back of the pack and advanced to eighth place, ahead of Emidio Pesce, Gillian Henrion and the unlucky Chovet.
Henrion managed to get back ahead of Chawdick on the second lap, while Chovet pushed hard to recover the lost time in the opening stages of the race. By lap 3, the Frenchman found a way around Pesce, and one lap later he would overtake Chadwick for ninth.
Matteo Nannini, subbing in for the injured Cola at Monolite Racing, had a great first part of Race 1, as the Italian driver held fifth place before being passed by Konsta Lappalainen on lap 6 after going wide and over the kerb at Turn 2. After said mistake, Nannini also lost out to Henrion and Chovet.
With 15 minutes left on the clock, the 11-car pack was still very much bunche up and with most of the drivers within the one second gap to each other. The two Prema cars of Rasmussen and Leclerc led, but the Italian team never seemed to have that remarkable competitive advantage shown in most of the previous rounds.
VAR's Chovet was in fact the fastest driver on track and passed compatriot Henrion for seventh - but ultimately his costly first-lap mistake prevented him to challenge the leading duo for victory.
In the final stages, Chovet closed in on Lappalainen and tried to find a way past the KIC Motorsport's driver, but had to settle for seventh. Henrion also took advantage from the battle to get closer, but the pack held positions.
Chadwick also caught up with Nannini in the final laps and managed to get under the one-second gap but, as the chequered flag fell, the lady from Bath, UK, finished P10 - one place ahead of her starting position.
Oliver Rasmusses crossed the line to take his fourth win of the season, ashead of teammate Arthur Leclerc. Former Italian F4 champion and FIA F3 driver Dennis Hauger took a stunning podium at his series debut for Van Amersfoort.
Monza dominator Patrik Pasma was fourth and helf off the attacks of championship leader Gianluca Petecof.
Race two will start at 17:05 CEST, with rookie Hauger starting from pole. Jamie Chadwick will take the green flag from the fifth row in tenth place.