F.Regional: Jamie Chadwick takes P10 in Le Castellet race 1
With a last-lap move, Jamie Chadwick finished P10 in the first Formula 3 Regional European Championship race at Le Castellet, as the Brit is trying to get back into the top 5 after a difficult start of the French round.
Formula 3 Regional European Championship is back on track this weekend at Circuit Paul Ricard - the home of the French F1 Grand Prix - for its second round of the revised 2020 schedule, following the Misano opener.
2019 W Series champion Jamie Chadwick made headlines last time out when she claimed her maiden podium finish in the first Misano race. The 22-year old Brit drove two more solid races in the Italian riviera venue, clinching a P8 and a P6 to complete a competitive weekend.
Coming into Le Castellet, Chadwick struggled a bit more pace-wise and was ninth fastest in both free practice sessions, despite improving her lap times considerably.
"Not great couple of sessions, a couple of issues." - she said after the second practice. "It's my first time here, I'm struggling on a couple of things, but I'm actually quite confident going into quali - I think I have good references obviously with the guys at Prema - so I'm looking forward to trying to climb up the order a bit in quali".
To complete a busy Friday in the south of France, the teams and drivers of Formula Regional tackled the two 15-minutes qualifying sessions in rapid succession to determine the starting grid for the first two races of the weekend.
Jamie Chadwick endured again a tough session and confirmed her ninth fastest time in both sessions - with a best lap of 1:59.176.
"Eyes forwards for the races tomorrow" - she commented, as she switched her focus on Saturday's two races.
Arthur Leclerc topped the timesheets, edging Red Bull protegé Juri Vips and Prema teammate Gianluca Petecof. Chauvet was a quick fourth for Van Amersfoort Racing, ahead of Rasmussen and the KIC Motorsport duo of Pasma and Lappalainen.
Chadwick lined up on the fifth row alongside Henrion Gillian.
The first race of the weekend went underway under scorching hot temperatures at 11:05 CEST and saw Arthur Leclerc maintaining the lead over Vips despite the Estonian driver managed to get alongside the poleman in the opening metres. Chadwick had a slow start off the line and dropped to P10 - then losing one more place to Pesce soon after. After one lap, Leclerc led Vips, Petecof and Rasmussen.
The Dane, winner of the 2020 inaugural race at Misano, was overtaken by Chauvet - who completed a great move which relegated Rasmussen to eighth as he went wide at Turn 3 and had to rejoin by going around the bollard.
Arthur Leclerc had a big moment coming off of Turn 5 with 23 minutes left on the clock: the Monegasque rejoined after going deep into the run-off, but maintained the lead. His mistake, though, allowed Vips to close in and the KIC driver attacked at Signes, but could not make a move stick. Both Petecof and Chauvet joined the battle and looked strong behind, opening quite a margin over fifth-placed Regalia. The Argentinian, making his single-seater come back after more than 5 years, enjoyed a very competitive race with Van Amersfoort Motorsport.
Rasmussen made a couple of positions back when he could move up on Pasma - the Finnish saving a spin with around 20 minutes to go - and on Henrion a few laps later.
The Frenchman was struggling with tyres and came also under increasing pressure from Lappalainen - who would make a move stick one lap later.
Chadwick caught up with Emidio Pesce and started a hard battle that would go on until the chequered flag: Jamie remained the whole race under the second gap, but started to attack Pesce with approximately 10 minutes to go. Pesce locked up and opened a gap for Chadwick on lap 12, who dived in at the last corner to re-claim 10th. Pesce switched back, but the action repeated on lap 13.
Ahead, Leclerc gained again a safe margin with a fastest lap, as Vips was coming under pressure from Petecof. With eight minutes to go, the Brazilian advanced into second place taking advantage of a drop in performance from Vips' tyres. Vips, pushed a bit wide at Turn 1, was also passed by Chauvet - the VAR driver then attacking the 2019 Italian F4 runner-up. Petecof held on to second, as this battle allowed Vips to come back into contention for a podium finish.
With two laps to go, Regalia straight-lined the chicane and dropped behind Pasma, in P6.
After 17 laps, Leclerc crossed the finish line to take his second win of the season, ahead of Petecof and Chauvet. Vips was fourth, ahead of fellow Scandinavian Pasma and Rasmussen.
Jamie Chadwick ultimately took 10th place away from Pesce, winning the battle for points.
"Not where we wanted to finish, but actually I was quite happy - we made a lot of changes overnight and now the car feels a little bit better although I didn't showcase it in terms of result or pace, I'm actually a lot happier with the ways things are feeling." - said Jamie.
"I just need to get a better start, a better first lap and hopefully we can be back up into top-5 or 6."
"I'm glad I got the position eventually, it was a bit scrappy but glad I finally got into the points and got that tenth place."
The second race from the French venue of Le Castellet will go green at 18:20 CEST, as Jamie Chadwick will try to climb further up the order.