F.Regional: Jamie Chadwick takes P9 in final Le Castellet race
Jamie Chadwick completed a challenging round at Paul Ricard with a P9 in the third and final race of the Formula Regional European Championship weekend.
British upcoming star Jamie Chadwick had a great start of her 2020 Formula Regional European Championship campaign when she claimed her maiden podium at the Misano season opener. The W Series reigning champion, racing for team Prema Powerteam, headed to Circuit Paul Ricard for the second round of the revised schedule with high hopes, as the 22-year old driver proved she could compete consistently in the top-five or six.
Chadwick, though, endured a tougher weekend in the south of France, as she secured a P10 in the first race, a P10 after a last lap accident and a P9 in the third and final race on Sunday.
The young lady was set to start from eleventh place for Race 3, but the absence of Emidio Pesce allowed Chadwick and Cola to gain one position each on the grid. Prema teammates Gianluca Petecof and Arthur Leclerc were again sharing the front row: the Monegasque and the Brazilian are now leading the championship standings and shared victories at Le Castellet, leaving little to no glory to the rest of the field.
At the start, Petecof had a slow getaway and allowed past both his early championship rival Leclerc, Vips and Rasmussen. Chadwick was alongside Gillian at the end of the main straight, but had to slot into tenth at Turn 1.
In the opening lap, Rasmussen outbraked himself and straight-lined the chicane, though maintaining third place. One lap later, it was Jamie Chadwick to move up on Facundo Regalia - the Argentinian driver making his return to single-seaters after a 5 years hiatus.
Meanwhile, Petecof was back ahead of teammate Rasmussen, with Juri Vips attacking Leclerc for the lead: the Estonian got out of the Prema's slipstream at the straight leading to Signes, but he had to back off.
Petecof started an impressive streak of fastest laps that bunched up the top-three and left Rasmussen behind in the group of the front-runners.
When Vips looked ready for another attack on Leclerc, the Red Bull junior was overtaken by the fast charging Petecof. This battle gave Leclerc a some breathing space, which was nonetheless quickly closed by the Brazilian in the following laps.
Rasmussen struggled to keep his car on track and dropped behind Van Amersfoort's Chovet. Konsta Lappalainen was also close behind but, as the Finn tried to dive in, he lost out to KIC Motorsport's teammate Patrick Pasma.
On lap 5, Cola spun but rejoined - though losing touch with the rest of the pack.
Chadwick continued a race-long battle with Facundo Regalia, which meant that Gillian could gain a couple of seconds ahead of the fighting pair. Regalia found a gap on lap 6, but the Brit promptly responded back, holding on to P9. They would swap places in another occasion one lap later.
In the midfield, there was again plenty of action: after a three-wide battle at the chicane between Chovet, Rasmussen and Pasma, the Danish Prema driver made it stick and re-claimed his position back. Chovet, now struggling pace-wise, dropped behind the group of cars from fourth to seventh place, as also Lappalainen could find his way past the Frenchman.
With five minutes left on the clock, Petecof was fastest than anyone on track and closed in on Leclerc - leaving Vips in no man's land.
Behind, Chadwick enjoyed a small margin on Regalia and caught up with Gillian. Just as she was close enough to attack the French driver, Regalia made an opportunistic move stick and moved ahead of Jamie on lap 13. A few corners later though, the British lady could move past Gillian, regaining ninth place.
On the last lap of a very fought race, Pasma went in full-attack mode on Rasmussen, but could not ultimately strip the Dane of his fourth place. Petecof also tried one last charge on Leclerc, but the Monegasque crossed the finish line to claim his second win of the weekend - the third of 2020 - with just over one second to his teammate.
Vips was a lonely third, ahead of Rasmussen, Pasma and Lappalainen.
Chadwick caught up with Regalia in the closing laps, but had to settle for ninth - her best result of the French round.
With Petecof leading Leclerc by just five points, Jamie Chadwick sits seventh in the standings with 31 points to her tally.
"A pretty tough weekend for us overall but still some positives to take forwards and a few points on the board." - she commented. "I’m looking forward to working hard in order to bounce back stronger for Red Bull Ring. As always a big thanks to the Prema team and Rodin Cars for their support".
Now the series will head to Red Bull Ring, Austria, in three weeks time.