Jamie Chadwick completed a tricky Barcelona Formula Regional weekend with another P10, as the series moves to Imola in three weeks time.
Yesterday's action at the Circuit de Catalunya, Barcelona, was followed by the much awaited announcement of the merge between the Formula Regional European Championship and the Formula Renault Eurocup - two of the leading F3 championships in Europe that will join forces next year and will create a hugely competitive platform for the upcoming formula talents.
With the series currently employing the same Tatuus T-318 chassis as in the all-female W Series, we can likely expect some of the ladies trying a double-program in 2021.
As we eagerly await for the next season to see many female talents back behind the wheel of a F3 car, 2019 W Series champion Jamie Chadwick was back this weekend in the Formula Regional's sixth round of the 2020 season in Barcelona. After a challenging qualifying that saw her taking P11, P10 and P10 for the three scheduled races on Spanish soil, the young British driver moved up two positions in both Saturday's races and finished tenth and ninth after the opening heats.
Making his debut in the series, Norwegian Dennis Hauger took pole position for both race 2 and 3, as Van Amersfoort Racing always locked out the front row of the grid. Despite their blistering pace, though, Hauger and Chovet had to settle for podium finishes, as Prema's Oliver Rasmussen won both Saturday's races thanks to his remarkable starts off the line.
Hauger lined up ahead of the field onec again on Sunday morning, alongside teammate Chovet. Championship leader by one point Gianluca Petecof preceded Rasmussen on the second row, leading the Prema train.
When the lights went out for the final time in Barcelona, Petecof had the perfect start and went alongside the VAR drivers as the cars sprinted towards Turn 1, but it was Pierre Louis Chovet to lead the pack at Turn 2 left-hander, as the Dutch team's drivers restored positions under braking. Hauger slotted in second, ahead of Petecof and Leclerc.
Matteo Nannini, subbing in for Andrea Cola this weekend, had another outstanding getaway and advanced to fifth, while Jamie Chadwick got away well and battled with Gillian Henrion in the opening corners but ultimately held tenth place.
Nannini showed great pace and tried to have a look on Leclerc, but soon came under increasing pressure from Rasmussen, who had a slow start and had dropped two positions after the first lap. The Monolite Racing Tatuus proved to be very fast on the main straight and Nannini, who claimed a podium on this very track in the FIA F3 Championship earlier this year, again got closer to championship contender Leclerc.
As the Prema driver found some space to breath, a nice fight emerged right behind Nannini: both the KIC Motorsport drivers joined Rasmussen in the fight for P5.
Jamie Chadwick always remained within the one second gap from Henrion, but the British lady struggled to make a move as her laptimes matched her competitor's.
Chadwick caught up with Henrion on lap 8, as the Rodin Cars-sponsored Prema found some pace and gained three to four tenths per lap on the Frenchman, but positions remained unchanged.
Ahead, the two Van Amersfoort drivers were separated by only one second and enjoyed a safe gap of over 2.5s on the closest pursuer - Prema's Gianluca Petecof.
With 14 minutes to go, Rasmussen got more aggressive on Nannini, but the Italian defended just as hard. On lap 15, the Dane finally made the move stick and broke into the top 5 after his two victories on Saturday.
Patrik Pasma and Konsta Lappalainen couldn't keep the pace to remain close to Rasmussen and they proceded to battle out for seventh: Monza's dominator Pasma initially held on, but Lappalainen made the winning move on lap 17.
Rasmussen, who caught up with Leclerc in the final laps, almost came together with his Monegasque teammate and had to straightline Turn 1 - gifting Nannini of another chance to close in.
Jamie Chadwick had a race-long battle with Gillian Henrion but was ultimately not able to move up to ninth and took the chequered flag a few tenths behind the Gillian Track Events #33 car.
After 19 laps around the Circuit de Catalunya, Pierre Louis Chovet finally broke the spell and took his maiden victory and the first win for Van Amersfoort Racing.
Petecof was third and extended by few points his championship leadership over Leclerc, who crossed the line in fourth. Rasmussen rounded out the top 5, preceding an outstanding Matteo Nannini for Monolite Racing. Lappalainen was seventh and led the KIC Motorsport's teammate in eighth.
"Overall we had a tricky weekend with the results, but for a new track I was happy with the progress we made." - commented Jamie Chadwick. "It wasn't easy by any means, but we made good steps forward. I'm just looking forward to hopefully having the last few races to continue with the progress we're making."
With now 2 rounds to go, the Formula Regional European Championship series will move to Imola, home of this weekend's F1 Grand Prix, on 20-22 November.