F3 Regional: Jamie Chadwick finishes P8 in Misano race 2
After claiming her first podium in the season opener, Jamie Chadwick defended fifth place for the whole second Misano race, before dropping to eighth with 4 minutes to go.
Following her breakthrough performance in the season opener at Misano - where Jamie Chadwick claimed a podium position in her first ever Formula 3 Regional European Championship race - the British Prema racer lined up on the grid again in seventh position for the second race at Misano World Circuit.
With the sun already setting, it was a beautiful dusk scenery over the Italian riviera: Arthur Leclerc slotted in again on pole after his disastrous first race, where he was eliminated from the lead after a couple of corners following an accident with Juri Vips and teammate Gianluca Petecof. Dane Oliver Rasmussen, winner of the opening race, started from the second row alongside Petecof.
When the lights went off, it was another rocket start for Chadwick, who advanced to fifth place in similar fashion as in the first race. This time, it was a cleaner start among the front-runners: Leclerc led Petecof and Rasmussen, while Pesce and Henrion already banged wheels at the back of the field at Turn 8.
Red Bull driver Juri Vips, still stuck with zero points on his championship tally after the first race retirement, started to put pressure on fellow Scandinavian Rasmussen, but the Prema driver made no mistakes and comfortably held off.
After a few laps, drivers settled in their respective positions - until Jamie Chadwick locked the rears and went slightly off line at "La Quercia" corner, allowing Patrick Pasma to close in. From that moment, Chadwick's second race turned into another massive defensive effort: as the #55 Rodin-sponsored Tatuus F3 car fell into the clutches of KIC Motorsport's drivers Pasma and Lappalainen, the inaugural W Series champion performed again well under extreme pressure and held off the attacks of the Finnish drivers. Pasma couldn't find a way past the 22-year old lady and a small train of cars shaped a 4-way battle for fifth place when Pierre Louis Chovet joined the party in the only Van Amersfoort Racing entry.
Ahead, Petecof signed the fastest lap and ate away some of his gap from Leclerc, but the Monegasque responded back, breaking away with a margin of over 2.5 seconds on his closest pursuer.
But all the eyes were on Jamie Chadwick, who regrouped after a small mistake again at Turn 8 and managed to keep Pasma and Lappalainen at bay some more laps.
With four minutes left on the clock, Chadwick was visibly struggling for tyres: Pasma forced his way past and advanced into fifth, with also Chovet and Lappalainen overtaking the British racer with less than three minutes to go.
The same fate also occurred to experienced KIC Motorsport's driver Juri Vips, whose pace dropped dramatically in the final stages and had to give up two positions to the charging Pasma and Chovet, just as Arthur Leclerc started his final lap of the race.
It was a faultless drive from the younger Leclerc, who won his first F3 race in Misano's second round ahead of Gianluca Petecof and Oliver Rasmussen, making it a 1-2-3 for team Prema.
Pasma and Chovet finished in the top five, while Jamie Chadwick was 8th across the finish line, after a battling race.
After a confident drive throughout the 30-minute race, Chadwick's pace faded in the closing laps as she hit the tyre performance drop-off. Despite having relevalnt knowledge of the Tatuus T318 car - which she drove to victory in Misano last year in the W Series - it was Jamie's first race weekend on Pirelli rubber, which feature a very different wear management compared to the Hankook tyres employed in the fully-female F3 championship.
Rounding out the first racing weekend of the 2020 Formula Regional European Championship, Sunday's third race will get underway at 10:50 CET, with again Arthur Leclerc taking the start from pole position and Jamie Chadwick pursuing more points to add to the 19 grabbed on Saturday.