F3 Regional: Jamie Chadwick P10 in Monza race 1
In Formula Regional's first race in Monza, British racing driver Jamie Chadwick showed good race pace and battled for sixth, before being hit at the second chicane and finishing P10.
The fifth round of the Formula Regional European Championship got underway at the Autodromo Nazionale di Monza, one of the most famous racing venues in the world and historic home of the Italian Grand Prix.
British upcoming talent Jamie Chadwick returned to Europe’s continental F3 series after a couple of challenging rounds but confident after strong pre-event test days and a second practice session on Friday where the 2019 W Series champion and F3 Asia race winner was close to the front-runners in a very compact F.Regional grid.
In the rainy Friday morning, the first official practice session became virtually irrelevant when the sun came out from behind the clouds and shone on the Monza Park.
Chadwick was P8 and P7 in Friday - showing good speed ahead of Saturday’s qualifying.
In a slightly chilly but sunny morning, the first qualifying saw Patrick Pasma taking pole position after having topped all the sessions so far in the Monza weekend. The Finnish KIC Motorsport’s driver edged Arthur Leclerc in Q1, while the Prema cars had to settle for second, third and fourth.
Jamie Chadwick briefly led the session early on but, when the times started to drop, she couldn’t do better than tenth place - a position that she would replicate in the second 15-minute qualifying session valid for the race 2.
Patrick Pasma was again fastest, while Rasmussen emerged as Prema’s fastest car ahead of Petecof and Leclerc. Approximately 1 second adrift KIC’s poleman, Chadwick described her sessions as “messy”.
“Difficult start of the weekend” - she told us. “We showed quite a good pace in practice, we were actually really happy with the car. But now in qualifying it was quite a messy session: I tried a bit too hard and missed out eventually.”
“I just really didn’t put it together at all, but I am still confident on the back of yesterday to have a strong race.”
The first race of the weekend went green at Monza in optimal conditions and saw weekend dominator Pasma maintaining the lead into the tricky Turn 1 from Petecof and Leclerc - the latter losing a position at the start. Jamie Chadwick had a good start and immediately advanced to eighth place as she moved ahead of Pierre Loius Chovet and Nico Gohler - the German making his return to the championship in place of Red Bull junior Juri Vips. Before the end of the first lap, Chadwick gained one more position on Lappalainen.
While the positions at the top of the classify remained unchanged throughout the opening laps, Jamie showed great pace and closed on Gillian Henrion.
Lappalainen made the position back but was then investigated and penalized for having overtaken outside of the track limits. He would receive a 5-second time penalty at the end of the race.
By lap 5, Pasma had already opened a gap of over one second over Petecof, while, one lap later, Oliver Rasmussen started to put pressure on Leclerc for third place - initially allowing Famularo to join the leading train.
Chadwick passed Henrion for what was effectively the sixth position in a charging race for the British racer. Henrion came under threat from Van Amersfoort’s Chovet, who had dropped back at the start of the race. At around the mid-way mark, the race suddenly came alive in the midfield, but Patrick Pasma kept silently to add tenth after tenth to his leading margin. Leclerc, after his scraps with teammate Rasmusses, lost touch with Petecof and had to further defend from the charge of the Dane.
With approximately 6 minutes to go, Chadwick was hit under braking at the second chicane by Chovet: while Jamie was spotted into the paved run-off area and had to rejoin in 11th position, the Frenchman continued in sixth. He would later receive a 10-second time penalty for the incident.
The action-filled final three laps saw Rasmussen going side-byside with Leclerc once again on the main straight and into the First Chicane, where Leclerc locked up but remained ahead. At La Roggia, Rasmussen tried to complete the move around the outside and temporarily made it to third, but they switched back few metres later. In the desperate attempt to clinch the final step of the podium, Rasmussen slided into the gravel at Ascari but rejoined.
After 18 laps, Patrick Pasma crossed the line to take his first victory in the series - and his second podium after the opening round at Misano - breaking Prema Powerteam’s winning streak.
Gianluca Petecof was second, in front of Leclerc and Rasmussen. Alessandro Famularo took home fifth place for Dutch team Van Amersfoort, as Henrion Gillian was an impressive sixth.
After Chovet’s penalty, Jamie Chadwick finished P10 and added one more point to her championship tally - in a race that certainly didn’t reflect her improved pace.
“Obviiously not great, but pace was good until I was taken off and finished down in P10.” - she said. “But pretty confident for tomorrow”, added the Brit, who was always in the mix of the battles for sixth.
Sunday will be a busy day for Formula Regional European Championship, as the drivers will hit the track for two more races from the Temple of Speed. Race 2 will go green at 09:00 CEST (08:00 BST).