F3 Regional: Jamie Chadwick starts Vallelunga weekend with P3 and P6 in Friday practice
British racer Jamie Chadwick started off the Formula Regional European Championship season finale at Vallelunga with a third place in FP1, followed by a sixth place in the afternoon session.
Formula Regional European Championship heads to Vallelunga, outskirts of Rome, for its 2020 eighth and final round of the season. British racer and inaugural W Series champion Jamie Chadwick entered the series for her rookie campaign this year and clinched a remarkable podium finish at her debut in Misano. After another top-5 at the Red Bull Ring, Chadwick struggled a bit more in some of the remaining rounds, but had nonetheless a learning-oriented season in the benchmark-team Prema Powerteam.
Coming into the final weekend of the season, Chadwick completed a good testing program prior to the official race meeting, which led to a very positive start on Friday morning.
On a damp and very cold circuit, the Tatuus T-318 cars went on track on wet-weather tyres, before quickly switching to slicks in the opening minutes.
Chadwick improved her lap times steadily and spent most of the first half of the session within the top-4 on the timesheet, before dropping down the order in the closing minutes.
At her very final attempt, Jamie could set the third fastest lap of the session, lapping in 1:31.403 - 0.14 seconds adrift pacesetter Dennis Hauger (Van Amersfoort Racing). Arthur Leclerc was second, as the Monegasque tackles the title battle with Brazilian teammate Gianluca Petecof. Despite a tough weekend in Imola, Oliver Rasmussen is also still in contention for the 2020 crown and was sixth in the morning session, just behind other contender Petecof.
The championship leader was back on top of the leaderboard in the afternoon session though, while Hauger and Pasma slotted in second and third. Rasmussen led a train of Prema cars in P4, with Arthur Leclerc and Jamie Chadwick right behind. The lady from Bath, UK, was sixth fastest in the final Friday practice, ending a very positive first day at Vallelunga with a best lap time of 1:29.672 - again less than a tenth of a second off of Leclerc.
“Surprisingly quite positive!” - commented Jamie after the two sessions.
“We tested here last week and in the dry our pace has been really good", she continued. "Today with the drying track in session 1 and the cool-dry track in session 2, the pace is good. But I think that in the wet this weekend it’s going to be a bit different."
After a dry yet very cold track, in fact, the rain is expected to show up again on Saturday - hopefully still allowing track activity unlike last year's final race at the Autodromo Piero Taruffi at Vallelunga.
"We’ll take what we have for today, but I think that for the weekend it’ll be a bit more difficult.” - concluded Chadwick.
The first of the two qualifying sessions scheduled for tomorrow morning will get underway at 09:00 CEST.