Jamie Chadwick gambles on strategy in wet-dry-wet F.Regional Race 2
After a successful gamble on tyre strategy, Jamie Chadwick was denied of a potential podium finish by a late Safety Car in a crazy wet-dry-wet Formula Regional second race at Mugello.
British racing driver Jamie Chadwick was ninth in Saturday’s first Formula Regional European Championship race at Mugello, in a weekend heavily influenced by changing weather conditions.
Starting eighth in Sunday’s morning race after a challenging qualifying, the W Series reigning champion was faced with a strategy dilemma: after rain showers overnight, the track remained wet in the morning but, as the Tatuus F3 cars went on the grid, Chadwick decided to gamble and switch to slicks.
Around her, Pierre Louis Chovet (Van Amersfoort Racing), Konsta Lappalainen (KIC Motorsport), GIllian Henrion (Henrion Track Events) and Andrea Cola (Monolite Racing) followed Chadwick’s tyre choice, while the rest of the field remained on wets.
Leclerc, who won the first race in commanding fashion, started ahead of Prema teammates Oliver Rasmussen and Gianluca Petecof - the Italian team opting for a more conservative strategy for its drivers starting in the two opening rows.
The start was further delayed when Lappalainen spun and crashed on his way to Turn 1 in the formation lap - proving the extremely tricky conditions of the Italian track.
When the lights went out, it was a clean start throughout the field, with the two Premas of Leclerc and Petecof leading Rasmussen, Pasma and Famularo.
Jamie Chadwick, initially struggling for grip, had a slower start and dropped behind Vips, in eighth place after Lappalainen’s retirement.
The drivers on dry-weather tyres initially struggled - both Chovet and Chadwick losing a couple of positions and the latter making a trip to the gravel trap on the second lap that costed her around 10 seconds.
But, as the track surface dried up, they could catch up quickly - forcing the leading drivers to a pitstop.
Chovet was making up places and passed both Rasmussen and Petecof, advancing into second place behind Arthur Leclerc.
When most of the field pitted, Chadwick found herself in fourth place, Behind Leclerc, Chovet and Henrion.
The Monegasque Prema driver finally stopped, paving the way for the drivers that had gambled on slicks for a potential podium finish.
Just as Chadwick gained almost three seconds per lap on Henrion and overtook him, the rain was back on the Tuscan racetrack: in another turn of events, the drivers dived back into the pitlane to switch back on wet tyres.
Henrion was the last to pit, while Chovet limped back to the pits in a now extremely wet track. Chadwick had a good stop and could rejoin again in third place. When position settled, Chovet led the field by over 20 seconds, ahead of Henrion and Chadwick.
With 12 minutes left on the clock, the Safety Car came out after an off by Andrea Cola, who beached his Monolite Racing Tatuus in the gravel trap. The race neutralization meant disaster for the top-three drivers, as Arthur Leclerc could annihilate a 40-second gap.
At the restart, Chovet kept the lead from the lapped Pasma, while Leclerc immediately moved ahead of Chadwick. Soon after, yesterday’s winner went around the outside of Henrion in yet another outstanding move that brought him up to second place. He then closed in on Van Amersfoort Racing’s Pierre Louis Chovet and passed him for the lead with two laps to go.
At the same time, Chadwick defended hard on her Prema teammates, but had to give up fifth and sixth places from the fast charging Petecof, Famularo and Rasmussen.
Leclerc soon pulled away and opened an impressive 15 seconds gap on Chovet, winning his second race of the weekend in yet another dominant performance.
Petecof, who lost the championship leadership to Leclerc, was third ahead of Henrion, Famularo, Rasmussen and Chadwick.
Pesce, Pasma and Vips rounded out the top-10.
Despite finishing one place ahead of her starting position, the second race at Mugello feels like a missed opportunity for Jamie, who was denied of a potential podium finish by an unlucky Safety Car timing.
Nonetheless, the British racer will have one more race this afternoon, as Formula Regional European Championship will contest its third race at 15:40 CEST.