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  • Writer's pictureRACERS

Kimilainen leads first Assen free practice

Emma Kimilainen lead from lights to flag the W-Series first practice session in Assen, preceding the British duo Hawkins-Moore.

Emma Kimilainen was the first driver to head out on track in this morning's first practice and never dropped from the top of the timesheets for the whole session's duration.

After the first round of flying laps, Kimilainen was the only driver under the 1:36 mark, with an imposing margin of almost 7 tenths on series leader Jamie Chadwick.

After a brief stop in the pits for setup adjustments, title contenders Fabienne Wohlwend and home hero Beitske Visser improved to second and third, right before the Finnish pacesetter posted a 1:34.571, almost a full second ahead of Visser.

Jessica Hawkins and Sarah Moore both improved to reach the top five, with Hawkins looking forward to a clean race weekend after a string of bad luck that relegated her at the back of the points classify so far.

Alice Powell brought herself up to P5, as the former GP3 racer hopes that the technical gremlins that damaged her title hunt were finally fixed on her #27 car. This is, in fact, the same chassis that Powell drove in Misano and Norisring, as per W-Series rules the driver that suffered a crash in the previous round has to retain the same car for the following weekend.

Kimilainen further improved and signed a 1:34.195, which would reimain the fastest of the session for the remaining minutes left on the clock.

After all the drivers mounted the last set of new tyres, positions didn't change dramatically, with only Hawkins moving up to second as she switched positions with compatriot Sarah Moore. Beitske Visser ended the session in P4, ahead of Alice Powell and Jamie Chadwick, who once again after Norisring finished a practice session outside the top 5.

Wohlwend couldn't do better than 7th fastest, while Vicky Piria spent the vast majority of the session solidly in the top 10 and finished eighth. Tasmin Pepper was ninth and Esmee Hawkey topped Gosia Rdest in the final minutes for tenth.

Norisring winner and championship contender Marta Garcia was P12, as she could not improve on her last set of tyres.

Megan Gilkes will officially take part in the whole race weekend after the last round shootout, with Keszthelyi and Bovy back to their reserve drivers duties. The 30-year old Belgian was this time the fastest of the test drivers.

When the chequered flag fell, Emma Kimilainen had improved her first sector performance, but could not ultimately beat her previous benchmark. The Finnish racer, after an impressive comeback two weeks ago following an injury, immediately showed striking pace in the penultimate round of the inaugural W-Series championship and will look forward to carry momentum into the second practice later today.

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