Jamie Chadwick was unbeatable at the new Miami street circuit as the 2-time W Series champion took a lights to flag victory in Race 2. After a great battle with Emma Kimilainen, Nerea Marti finished runner up, claiming her best finish in the series to date.
If the first race of the 2022 W Series season turned out to be as chaotic as imaginable – the second race of the weekend was a cleaner run until the final stages. What did not change, though, was the driver on the top step of the podium: reigning champion Jamie Chadwick capitalized on Race 2 pole position – obtained with the second-fastest lap in Saturday’s qualifying – and took a back to back victory that further extended her championship lead.
"I don't know if I deserved that victory”, said the Brit after taking the chequered flag ahead on Saturday, after Emma Kimilainen had shown the fastest pace on track but had to retire on the last corner after a crazy last lap shootout.
The Jenner Racing’s driver certainly deserved the second one, even though she had to watch her mirrors from the past charging Kimilainen in the opening stages.
Chadwick led the pack after a good start; from fourth on the grid, Kimilainen was again quickly into the gearbox of Nerea Marti. The Finn went deep after a really late braking, which allowed Marti to switch-back. Their battle, though, played in Chadwick’s favour, as well as Alice Powell’s: after a nightmare start on Saturday, the 2021 runner-up was back into contention and battled hard with the leading pack, also joined by Belén Garcia.
The Catalan was among the drivers suffering from a clutch issue in Race 1, which left her stationary on the grid. Nevertheless, Belén had a great recovery and was able to finish sixth. With a good start on Sunday, she was eager to finish even higher. Unfortunately, Emely De Heus – who took her first point at debut yesterday – was slow off the start in Race 2.
Abbi Pulling was on the move and passed Tomaselli for 10th place – before the Brazilian had to pit with a front right tyre puncture.
Bruna had equalled her best W Series result in Race 1 with 5th place.
On lap 3, Kimilainen found her way around Marti and started to hunt down Chadwick. Once under the second gap, though, she struggled to get into striking distance and, after a small mistake, she had to defend from the return of Nerea Marti. The two battled hard for a full lap, trading places in exciting fashion – but ultimately granting Chadwick the opportunity to check out.
On lap 8, Marti responded back and got the move done with a great last-second pass that left Kimilainen vulnerable from the attacks of Powell as well. Belén Garcia was also in the mix, waiting for her opportunity to grab her first W Series podium.
Just behind them, a second group of cars were fighting for position: Beitske Visser, Sarah Moore and the charging Abbi Pulling.
The young Briton was the fastest driver on track throughout the second half of the race and, fastest lap aftest fastest lap, she managed to overtake Visser on lap 12. A few laps later, Pulling passed Moore as well, as the Scuderia W racer lost momentum and lost seventh to Visser.
Having been demoted from fifth to tenth on the grid following her accident with Abbi Eaton on Saturday, Fabienne Wohlwend couldn’t move up the order and lost the final point-paying position to American rookie Chloe Chambers. 17-yo Chambers had finished seventh in Race 1, but received a 30 second time penalty for being out of position at the Safety Car line at the final restart. With P10in Race 2, she confirms to be the fastest rookie at Miami.
In the final stages, Nerea Marti was able to close in on race leader Chadwick, but the latter managed the gap well and never allowed the Spaniard to get close enough to attempt a move.
On the final lap, Alice Powell went for the move at the last corner for the podium; Emma Kimilainen’s car lost grip under braking on the dusty tarmac and the two made contact – in similar drama to the Race 1 final lap. Powell kissed the outside wall and damaged her front wing, but was able to continue. Kimilainen spun and rejoined, having dropped to fifth behind Belén Garcia.
Amidst the plot twists, Jamie Chadwick continued her consistency streak and won Race 2, ahead of Nerea Marti and Alice Powell.
"I'm really happy with that win and happy to bounce back to be honest” – said the two-time champion just after the race.
“I lacked confidence yesterday and didn't feel like I deserved the win, whereas this was our first proper race under green-flag conditions and I'm happy to get that one under my belt.”
“With the nature of the circuit and the heat, it was all about keeping it clean, making no mistakes and keeping the tyres in check. Nerea kept the pressure on, but I responded when I needed to, stayed calm and managed the gap well which gave me some breathing space at the end."
Marti, 20 year-old from Valencia, claimed her second podium in W Series, topping her best result of third in 2021.
"Obviously I wanted to win the race, but I'm happy with second place”, said a smiling Nerea. “I did everything I could to get past Jamie, but the end of the race was difficult because I was nervous and couldn't find the pace, but it's still a great improvement on yesterday.”
“I’m looking to carry this momentum to the next race in Barcelona, which is a circuit I like and I'm excited to race in front of my home fans."
Alice Powell made it to the podium and bounced back after a tough first day.
"The first thing was trying not to stall on the grid after my bad start yesterday”, she recapped. “My start still wasn't great, but it was better and I held my position. From there, it was about trying to learn the car because the practice and qualifying sessions were a bit messy.”
“I was struggling in the first sector over the bumps and I couldn't catch up on the straights. It was a good scrap with Belén [Garcia] and I worked hard to catch Emma [Kimiläinen]. She lost it on the brakes and I couldn't avoid her. The car was horrendous to drive after that because of the damage, but luckily I held on.”
She now finds herself seventh in the standings, 35 points down her main title contender.
"It's all about trying to catch Jamie now. I should have been on pole position yesterday but the red flag hurt me in qualifying. I need to be consistent and avoid results like yesterday when I put it in the wall, which was completely my fault."
Second in the standings is Nerea Marti, who also bounced back from stalling from pole on Saturday. The young Spaniard has the potential to take on the championship battle with her more experienced colleagues.
It was a strong race also from her Quantfury teammate Belén Garcia, now fifth in the standings. Belén completed the race in fourth, ahead of the unlucky Emma Kimilainen and Abbi Pulling.
Beitske Visser showed promising signs throughout the weekend and was seventh across the line – adding 6 more points to her tally, which allows the Dutchwoman to keep third in the points table.
Sarah Moore was eighth and preceded Marta Garcia and Chloe Chambers.
After a really strong first day of practice Fabienne Wohlwend’s weekend turned upside down and, while the driver from Liechtenstein still has to score a point, she proved to have the pace to contest for podiums.
Rookie drivers struggled a bit more in Race 2: Emely De Heus was P12, ahead of Abbie Eaton and Academy drivers Bianca Bustamante and Juju Noda.
Tereza Babickova had a difficult race, having to take evasive action at Turn 1 after Noda’s lunge and thus ending at the tail end of the pack. She was called in with an orange and black flag after she picked up front wing damage and pitted. Race 1 hero Jessica Hawkins also retired with technical issues while outside the points, and Bruna Tomaselli rounded out the field after the pit stop to change tyres.
The second W Series race meeting will be at Barcelona, for the first European round of the season. All the drivers were at Circuit de Montmelo for collective testing just two months ago – so they will look to build on the experience.