W Series: Alice Powell beats Fabienne Wohlwend to pole position
In front of her home crowd, Alice Powell secured her second pole position of the 2021 W Series season after a stunning duel with Fabienne Wohlwend, who will start tomorrow's British round from the front row.
After an exciting 30 minute qualifying, Alice Powell secured her second pole position of the season ahead of her home crowd, following a nail-biting duel with Liechtenstein's Fabienne Wohlwend as the two alternated at the top of the timing sheets.
Powell had already topped the morning free practice session, where she edged early championship leader Jamie Chadwick. Wohlwend had already shown good potential in practice, but finished behind Emma Kimilainen and Sarah Moore - for what looked like a closely fought Friday.
Chadwick set the early pace in qualifying as well, but then wasn’t able to respond back to Powell and Wohlwend as their times continued to drop into the second half of the session: Chadwick improved towards the end, but will have to start from the second row of the grid for tomorrow’s British Grand Prix.
Kimilainen, Tomaselli and Moore were also steadily in the top-5 ten minutes into the session; when everyone pitted, Vicky Piria and Ayla Agren stayed out. Piria found speed and slotted into third, only to see her fastest lap deleted for track limits. Nevertheless, the Italian was ninth before all the field went out again on new rubber.
On fresher tyres, in fact, Alice Powell was fastest in all three sectors and went ahead of Wohlwend by almost half a second. From there, the provisional pole would trade hands several times, with the drivers separated by merely two thousandths of a second at one point. With two minutes to go, local hero Alice Powell set the ultimate benchmark in 1:57.235, and remained unbeaten until the chequered flag.
Beitske Visser also had one lap deleted, but managed to join the battle for the front rows, as she slotted in fourth place, alongside 2019 title-rival Jamie Chadwick.
Emma Kimilainen was fifth fastest and will be once again one to watch for tomorrow’s race, while Nerea Marti moved into sixth place with her very final attempt and will start from row three.
The fourth row will be a British lock-out, as Sarah Moore finished seventh just ahead of series newcomer Abbi Pulling. The 18-year old reserve driver had another really impressive session and was looking strong with a few minutes left on the clock, but had to settle for eighth.
Having struggled in the previous rounds and still both at the bottom of the championship standings, Marta Garcia and Jessica Hawkins were back on pace and rounded out the top ten - but Garcia will have to serve a three place grid penalty for her contact with Gosia Rdest in the Austrian second race. This promotes Hawkins, Belen Garcia and Abbie Eaton.
Eaton had a remarkable practice session with her sixth time, but spent quite some time in the pit lane during qualifying for a change in ride height. She finished P12, and will be the lowest starting Briton tomorrow in eleventh.
Vicky Piria will start from P13 after a positive session, despite having a couple of lap times deleted for track limits. She preceded Ayla Agren, Bruna Tomaselli, Irina Sidorkova - so far not yet able to repeat her Austrian GP performance at Silverstone.
Miki Koyama and Sabré Cook round out the grid.
The third round of the 2021 W Series championship will go green Saturday 17th July at 13:25 local (14:25 CEST).