W-Series: Garcia takes dominant win at Norisring
Marta Garcia scored her first race victory in the fourth round of W-Series championship on the streets of Nuremberg, after a flawless drive from pole position.
In an otherwise warm an sunny Nuremberg, sparse drops of rain started to fall as the 18 drivers went on the grid. The rain did not show up though, and the race started with pole-sitter Marta Garcia taking the lead.
Behind her, Jamie Chadwick had a poor getaway and was passed by championship rival Beitske Visser on the outside of turn 1.
The first dreaded lap on the Norisring went by relatively untroubled, except for front-runner Gosia Rdest, who had an unfortunate contact at the hairpin and damaged her front wing but was initially able to continue.
Garcia managed to build a small gap on Visser in the first laps, as Chadwick tried every way around the Dutchwoman, unsuccessfully.
On the third lap, Sarah Moore dived on the inside of turn one attempting a move on Shea Holbrook, but unluckily the British driver collected the back of the American and both spun. While Holbrook continued, Moore was soon after forced to retire her car, having suffered a front-right suspension damage.
Alice Powell was the star of the first part of the race: starting from the back of the grid following troubles in every sessions at the Norisring, she had a great start and stormed her way through the field up until P9.
Rdest was called by race direction to change her damaged front wing and pitted, but was subsequently handed a drive through penalty for speeding in the pitlane. It was thus a disappointing end of a promising weekend for the Polish racer, who nonetheless showed great feeling with the Norisring racetrack.
Wohlwend started to put serious pressure on Chadwick, with Visser a few metres ahead.
Series returnee Emma Kimilainen moved up to P6 and then attempted a daring move on Hawkins soon after at Dutzendteich-Kehre. With Jessica Hawkins not giving up the position easily, the two enjoyed some exciting side by side action, before Hawkins went deep into theescape road at the hairpin, promoting Kimilainen to 5th.
Holbrook and Piria were inflicted drive through penalties as well.
British star Jamie Chadwick managed to break away from Wohlwend and got closer and closer to Visser, her rival responding with a fast lap.
Kimilainen also closed the gap on Fabienne Wohlwend, but the driver from Lichtenstein defended well and her competitor wasn't ultimately able to made a move stick.
With a few minutes left on the clock, both Jessica Hawkins and Alice Powell started to slow down on the main straight and dropped a few positions back. Powell, after having made her way up to P8, once again saw her efforts in vain and had to take the way of the pitlane with three laps to go and retire with a fuel pump issue.
A furious Powell jumped out of the car, as her string of bad luck continued after Misano.
Hawkins, who had enjoyed her best weekend so far, had to retire for a misfire.
"When I changed to fifth I just lost all power. I'm gutted, but this weekend has been a massive step in the right direction and I'll carry that forward into Assen." - she commented.
Chadwick, having taken some space from Visser, tried again one last charge for second but without success.
After 36 laps of the iconic Norisring, Marta Garcia took a commanding victory, crossing the line with a 3.6 seconds advantage over Visser and Chadwick. The young Spanish star drove a flawless race and got to stand on the podium again after the opening round at Hockenheim.
"Started the race from P1, and I stayed there!" - commented the newly race winner Garcia. "I had a really good start actually, probably one of the best I’ve ever done, and after that I managed to maintain good pace throughout the race. I think the fact that Beitske and Jamie were fighting each other a bit gave me a chance to get a bit further ahead."
Visser was second, gaining a few points from Chadwick.
“I started from fifth – my start was mega in fact – and I got straight up to second by Turn One. Obviously I tried hard to catch Marta after that, but she was a bit too quick today. She was very fast in qualifying and in the race, in fact. At the end Jamie got quite close to me but I always felt I had things under control. So, yes, I’m happy with my second place today.” - were Visser's words at the end of the race.
Jamie Chadwick commented: "I've lost it at the start, really. After that I think the pace was ok, but Marta is very fast and the lights put me out a little bit. Not too disappointed, another solid result."
Wohlwend lead Kimilainen respectively for P4 and P5, while Miki Koyama once again improved her starting position and brought home a solid 6th place.
Sabré Cook enjoyed another point-scoring race, running consistently in the top ten and finishing a seasonal best of 7th.
Cook also commented on the starting procedure that caught some of the drivers off-guard: "I was a bit confused at the start because the procedures have been different in the previous races and I didn't have the start that I wished. Fell back a little bit, made a tiny contact at the first corner that slightly damaged my front wing, but thankfully it wasn't as bad as other girls had. From there I worked my way from eleventh up to seventh. Made good passes under braking and the car felt really good. Unfortunately there were some girls that had mechanical failures, so you want to earn the points, not just get them, but I'm really happy to finish in the points again"
Tasmin Pepper was 8th at the chequered flag, followed by Esmee Hawkey.
The South African said: "I'm really happy about my start at the beginning of the race, got hit from behind and from the side at turn one, so making it out of turn one alive was good. Coming home with P8, it's obviously not where I want to be, but it's points and at this point of the championship it's what you need to do".
Home hero Naomi Schiff rounded out the top 10 and equalled her best result this season. Caitlin Wood was 11th, with Vicky Piria ending up P12 after spending the first part of the race in ninth.
Jamie Chadwick's lead in the championship standings is now down to 10 points over Beitske Visser. With today's victory, Garcia is now a mere 13 points behind Visser and 23 behind Chadwick. Wohlwend moves up to 4th in the standings after Powell's awful weekend.
W-Series now will move to the Netherlands, with two rounds to go and one home race for either Visser and Chadwick. The championship battle will be on once again in two weeks time in Assen.
In Marta's words:
“I had a really good start actually, probably one of the best I’ve ever done.”
Ph credits: Racers-BehindTheHelmet.com