W Series reigning champion Jamie Chadwick’s perfect day was rewarded with pole position in the Austrian second round: the Veloce Racing driver preceded Beitske Visser and Emma Kimilainen, whose penalty paves the way for rookie Bruna Tomaselli in third.
By looking at the timing screens after the second qualifying of the season, we might think that it’s 2019 again: Jamie Chadwick battling Beitske Visser, with the flying Finn Emma Kimilainen close behind.
In another tightly fought 30-minute qualifying, Jamie Chadwick clinched her fourth pole position in the series, having topped the earlier free practice session and completing a perfect day for the Veloce Racing driver, who was fastest in all three sectors.
“I’m really happy and I think that makes up for last weekend." – said Chadwick. "That’s the first job done and tomorrow is the second job, so I’m happy to get that one out of the way."
"We had planned to do a few more laps on the used tyres to get a better feel with less fuel on the new tyres but, to be honest, the new tyres took a little longer than we thought. Fortunately, it all came together then and I’m happy with the result."
Behind her though, positions kept changing throughout the session: Chadwick had to respond to the fast laps of Irina Sidorkova, Beitske Visser and teammate Bruna Tomaselli – the latter enjoying a remarkable session with fourth at the chequered flag.
The session was red flagged early on for a spin by American Sabré Cook, who unfortunately ended her session stuck in the gravel trap as she warmed up her tyres.
It would be rookie and youngest driver on the grid Irina Sidorkova to set the early pace, before having a lap time deleted for track limits.
Tomaselli was briefly stuck in the pitlane for a wheel nut issue, but was able to rejoin and was quickly up to pace with the front-runners.
The Brazilian will start from the third grid slot due to a three place grid drop inflicted to Emma Kimilainen for an accident caused at the first round last week. Similarly, Vicky Piria and Sabré Cook also had to deal with the same penalty.
Kimilainen had a technical issue and also spent most of the session in the pits, with her mechanics having to change rear-roll bars. Still, Emma managed to go out as the time ran out and set the third fastest time.
“There were some issues today but we overcame them." – she explained. "I’m very proud of my team for how quickly they changed the rear roll-bar and tyres even though we had pressure because of the time. Then I could get myself together and put in some good lap times in the end. That part I’m really happy about, but I have the penalty so will start from sixth."
"It is not as bad as it could be. I will start from there and I’m really happy because I know I have the pace to be on the podium.”
W Series Academy’s Nerea Marti edged teammate Irina Sidorkova – with both the drivers spending most of their day trading positions at the front. Marti, who started from 16th place one week ago, will be taking the start of her second W Series race from the second row in P4, ahead of the Russian teenager, who was also briefly in the gravel in the closing minutes, but rejoined with no damages.
To make up for her very unlucky Styrian GP, Marta Garcia had a more positive day and will start from seventh, ahead of podium finisher Sarah Moore. The Briton – one of the revelations of last round – opted to set her first timed lap approximately mid-way through the session, with a set of new tyres.
Norwegian racer Ayla Agren was looking strong for most of the session, but could not improve in the final minutes and was ninth, preceding Styrian GP best rookie Belen Garcia. Newcomer Abbie Eaton seemed a lot more comfortable today and was P11, one second adrift pole sitter Chadwick.
Vicky Piria struggled in free practice, but managed to find speed and was up to third at one point, before slipping to 12th. She will start from P15 tomorrow, allowing Alice Powell, Fabienne Wohlwend and Jessica Hawkins to gain one position each.
It was a nightmare of a day for Powell – the dominant winner of the previous round: the Brit reported issues with her car both in free practice and qualifying and found herself without a competitive lap time until the final minute, where she eventually set the 13th fastest time.
Both Wohlwend and Hawkins were fast six days ago, but struggled in today’s qualifying and will start alongside on row 7. Gosia Rdest, Miki Koyama and Sabré Cook round out the timesheets.
The second of the eight 2021 W Series rounds will get underway tomorrow, Saturday 3rd July, at 16:30 CEST.