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Wohlwend tops first practice session at the Norisring

Fabienne Wohlwend finished on top of the opening practice session on the iconic Norisring street circuit, as Powell and Hawkey brought out a session-ending red flag.



As the first practice session went underway, W-Series made its debut this morning on the iconic street circuit of Norisring, Germany.


This weekend marks the return behind the wheel of Emma Kimilainen, who was ruled out of both the Zolder and Misano rounds following a first lap incident at Hockenheim that triggered an old injury for the Finnish driver.


And the first half of the session was indeed lead by Kimilainen, who stayed on top of the time sheets until 17 minutes were left on the clock.


With the first set of new tyres, Jamie Chadwick went temporarily fastest, before Misano podium-finisher Fabienne Wohlwend topped the championship leader with a best lap of 00:51.728.


"First free practice here at the Norisring, I raced here two years ago in the Audi Sport TT Cup and I was very confident coming here, the podium in Misano gave me a lot of self confidence and motivation to push even more." - commented the pacesetter Wohlwend. "The first laps were quite dusty and not a lot of grip but the more laps I could run the clear the track got. With the new tyres I could really run a clean lap, no traffic, so I'm very happy with P1 in the first free practice and hopefully we can keep the pace for tomorrow."


The session came to a premature end with 6 minutes to the chequered flag, when Alice Powell and Esmee Hawkey came together at turn 1, both damaging their Tatuus T318 cars, bringing out the red flag.


Alice Powell was sent to the medical centre for a potential wrist injury and, later, she had x-rays that revealed no fractures. She will be able to take part in the second practice session.

As the session was not restarted, it was Wohlwend to finish the first session of the weekend on top, followed by Jamie Chadwick and Sabre Cook, who improved on fresh tyres right before the stoppage.


"First time here, not what I was expecting, it's really dusty, really low grip and good fun." - said Jamie Chadwick. "I just used this session to ease my way into it, being on a street circuit I didn't want to put it into the wall in the first session. Really happy, I know there's a lot more out there, it was quite difficult with traffic and the dust as I said, so I'm looking forward to FP2."


Sabre Cook, who scored for the first time last round in Misano, Italy, said: "FP1 started off with a bit of drama because my clutch wasn't working, so I didn't get to go out initially and I was worried I didn't get to have any laps but then they got me out and I had a few laps in before we had the red flag and I'm happy where I ended up despite all the drama. I know there's still time to be gained and FP2 is going to be quite a lot different fro FP1".


Tasmin Pepper was 4th and Jessica Hawkins 5th. Beitske Visser, after spending the first half of the session in the midfield, ended P6. Kimilainen couldn't improve on her last set of tyres and finished 8th.


W-Series two reserve drivers Vivien Keszthelyi and Sarah Bovy were P15 and P16 respectively.

Marta Garcia enjoyed a solid session in the leading positions, before dropping to P13 in the final stages.


Naomi Schiff rounded out the standings, after having suffered an fuel cell leak to her car, preventing the home driver to take part in most of the opening session.



In Fabienne's words:

“With the new tyres I could really run a clean lap, no traffic, so I'm very happy with P1 in the first free practice and hopefully we can keep the pace for tomorrow.”


Ph credits: Racers-BehindTheHelmet.com

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