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Chadwick historic winner of inaugural W Series race

British driver Jamie Chadwick, 20, stood on the top step of the podium at Hockenheim last weekend to become the first ever W Series race winner. The pole sitter had to cope with strong opposition from the 17 other drivers in the first race of the first ever single-seater series for female drivers only, but she mastered the tricky conditions in what was a closely fought opening round to the six-race competition.

Very wet conditions in qualifying were a challenge for all the W Series drivers, but Bath-born Jamie was at the top of the time sheets for most of the 25-minute session, Fabienne Wohlwend (from Liechtenstein) claiming the other front-row starting position and another Brit, Sarah Moore, third on the grid.

As weather conditions improved ahead of the race and the 18 cars lined up behind the start-line, nerves were understandably kicking in for all the drivers, but they did not show it. Jamie made a perfect start to lead the field; however, a brake issue for her at the hairpin gave Sarah a window of opportunity to steal the lead, which she duly did. Then, still on lap one, a collision at Turn Six resulted in Megan Gilkes (CAN) and Emma Kimiläinen (FIN) retiring and the Safety Car being deployed so that their damaged cars could be moved out of the way.

Then all eyes turned to Alice Powell (GBR) who climbed from P6 to P2, creating an exciting Brit-versus-Brit-versus-Brit battle at the head of the field. But Jamie fought hard to restore her lead, Alice hot on her heels in second and Marta Garcia (ESP) storming through to third, a line-up that then continued all the way to the chequered flag.

Behind that three-way battle there were some great fightbacks, several drivers making up places from lowly starting positions, among them Tasmin Pepper (RSA), who drove from 16th to eighth; but Miki Koyama (JAP) drove even more forcefully, moving from 17th on the grid to seventh at the flag, not only setting the fastest lap of the race but the second-fastest too, just 0.001sec slower than her best.

Catherine Bond Muir, W Series Chief Executive Officer said:

“After a huge amount of hard graft by the W Series team – a small band of dedicated and talented individuals whom I’m proud but humbled to work with – it was truly emotional to see our 18 cars line up on the Hockenheim grid this afternoon.

“What then followed was a brilliant race, full of wheel-to-wheel action all the way down the field. Jamie led from pole, but I was impressed to see Sarah quickly wrest the lead from her. At the Safety Car restart Jamie reasserted herself, and the battle for victory then became a two-car fight between her and Alice. They both drove extremely well but Jamie judged things perfectly to hold on to win, and I was delighted to see one of our youngest drivers, 18-year-old Marta, finish third – her first podium finish in a single-seater race.

“Did W Series make history today? Some people have been kind enough to use those words, but it isn’t for me to say. What I will say, though, is that today was a great day for women in motorsport and women in sport, and there will be more such days to come, starting at Zolder [Belgium] in two weeks’ time.”

Dave Ryan, W Series Racing Director said:

“I don’t have a lot to say, but I do want to say this: I’ve had a lot of highlights in my racing career, but today is right up there.

“It was a superb race, everyone did a brilliant job, and congrats to them all.

“Next up: Zolder!”

Jamie Chadwick (UK), P1

“The win feels great. Going into the race, the conditions were tricky which made things a bit more difficult but off the back of qualifying and the back of yesterday, I really was pushing to get the first win.

“Losing the lead to Sarah caught me out a bit. I couldn’t get the car stopped at the hairpin and had a bit of an issue where I couldn’t get down the gears but, when the Safety Car went back in, I knew I had a good opportunity get the lead back and win.”

Alice Powell (UK), P2

“It’s great to be back on the podium especially given how the weekend started for me. The free practices didn’t really go to plan and I struggled a bit with the car so I knew that I really had to get a good start. Then, after that, I was strong through the fast corners and that’s where I tried to maximise my performance, open the gap and retain my second place.”

Marta Garcia (ESP), P3

“It feels really good to be on the podium. My performance yesterday was not so good but this morning I really felt that I improved in the wet which meant I started the race from P5. My start was good, I was fast throughout the race, and I’m really happy with how I did.”

Full Qualifying Results

Position No. Driver Nationality Laps Best time
1 55 Jamie Chadwick GBR 11 1:58.894
2 5 Fabienne Wohlwend LIE 11 2:00.624
3 26 Sarah Moore GBR 10 2:01.538
4 7 Emma Kimilainen FIN 10 2:01.673
5 19 Marta Garcia ESP 10 2:01.992
6 27 Alice Powell GBR 9 2:02.729
7 11 Vicky Piria ITA 11 2:03.340
8 95 Beitske Visser NLD 8 2:03.463
9 2 Esmee Hawkey GBR 10 2:04.298
10 3 Gosia Rdest POL 10 2:04.478
11 21 Jessica Hawkins GBR 10 2:04.616
12 20 Caitlin Wood AUS 10 2:05.529
13 37 Sabre Cook USA 10 2:05.644
14 49 Megan Gilkes CAN 10 2:05.676
15 99 Naomi Schiff DEU 10 2:05.914
16 31 Tasmin Pepper RSA 10 2:06.069
17 85 Miki Koyama JPN 10 2:06.666
18 67 Shea Holbrook USA 10 2:07.112

Full Race Results

Pos.   No. Driver Nationality Laps Time Difference Gap
1 55 Jamie Chadwick GBR 18 32:59.079
2 27 Alice Powell GBR 18 33:00.408 01.329 01.329
3 19 Marta Garcia ESP 18 33:00.771 00.363 01.692
4 95 Beitske Visser NLD 18 33:02.552 01.781 03.473
5 26 Sarah Moore GBR 18 33:04.850 02.298 05.771
6 5 Fabienne Wohlwend LIE 18 33:06.128 01.278 07.049
7 85 Miki Koyama JPN 18 33:07.890 01.762 08.811
8 31 Tasmin Pepper RSA 18 33:16.215 08.325 17.136
9 3 Gosia Rdest POL 18 33:17.968 01.753 18.889
10 20 Caitlin Wood AUS 18 33:19.463 01.495 20.384
11 21 Jessica Hawkins GBR 18 33:20.652 01.189 21.573
12 2 Esmee Hawkey GBR 18 33:22.074 01.422 22.995
13 37 Sabre Cook USA 18 33:22.444 00.370 23.365
14 99 Naomi Schiff DEU 18 33:24.411 01.967 25.332
15 11 Vicky Piria ITA 18 33:30.836 06.425 31.757
16 67 Shea Holbrook USA 18 33:45.285 14.449 46.206
17 7 Emma Kimilainen FIN DNF
18 49 Megan Gilkes CAN DNF
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