A creditable seventh place finish earned South Africa’s Tasmin Pepper valuable points in the W Series championship at the Misano circuit in Italy, where Jamie Chadwick, from Bath, UK, scored a finely judged victory – her second for the season.
At the Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli, on Italy’s Adriatic coast, Chadwick finished just half a second ahead of Beitske Visser (NDL) in second place. Third was Fabienne Wohlwend (LIE), from Liechtenstein, who had started on pole position.
At the start, Fabienne made a mediocre start, and found herself under pressure from Alice Powell (GBR) as they approached Turn One. The two cars touched – a collision that the race stewards swiftly judged to be a racing incident that warranted no penalty for either driver – pitching Alice’s car skywards and then into the gravel trap, ending her race there and then.
A short Safety Car period ensued, after which the three leaders – Jamie, Beitske and Fabienne, nose to tail in that order – put on a high-speed high-quality display, drawing clear of the rest of the field yet running always nose to tail themselves.
In fourth place, albeit a few seconds behind Fabienne in third, was local hero Vicky Piria (ITA), but Miki Koyama (JPN), who had been quickest in FP2 yesterday, was putting Vicky under a lot of pressure and, intrepid overtaker that she is, she found her way past the Italian on lap nine.
W Series races are of a half-hour’s duration plus one lap, and at the 15-minute mark, half distance, the order was: Jamie, Beitske, Fabienne, still nose to tail, followed by Miki and Vicky, behind whom there was a small gap to Marta Garcia (ESP) in sixth just ahead of Tasmin Pepper (RSA) in seventh. Behind Tasmin, slowly dropping back, was Sarah Moore (GBR), doggedly defending a train of tightly packed cars all snapping at one another’s heels behind her.
By lap 10 Beitske was applying huge pressure on Jamie, never more than half a second behind her and often much less than that, but Jamie defended with a maturity and finesse that belied her young age, and, although several times Beitske got incredibly close, she was never able to essay a genuine overtaking manoeuvre.
Even so, despite the ferocity of their battle for the lead, Jamie and Beitske began to inch ahead of Fabienne, who began to drop back inexorably, unable to keep pace with the two championship leaders, Jamie and Beitske, at the head of the field.
With eight minutes to go, the order was still unchanged, albeit the undiminished proximity of the leading pair made it a tense procession. Fabienne was still in third place, now confident that her car had not been damaged in any way by the early contact with Alice’s car, a few seconds ahead of Miki, now racing all alone in fourth place, ahead of Vicky in fifth, also running a lonely race.
On lap 12 Beitske launched a final offensive, posting a fastest lap of 1min 34.797sec, after which her front wing appeared almost attached to Jamie’s rear wing, so close were the two leading cars. On lap 15 Beitske lowered the bar again, posting a new fastest lap of 1min 34.613sec, but still Jamie held her back, cleanly and skilfully maintaining her advantage and taking the chequered flag 0.587sec ahead of the flying Dutchwoman.
In third place, after a fine drive, was Fabienne, a further 1.698sec behind Beitske, ahead of Miki (P4), Vicky (P5) and Marta, driving another unobtrusively competent race to P6, having successfully withstood a race-long attack by Tasmin, who finally had to settle for P7.
On the final lap, after having defended so resolutely for so long, Sarah was finally unable to keep Sabre Cook (USA) behind, the 24-year-old American taking eighth place after an impressive run from her P15 grid slot. Sarah therefore picked up two points for ninth, and the final point was taken by Vivien Keszthelyi (HUN), one of two reserve drivers who had started the race, the other being Sarah Bovy (BEL), who finished 12th.
Catherine Bond Muir, W Series CEO, commented: “There may not have been a whole lot of overtaking at Misano, but the race was enthralling nonetheless.
“Jamie drove brilliantly, recording her second win in three races, this time under prodigious pressure from Beitske, and I applaud both of them for putting on such a classy show of top-quality single-seater motor racing. They finished first and second in the race and it’s no surprise that they’re also first and second in the points table, Jamie leading Beitske by 68 points to 55.”
“After Zolder, when I didn’t convert pole position into a lap-one lead, I really wanted to get my start right here at Misano.” Said Chadwick.
“I knew there would be an opportunity down the inside so I really focused on getting that right, which fortunately I did. After that, I felt I had good pace, but Beitske kept me honest the whole way. She was always very close but I concentrated on not making mistakes, trying to reel off the laps in without making any errors.”
1 55 Jamie Chadwick
2 95 Beitske Visser
3 5 Fabienne Wohlwend
4 85 Miki Koyama
5 11 Vicky Piria
6 19 Marta Garcia
7 31 Tasmin Pepper
8 37 Sabré Cook
9 26 Sarah Moore
10 77 Vivien Keszthelyi