British driver Jamie Chadwick, 20, claimed victory in the opening race of the new W Series at Germany’s Hockenheim circuit. The polesitter had to cope with strong opposition from the 17 other drivers in the first race of the first 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 provided a challenge for all the W Series drivers, but Chadwick was at the top of the time sheets for most of the 25-minute session, Fabienne Wohlwend, from Liechtenstein, claimed the other front-row starting position and another Briton, Sarah Moore, started third on the grid.
Weather conditions improved by race time, and Chadwick made a perfect start to lead the field; however, a brake issue for her at the hairpin gave Moore a window of opportunity to steal the lead. Later on the opening lap, a collision at Turn 6 resulted in Megan Gilkes and Emma Kimilainen retiring and the safety car being deployed so that their damaged cars could be moved out of the way.
After the restart, Alice Powell surged up from sixth to P2 to form a Brit-versus-Brit-versus-Brit battle at the head of the field. But Chadwick stayed cool out front while Spain’s Marta Garcia came through to third by the checkered flag.
“Going into the race, the conditions were tricky which made things a bit more difficult,” related Chadwick, “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.”
Behind that three-way battle there were some impressive gains through the field, including Tasmin Pepper, who drove from 16th to eighth and Miki Koyama, who moved 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 0.001s slower than her best.