Dutch driver Beitske Visser, 24, took a decisive victory in the second W Series race at Zolder, Belgium. From P2 on the grid Beitske grabbed the lead from polesitter Jamie Chadwick at the start and held off the inaugural race winner in the all-female Formula 3 series for the remainder of the 30-minute race to win by 8.451s. Chadwick held off fellow Briton Alice Powell by just 0.633s.
Seconds after the race had started, a safety car was deployed after plumes of smoke billowed out of the back of Belgian driver Sarah Bovy’s car, ending her W Series race debut before it had even started. It was a disappointing outcome for the reserve driver who had been granted the opportunity to run in her home race only the day before.
Almost immediately after the safety car had returned to the pit lane, a similar disappointment beset fellow reserve driver Vivien Keszthelyi, who was involved in a three-car collision following a too-bold move by Esmee Hawkey, who attempted to overtake Polish driver Gosia Rdest. The shunt forced all three drivers to retire and triggered a second safety car deployment. Hungarian Keszthelyi had been given the opportunity to race just hours before, after Finnish driver Emma Kimilainen had been forced to pull out owing to illness. Hawkey will be subject to a five-place grid penalty for the next W Series race, in Misano, Italy, on June 8, having been deemed at fault for the collision.
Farther down the field, Marta Garcia, who finished third at Hockenheim two weeks ago, and Sarah Moore fought a spirited battle for P4. Marta ended up just ahead, and Sarah therefore scored her second fifth-place finish in as many races. Meanwhile, also for the second race in a row, Japanese driver Miki Koyama mounted an impressive charge through the field, this time from P13 on the grid to P8 at the finish, after having battled from 17th to seventh at Hockenheim two weeks ago. Tasmin Pepper inished sixth, ahead of Fabienne Wohlwend.
Americans Sabre Cook and Shea Holbrook finished 13th and 16th respectively.