Defending series champion Jamie Chadwick (Veloce Racing) will start the final two races of the W Series season from the front row of the grid as she bids for another title at Circuit of The Americas.
It was a frenetic qualifying session in Texas with the drivers’ best time determining the starting grid for the seventh race of the season later this afternoon and their second-best time determining the starting grid for the final race of the season on Sunday.
A session-best lap time of 2m05.663s by Abbi Pulling (PUMA W Series Team, pictured above) saw her best Chadwick by 0.07s to earn the first pole position of her W Series career in just her third race weekend with the series. Chadwick’s second-best time of 2m05.713s puts her on pole position for race two, when she will again be joined on the front row by Pulling, the youngest driver on the grid this weekend.
“I got out of the car and thought I was going to throw up which is just the adrenaline! It’s the first pole position of my career and what a place to do it at. It’s awesome,” exulted Pulling. “I tend to go into race weekends with high expectations, but this weekend I’ve tried not to think about it and keep everything at the back of my mind, and that’s a good way for me to deal with things. I’ve focused on the key points, like braking references, and keeping it super simple has seemed to work.
“I’m feeling confident about the race this afternoon, especially after that performance. I know I’m good at maintaining a tire for a long stint as I’ve done it throughout my British Formula 4 season, and the two W Series races I’ve done so far this year have given me good experience too. I may not be as experienced as some of the people around me, but I’ve got a good idea of what I need to do.”
Sarah Moore (Scuderia W) will start both races from the second row and will be joined there in race one by teammate Belen Garcia, who currently holds the eighth and final automatic qualifying spot in the championship standings for the 2022 W Series season. She will start the second race of the weekend from sixth on the grid. Title contender Emma Kimilainen (Ecurie W), Marta Garcia (PUMA W Series Team) and Beitske Visser (M. Forbes Motorsport) will all start both races in the top seven.
Chadwick is level on 109 points with Alice Powell (Racing X) at the top of the championship standings ahead of this weekend’s season-ending doubleheader at COTA. Powell leads her compatriot by virtue of having one more race victory than Chadwick this season (three wins to two), and the former will start the final two races of the season from 10th and ninth on the grid respectively.
“I really struggled on the first set of tires, so I felt like I had to pull it out of the bag at the end,” related Chadwick. “I didn’t quite have enough to beat Abbi but I have pole for race two tomorrow, which is the main thing. It’s brutal out there so it is really hard to predict where to go with the setup of the car. I don’t think we made the best call for the first set of tires, but then we did with the second set. For the championship, being ahead of Alice is the main thing. I will take today as the first step and then focus on tomorrow.”
The W Series races at COTA will air Saturday and Sunday nights at 9 p.m. ET on BeINSPORTS.