Despite being pushed by numerous challengers in practice & qualifying, plus a grid penalty, Jamie Chadwick continues her W Series perfection.
After a stress-free weekend at Silverstone for Jamie Chadwick, the Circuit Paul Ricard was anything but. With the drivers becoming more comfortable as the season progresses and a track that leads to plenty of overtaking opportunities, Saturday’s race was possibly some of the best W Series racing we’ve seen to date. With numerous cars aiming for the front and countless battles from the podium positions all the way back to tenth, there was plenty to break down from France.
1 – Chadwick tested in Practice & Qualifying
For much of the 2022 season, Jamie Chadwick has operated without much pressure. She entered the weekend with four wins and three poles from the first four rounds. However, the challengers were aplenty in practice with Beitske Visser, Nerea Marti & Marta Garcia all finishing ahead of Chadwick. That trio once again pushed her in qualifying, with Chadwick only getting the top spot on the final run. However, after qualifying concluded the marshalls determine that Chadwick had indeed crossed the pit exit line and thus was penalized two spots into 3rd place on the starting grid. That lifted Beitske Visser to her first ever W Series pole. Friday indicated that round five wouldn’t be quite as easy for the champ.
2 – Opening Half Chaos
It was a chaotic start when the lights went out. Marti had a poor start, slowing down the inside lane which ultimately led to a front stretch collision that sent Abbie Eaton into the air. While she didn’t even make it to turn one, Jamie Chadwick took advantage to quickly jump into second place. A great start by her eventually led to an overtake a few turns later to take the lead. Once the cars finally got going again, Emely de Heus collied with Chole Chambers which ended the Jenner Racing driver’s day. de Heus got a ten-second penalty, but due to the two quick cautions, the first half of the race was mostly spent behind the safety car.
3 – Challengers fighting to Challenge
Three or four drivers probably fancied their chance to take on Chadwick for the front. Once again Beitske Visser, Nerea Marti & Belen Garcia all looked to have the pace to easily get into second place. However, their battling, along with Marta Garcia, meant that by the time that foursome had slotted into place, Chadwick was more than a second clear. Drivers were looking for dives and moves around the outside from second back to tenth place lap after lap. Further back in the point positions Fabienne Wohlwend and her teammate Marta Garcia battled each other hard, with the British trio Abbi Pulling, Sarah Moore, and Alice Powell all swapping positions for the back half of the race. While in the end, no one could challenge Chadwick for the lead, it was a showcase for W Series competitiveness. Perhaps a sign of what next year could look like.
4 – Chadwick Perfection Continues
Jamie once again stood up to any test this season. Visser led the pack into turn one, but Chadwick was into the lead soon after. Even on the second restart when Visser retook the lead into the first turn, it was back to Chadwick moments later. She is simply racing at a level above the field. To further prove her dominance, she took the fastest lap on the next to last lap. Unwilling to give up even a single point despite her massive lead in the Championship. Can she win all ten rounds?
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5 – A day for Quantfury
Heading into Paul Ricard, the Quantfury team was 4th in the standings. Their drivers were 6th and 7th. A decent season, but not fully challenging. In France, they’ve hit another level. Both Belen Garica and Nerea Marti were in the top five in both practice and qualifying. On Saturday, they were the best of the rest, After getting just a single place on a podium this season, they took a double podium. Both drivers moved up two places in the Driver’s Championship and lifted the team into second place. Quantfury is the only team to have both drivers finish in the points every single round this season.
The W Series continues next weekend at the Hungaroring on Saturday, July 30th. It’ll be the end of the European portion of the 2022 season before the series takes a break until October.