W Series Race 1: Chadwick Wins in an Exciting Season Opener

Jamie Chadwick opens her 2022 defence campaign with a win in a very exciting and dramatic race 1. Miami proved to be quick but had good overtaking spots as the was battles all the way down the field.

As they line up on the grid Marti was ready to cover off Chadwick into turn 1 but Chadwick was pointing towards her competitor. The rest of the grid follow behind as all 18 drivers made it to the race after various crashes in qualifying.

Lights out and disaster for Marti who stalled on the grid along with Powell. Heartbreak for Marti after taking pole but Chadwick and Kimiläinen made it through with great starts for each of them.

Jamie Chadwick leads into turn 1. Image courtesy of W Series Media

After stalling Powell was in P18 and was pushing to catch up to the pack on the opening lap. She hit the wall on the outside of turn 7.  She hit some dust just off the racing line and it dragged her wide, causing her to hit the wall which sprayed lots a debris.

This brought out the safety car which means that, in W Series, the clock keeps running down until the track is clear to go racing. But, with 18 minutes left on the clock, the stewards finally decided to bring out the red flag so the marshals could actually remove the car.

Abbi Pulling was reporting potential damage and vibrations on her car after the first lap incidents. However, after investigation by her engineer in the red flag period there was a flat spot on her tyre but it was not down to the canvas so her engineer gave the ok.

Alice Powell, the driver coach. Image courtesy of W Series Media

Just before the rolling restart we got to witness Alice Powell the driver coach. She is Abbi Pulling’s coach and, evening though she was in P9, Powell told Pulling to go and get a podium. This struck a cord with Pulling who then got on the radio to plan some push laps on the restart.

At the restart Chadwick timed it perfectly and bolted once the safety car was in. The cortDAO teammates where battling each other in P3 and P4. Garcia manged to stay ahead at turn 11 by being late under braking and eventually begun to pull away from Wohlwend.

As Garcia got up to the back of the leaders, Wohlwend became the leader of a train of cars, which were all trying to overtake each other. Down the main straight it became 3 wide with another pair overtaking behind. This repeated itself for several laps.

With about 9 minutes left many wanted to get past Wohlwend. But she tapped the wall in sector 2, causing the car to become unbalanced. As Abbie Eaton came to overtake the slower pink car, Wohlwend went straight on and took Eaton with her into turn 5 the next lap.

Meanwhile the battle for the lead had got closer. Even with the yellow flags in sector 1 this didn’t stop the speed of Kimiläinen. She had a great run into turn 11 and broke late to take the lead from Chadwick. Then putting in a strong defence before the safety car eventually came out for the stricken cars.

Fabienne Wohlwend gets a ride back after an incident. Image courtesy of W Series Media

It looked like Kimiläinen had timed that move perfectly as the clock ran down. But she would need one last strong defence because the safety car came in to give us an exciting 1 lap shoot out to the end.

On the restart Kimiläinen tried to leave Chadwick behind but the 2 time champion was with her all the way and brought Garcia along with her. In the slipstream Chadwick had more speed down the main straight and was ahead of Kimiläinen. Garcia then tried to follow Chadwick, making it a 3 way battling into turn 1.

Heartbreak for Kimiläinen as she goes deep into turn 1 trying to take back P1. She managed to get going into P3 and was all over the gearbox of Garcia. In a last attempt to push for P2 she out-braked Garcia into turn 17. But disaster as she spun out of the points finishing P17.

This left the first win of the season to Jamie Chadwick, Garcia capitalising on Kimiläinen’s mistake to finish P2 and a debut W Series podium for Jess Hawkins. The podium was full of smiles as the season is now officially underway.

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