Nerea Marti takes her first pole in W Series after a dramatic end to the first qualifying of the season.
30 minutes of qualifying and it’s a double header weekend so the fastest time sets the grid for race 1 and the second fastest time sets the grid for race 2. The plan was simple then, drive the fastest to get the most out of the session.
10 minutes in and it was the usual suspects topping with time sheets. Chadwick was on pole with Powell and Kimiläinen closely behind. It is always important to remember that for W Series all the cars are required to start the session with a full tank of fuel, so lap times were consistently getting faster.
Pushing the limits at this new track, Marti had a moment nearly ending her session coming into turn 7 and 8 but she kissed the wall with her tyre and was able to carry on. Having watched the Formula 1 sessions as well the drivers are beginning to find gains around this new track.
Half way through and the traffic is causing havoc as Powell and Kimiläinen were now faster than Chadwick. Street circuits always create traffic issues. Those on fast laps can unintentionally be hindered by divers on slow laps because there are not many places to easily get out of the way on this fast street circuit.
The session saw its first red flag when Chloe chambers spun at the chicane. She was top rookie at that point in P5 and putting in a very soild performance, not far off her teammate, Jamie Chadwick. She did manage to get the car going again so the red flag didn’t last long.
With only 9 minutes left it was time for the drivers to push for their position for race 1. The banker laps are for race 2 which will mix up the grid. This format for double headers means the goal for drivers is just to go fast, which makes it much easier for us to follow at home.
Coming back out Chadwick had the pace on the drivers. She took top spot and only kept improving her time as fuel weight came down. Powell had a strong start to the session but now couldn’t seem to get on match Chadwick’s pace.
In the closing stages of the session everyone was putting in faster laps and finding the limits of the track. Nerea Marti put in an incredible lap with 90 seconds left in the session, topping the time sheets. This pushed Chadwick down to P2 and Powell down to P3.
Just 30 seconds to go and Fabienne Wohlwend had a big incident bringing out the red flag. She got out of the car and was ok, but this ended the session. That meant that Marti took her maiden pole in W Series for race 1 and was on the first row for race 2.
Chadwick will be pole for race 2 while Powell lost out the most from the red flag. She was up by 2 tenths on Marti’s pole lap when the red flag came out. Powell will start P3 for race 1 and P4 for race 2.