The W Series had another first time race winner in Assen on Saturday after Finn and pole sitter Emma Kimilainen took victory ahead of Alice Powell and championship leader and new Williams development driver Jamie Chadwick who is closing in on her first W Series championship.
Speaking following the race, Catherine Bond Muir CEO of the W Series commented by saying:
Despite the weather forecasters having promised heavy rain for this afternoon, it stayed away and instead we saw a flat-out sprint on bone-dry asphalt that resulted in a brilliant win for Emma, who converted pole position into race victory, posting fastest lap en route.
“Alice, who led early on, also drove very well, recording her third podium finish of the year and thereby giving herself a fair shot of pinching third place in the championship from Marta, who finished only ninth today. But Marta has been one of the stars of the season so far and she’ll have other ideas about that.
“As regards who’ll finally be crowned W Series champion, we’re all delighted that our inaugural championship will go down to the wire at Brands Hatch next month. The two championship protagonists, Jamie and Beitske, have both driven superbly throughout the series so far, and it’s therefore only right and proper that it should be they who’ll take each other on in the season finale.
“Whoever prevails, history will be made, and the world will be watching.
Japan’s Miki Koyama and Tasmin Pepper had a frustrating day as they were both forced to retire from the race due a red flag incident.
Speaking following the race, W Series race director Dave Ryan said:
Despite my long experience in motorsport, Assen is a circuit I’d never been to before this weekend, but what a great circuit it is: fast, flowing, technical, physical, an old-school racetrack where skill and courage are rewarded, just as they should be.
“What we saw from Emma this afternoon was indeed skill and courage. She drove superbly – winning from pole and taking fastest lap as she did so – but, more than that, she’s shown great fortitude in coming back from injury to demonstrate to us all just how good she is. Underlining the strength in depth throughout the W Series field, today she became the fourth winner in five races, joining Jamie, Beitske and Marta in so doing.
“Alice was second today, after another good race following some tough luck recently, and I’m sure she’ll be gunning to become W Series’ fifth winner of the season at Brands Hatch on August 11th. But that day will be all about who becomes the first ever W Series champion. Jamie holds the points lead at the moment, but Beitske will be very determined to wrest it from her. Time will tell.
Race winner Emma Kimilainen commented by saying:
As we say in Finland, if you want to win, hire a Fin.
“It was a really great weekend. From the first free practice session I knew I had the speed to win and, after a bad start, I was soon looking for a good moment to take back the lead from Alice.
“After the first race of the season, at Hockenheim, I was hugely disappointed to find out that I had been injured and I didn’t know how long it would be until I could race again. But at the same time, with the help of the best ever healthcare specialists, Hintsa Performance and my own doctor, I was able to come back stronger.
“Ultimately, I’m so glad and so pleased to be back racing – and winning
Alice Powell commented saying:
I got a really good start and managed to get ahead of Emma at Turn One. Then we had a Safety Car, but I got a good restart afterwards.
“Then, when I ran wide at Turn One, Emma got past me and I tried hard for a couple of laps to regain the lead but Emma just had great pace today. From then on it was just a case of managing the gap between the two white cars behind me, Jamie and Beitske.
“Ultimately, it was good to put a few more points on the board and great to finish a race again – which I hadn’t done since Zolder.
“Looking ahead to Brands Hatch, it’s a tricky circuit with no room for error but I’ll be doing my best to get my first win on the board.
Jamie Chadwick who attended her first Grand Prix since becoming Williams Racing development driver last weekend in Silverstone said:
I didn’t make life easy for myself today, championship-wise.
“I was up with Emma and Alice at the beginning of the race, chasing them as hard as I could, but I made a couple of mistakes after the Safety Car, which then allowed Beitske to close the gap by quite a lot. She pressed me pretty hard but it was just a case of managing my pace against hers for the remainder of the race, and I was able to stay ahead of her that way.
“She was a lot quicker than me on certain parts of the circuit, and I was a lot quicker than her on others. Our set-ups were quite different.
“Ultimately, for the championship, it’s a good result.