Racing X’s Alice Powell took her first W Series pole position at the Red Bull Ring ahead of Saturday’s 2021 season opener setting a 01:28.964s ending up just ahead of the Scuderia W drivers of Sarah Moore who set a time of 01:29.141s and her teammate Belen Garcia who set a time of 01:29.171s. Speaking following qualifying, Powell said:
“It’s been a crazy and very long build-up to this first race after winning the last race of 2019 at Brands Hatch nearly 700 days ago. I’ve been working so hard to make sure I was ready on the fitness side and the mental side, and I hope I can keep that up tomorrow and finish first again. I knew there was a chance of rain during qualifying, so the plan was to do 10 minutes on the old tyres before coming in for fresh ones, but we shortened that by five minutes as I knew it was going to take more time to get the tyres working and I didn’t want to rush that process. We got there in the end, and I was really consistent. Now I need to make sure I do the same again tomorrow.”
Sarah Moore says she surprised herself with her result and speaking following the session she said:
“I’ve surprised myself by finishing second to be honest. I didn’t finish the 2019 season too well, but I’ve put in so much work over the past 18 months. I just wanted to keep a cool head this weekend and to qualify second at the first race hopefully sets me up well for the rest of the year. I was cool, calm and collected – I tend to work better when I’m in that mindset – and I just tried not to overthink it too much. I did some laps in qualifying where I was probably trying too hard, but I think everyone does that. Maybe this new helmet is a lucky one! Obviously, all the work that went into getting that helmet makes it very special to me and I can’t thank everyone who helped me enough – this result is for all of you.”
W Series debutant, Belen Garcia had a great session as she starts Saturday’s race from third place and speaking following the action, the Spaniard said:
I am really surprised to see myself third at the end of the session. I never expected this at the first race. I knew I had the potential to cause surprises throughout the season, but to do it at the first race is just amazing. There are so many emotions right now and I just want to thank my team for helping me. My recent spell in the Formula Regional European Championship has helped me for sure. It was risky to enter that championship so late and a big effort from everyone to make it happen, but standing here after this result makes all that work worthwhile.
M Forbes Motorsports Beitske Visser who had a tough start to the session will start Saturday’s race from fourth place with a time of 01:29.212s.
Ecurie W team’s Emma Kimilainen will start the race from fifth place after setting a time of 01:29.305s and starts the race ahead of Racing X’s Jessica Hawkins who set a fastest time of 01:29.309s ending the day just ahead of Puma W Series Team’s Marta Garcia who set a 01:29.329s.
Veloce Racing’s defending W Series champion Jamie Chadwick starts the race from eighth place on the grid having set a time of 01:29.333s. Fabienne Wohlwend starts the race from ninth place for Bunker Racing having set a fastest time of 01:29.428s while Denmark’s Ayla Argen who makes her W Series race debut this weekend rounded out the top ten for M Forbes Motorsports with a time of 01:29.459s.
Veloce Racing’s Bruno Tomaselli starts her first W Series race from eleventh place on the grid with a time of 01:29.517s and starts the race just ahead of Ecurie W Team’s Abbie Eaton who set a 01:29.602s and in turn starts the race ahead of Miki Koyama who set a fastest time of 01:29.616s for Sirin Racing.
Irina Sidorkova starts the race from 14th place on the grid with a time of 01:29.674s for Academy Racing and starts the race just ahead of Italy’s Vicky Piria who set a qualifying time of 01:29.679s for Sirin Racing.
Nerea Marta starts the race from 16th place for Academy with a time of 01:29.711s and starts the race just ahead of Sabre Cook who set a qualifying time of 01:30.032s for Bunker Racing while Gosia Rdest rounds out the grid for the Puma W Series Team having set a qualifying time of 01:30.337s.
Speaking following the qualifying session, W Series race director Dave Ryan commented saying:
“It was a good result. It was nice to see Alice Powell do a great job as well as seeing Belen Garcia and Sarah Moore up there, so a bit of a change. It looks like Jamie Chadwick may have had a bit of an issue, which we will be looking at tonight. Everyone in the team has done a superb job and everything is working so well, but it has been tough getting ready for this event and really hard work. It has been nice to see everyone step up to the mark and, between them, the drivers have not put a foot wrong.”