Two-time champion Jamie Chadwick continued her incredible form from last season, claiming her third and fourth consecutive wins for Jenner Racing. (adding to the previous year’s last races) Despite fans’ concerns over the new team, particularly over Caitlyn Jenner’s involvement as team principal, Chadwick effortlessly silenced those with a lights-to-flag win from pole on Sunday. 17 year old American teammate Chloe Chambers also had a decent weekend, ending up as the highest placed rookie that weekend.
Highlights from the incident-strewn Saturday included a last-lap overtake on Emma Kimilȁinen for the lead, who then unfortunately collided with third-placed Marta Garcia. The Finn fell to last, while Garcia had her maiden podium place stripped with a 10-second penalty. This meant that fellow Brit Jessica Hawkins was promoted to second, and Sirin Racing’s Beitske Visser rounded up the podium. The two other drivers who did not finish the race were Fabienne Wohlwend for CortDAO, and Scuderia W’s Abbie Eaton.
Sunday was a much smoother race, where Chadwick cruised to victory from pole position in front of close battling between Nerea Marti and Kimilȁinen. The latter then came into contact with Alice Powell, who managed to recover to take third while Kimilȁinen dropped to fifth. Powell’s long time protege, 19 year old Abbi Pulling, claimed the fastest lap of the race and managed to climb from ninth to sixth for the Racing X team.
Amongst the drivers with experience, I think Marti is off to a very good start to this year’s championship. Finishing in fourth last year as a rookie, she was best of the rest after powerhouses Chadwick, Powell and Kimilȁinen. (They all claimed upwards of 100 points each while Marti had 61) While there is no doubt that Powell will certainly be looking to recover from her Round 1 disappointment, I do hope that Marti continues this excellent form.
Beyond the frontrunners, young stars like Pulling and Chambers will also be the ones to keep an eye on this season. Fellow rookies in the W Series Academy team Bianca Bustamante and Juju Noda were unable to make an impact, but Chambers has made a good start for Jenner Racing, especially against a teammate like Chadwick. Then Pulling, who only ran four races but took seventh last season, starts her first year as a full-time driver instead of reserve. The Briton has a bright future ahead of her, having just been signed to the Alpine Affiliate program, and I cannot wait to see how the rest of her season pans out.
The next round of the W Series is set to be held at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya on the 20th and 21st of May. Coverage of qualifying and the race will be available through Sky Sports after their multi-year broadcast partnership.