Australia’s Caitlin Wood has finished 5th in the latest round of the W Series in Assen. Caitlin also had her best qualifying result and started the race in 6th place.
“[I] Had a good battle with Beitske Visser at the start of the race and then settled myself into 5th for the remainder of the race. So happy to bag 10 very valuable points towards the championship. Massive thanks to W Series, Hitech GP and my engineer Chris for a great weekend!” said Caitlin via Instagram.
The result means Caitlin has crucially moved up into 11th place in the overall W Series championship with one round to go. The top 12 finished in this year’s championship get a guaranteed entry into the 2020 season.
Pole-sitter Emma Kimilainen (FIN) took the top step of the podium, securing her first W Series win. The Finnish driver had a challenging start to the season after a collision at Hockenheim, which forced her to miss the next two races, but today she projected herself from 11th place to sixth place in the series standings.
Alice Powell (UK) made a welcome return to the podium, finishing second after stealing the lead from Emma at the start. The British driver, who has had to deal with luckless DNFs in the past two races, fought hard to retain her lead but a small error on her part in Turn One enabled Emma to take it from her with a neat outbraking manoeuvre at Turn Two. Nonetheless, Alice’s second place pushes her up to fourth place in the championship and leaves her just 11 points behind Marta Garcia (ESP) in third place. Marta, who won the last race at Norisring, Germany, finished ninth today, meaning that she is no longer able to win the championship.
The battle for third and fourth places was fought out by championship leader Jamie Chadwick (UK) and local hero Beitske Visser (NLD). Jamie started from P3 and held her position for the duration of the race, not only thereby securing a place on the podium but also retaining her championship lead, further increasing her chances of clinching the US$500,000 top prize.
Despite starting the race from P4, Beitske went on the attack from the get-go, trying all she knew to wrest third place from Jamie. But Jamie defended well and Beitske had to settle for fourth. Even so, despite not taking her place on the podium today, Beitske will go into the final race in second place, just 13 points behind Jamie.
As mentioned already, Caitlin Wood (AUS) finished fifth, her best result of the year, followed by Gosia Rdesk (POL), sixth, also her best showing so far. Equally crucial to her effort to finish inside the all-important top 12 this year was Jess Hawkins’ (UK) seventh place, who until today had not scored a single championship point. But, after strong performances in FP1 and FP2 yesterday, she qualified in P11. She then drove a hard race to climb to seventh, a result that netted her a crucial six points.
It was a frustrating race for Miki Koyama (JPN) and Tasmin Pepper (RSA), who were both forced to retire early after a red flag incident within the first seconds of the race. Equally frustrated will be Fabienne Wohlwend (LEI), who was forced into the pits after suffering front wing damage early in the race, the result of an incident that cost her seven places in the race and forces her down to fifth place in the championship. Until today, she had had an outside chance of winning the championship, an enthralling battle that will now be fought out solely between Jamie and Beitske in the final showdown in on Sunday August 11th at Brands Hatch, UK.
In a change to the format there will also be a non points scoring reverse grid race in Assen on Sunday morning local time. Stay tuned for for info about this.
Photographs by W Series.