Britain’s Jamie Chadwick, W-series driver and development driver for the Williams Formula 1 team moved a step closer to the inaugural W series championship and the $500k prize that goes with it with a third place in the penultimate round of the championship at Assen, The Netherlands.
Chadwick finished ahead of her now only rival for the tile Beitske Visser, extending her championship lead to 13 points going into the decider at Brands Hatch with just 25 points up for grabs.
The race was won by Finland’s Emma Kimilainen who edged out Alice Powell following a small mistake at turn two whilst leading.
With first and second out of sight, the final place on the podium was fought out between championship leader Chadwick and local favourite Visser, with Chadwick taking third, and more importantly the 6-point sway in her favour the position gave her.
This means Chadwick can win the championship in the final round at Brands Hatch with a podium finish, irrespective of where Visser places. The title is also hers should Visser fail to finish on the podium.
Non championship second race
The W-series isn’t afraid of experimenting mid-season and a day after the Assen round, the drivers lined up for a second, non-championship race with the cars lining up in reverse championship order.
This race wouldn’t count towards the championship but it would give us the opportunity to see what the more, up until now, successful drivers could do when faced with the challenge of fighting through from the back in an effort to win the race.
This format really saw the cream rising to the top, with the likes of Chadwick, Kimilainen and the big winner of the day (although not the actual winner) Alice Powell pulling off some impressive overtaking moves left, right inside and out.
Starting from the very back, Chadwick immediately began making her way through the field and up to 15th place before the first safety car of the day bunched up the field.
On the restart, Chadwick was quickly able to move ahead of Visser who she’d been shadowing up until now, up into the top ten before the second and final safety car of the day came out with six minutes to go, again resetting the field before one final dash to the finish.
When racing recommenced, Chadwick again stole a couple of places moving her onto the tail of the leading group of eight cars, where she finished.
Alice Powell, having started 17th, was now right on the gearbox of long-time leader Megan Gilkes, youngest driver in the field at just 18.
Gilkes had bravely fought off all challengers up to this point, but coming off the last turn, Powell got the better drive and pulled alongside, only narrowly missing out on the win by 0.003 of a second, or the length of an adult size 8 wellington boot (possibly).
If the intention of the W series is to not only give women racing drivers more exposure, but to filter out which of the 20 contenders is most worthy of the hefty prize and the opportunities that will no doubt come their way once the championship is over, then this second race has highlighted that there are around half a dozen worthy recipients.
None more-so than Jamie Chadwick, who, based on this evidence, would look comfortable on any grid.