Reigning double champion Jamie Chadwick continued her perfect start to the 2022 W Series season by taking pole position for her home race at Silverstone
The Briton – who has claimed victory in all three races so far this year and will attempt to win a sixth consecutive W Series race at Silverstone on Saturday in support of the Formula 1® Lenovo British Grand Prix 2022 weekend – secured her third straight pole position and tenth overall with a lap of 1:56.758.
That was good enough to beat Emma Kimiläinen by two tenths of a second, and Abbi Pulling – who is second in the championship standings, 37 points behind Jamie – was a further three tenths back in third place. Beitske Visser will line up alongside Abbi on the second row, and Alice Powell – the winner of last year’s W Series race at Silverstone – starts from fifth on the grid.
Team-mates Fabienne Wohlwend and Marta Garcia were sixth and seventh quickest respectively. Abbie Eaton, Sarah Moore, and Jessica Hawkins were the other drivers to get within a second of Jamie’s benchmark, and ensured that all six British drivers qualified inside the top 10 for their home race.
It was a cagey start to the 30-minute qualifying session as the drivers got to grips with a dry track surface which had been damp and green when they took to it for the first time for practice on Friday morning. That meant several drivers had lap times deleted in the opening 10 minutes, by the end of which Jamie led the way from team-mates Tereza Babickova and Emma.
The entire field pitted for fresh tyres to set up a frenetic second half of the session, during which many of the leading challengers had lap times deleted for exceeding track limits as they pushed hard. With 10 minutes remaining, Abbi went second fastest despite being hampered in the final sector, before Jessica beat Jamie’s time by five one-thousandths of a second. Jamie regained top spot on her next flying lap, but her improved benchmark was beaten by two one-hundredths of a second by Emma, who extended her advantage by a further five one-hundredths with five minutes to go.
As the clock ticked below two minutes Jamie went quickest again by two tenths, and that proved good enough to take pole position as her closest challengers failed to improve on their final runs.
It completed a perfect Friday for Jamie, who also led the way in the morning’s free practice session by posting a lap of 1:56.696 with 13 seconds left on the clock. That saw her edge out Abbi by three one-hundredths of a second, and Alice was a further tenth adrift in third. Nerea Martí received a two-place grid penalty for Saturday’s race after driving through a red light at the pit-lane exit at the end of practice.
Jamie Chadwick said:
“I kind of had to pull that lap out from somewhere. It’s a confidence circuit and I was always just a little bit under. Emma [Kimiläinen] put in a good lap and I really had to lay it on the line, and after I did that I found a bit of confidence in the car and it felt better. I’m happy with that lap and now I have a bit more confidence going into tomorrow’s race. I know I’ve got a strong group of girls behind me so I will see what I can do. You can have a proper race here and I think it might be wet. What will be will be, but I’m just happy I got a bit of confidence in that session, and I can get my head down tomorrow.”
Emma Kimiläinen said:
“It was a tough session as it was different from practice in the morning. The wind was strong and changed the driving a lot. I couldn’t do the things I did in the practice session because of the wind, but I did the most I could. Also, the grip level had changed so there was a lot more grip out there. We didn’t change the car from practice, so the balance changed quite a lot too. We have thinking to do about the set-up of the car for tomorrow’s race as the track will evolve again if it’s going to be dry. But I’m happy to be on the front row as you can do what you like from there.”
Abbi Pulling said:
“I’m really frustrated as I didn’t quite have the confidence on the older tyres, and there was a lot of oversteer on those which I struggled with. But I made a set-up change and expected it to be resolved when I went to the new tyres, which it was. I just struggled in sector one and we were so quick in all the other sectors. Sector one was my downfall today, which is quite annoying. But you can race from third on the grid and it’s not the end of the world. I’m around Jamie [Chadwick], Emma [Kimiläinen], and Alice [Powell] who are the three oldest and most experienced drivers here, so there are positives to take as I’ve done a lot fewer races than them in these cars.”
For full W Series results and session timings from the fourth race of the 2022 W Series season at Silverstone, UK, click here.
W Series’ schedule for this weekend continues tomorrow (Saturday 2 July) when the race of 30 minutes plus one lap will start at 13.25 (local time, BST). British fans can watch the fourth race of the 2022 W Series season live from Silverstone on Sky Sports Main Event, Sky Sports F1, Sky Showcase, and Channel 4 from 13.10 BST. The action can also be seen across W Series’ digital and social channels, as well as being broadcast in more than 175 territories with a full list available here.