Japanese driver Miki Koyama raced to the top, clocking the fastest lap of the day in FP2 (1min 34.663sec) during the third W Series race weekend at Misano, Italy. Meanwhile, race winner from Zolder, Beitske Visser (NLD), who topped the time sheets during FP1 with a fastest lap time of 1min 35.193sec, was forced to retire early from FP2 after completing just eight laps. At that point she was quickest overall.
The battle for P2 and P3 in both sessions was fought by the Brits. Alice Powell secured P2 in FP1, Jamie Chadwick in FP2. Both drivers were just over a tenth behind the fastest driver. Jess Hawkins (GBR) put in a strong performance, securing P3 in both sessions, while local driver Vicky Piria (ITA) also had a solid start, finishing P7 in FP1 and P4 in FP2.
As temperatures peaked at 32 degrees Celsius, it was a challenging first day for all 19 drivers who had to adapt to a completely new set of conditions. Health and fitness experts Hintsa Performance had their work cut out for them, incorporating new techniques into their programme to reduce core body temperatures and mitigate the cognitive risks associated with dehydration and heat stress on the body in the cockpit.
Looking ahead to the race tomorrow, the times are extremely close and the battle for pole should be gripping.
Dave Ryan, W Series Racing Director said:
“Despite FP2 being delayed while some loose kerbs were being reattached, all 19 drivers drove well, none of them abusing track limits which is often a problem on this circuit.
“However, through no fault of their own, some of our drivers weren’t able to complete the entirety of their planned run programmes in FP2, and we’ll look into why that was this evening.
“Performance-wise, our two race winners, Jamie [Chadwick, who won at Hockenheim] and Beitske [Visser, who won at Zolder], both performed strongly today, but Miki [Koyama] and Jess [Hawkins] also mixed it with them. It’s always good to see a few fresh faces at or near the top of the time-sheets but, apart from that, it also shows just how competitive W Series is now becoming.
“But tomorrow is what counts.”
Catherine Bond Muir, W Series Chief Executive Officer said:
“In baking-hot conditions here at Misano, Beitske [Visser] topped this morning’s time sheets and Miki [Koyama] this afternoon’s – the first time that W Series’ Japanese driver has done so. Well done, Miki!
“Jamie [Chadwick] was fourth-fastest this morning and second-fastest this afternoon, and it was good to see Jess [Hawkins] also showing strongly: third-fastest in both sessions.
“The weather looks set to stay hot and dry tomorrow – perfect conditions for what we hope will be another blistering W Series race.”
Beitske Visser (NLD), FP1 P1 said:
“In FP2 we started well, but when we came into the pit lane the car started smoking. We may have an electrical issue – my mechanics are now trying to find out what’s wrong.
“So far, I like the track, I’ve been quick, so that’s a reason to like it. Also, this afternoon until the issue, we were the quickest.
“Everyone is still quite close so I have to analyse the data and see if we can improve anywhere for qualifying as then you really have to put your lap together, which doesn’t seem easy on this track.”
Miki Koyama (JPN) FP2 P1 said:
“That was a great session and I felt really good in the car.
“I went out on new tyres near the end when everyone else had already used their tyres up.
“I like the circuit a lot as it reminds me of Misano where I was also quick, and actually set fastest lap and second fastest lap in the race.
“Qualifying is always very different from free practice so we don’t know what will happen tomorrow. However, I’m very happy with today and will now work with my engineer and try to be fastest again tomorrow.”
Full Free Practice Results
Free Practice 1
|Position||Driver number||Driver||Nationality||Laps||Best time|
|12||77||R Vivien Keszthelyi||HUN||20||1:36.141|
|17||58||R Sarah Bovy||BEL||21||1:36.699|
Free Practice 2
|14||58||R Sarah Bovy||BEL||19||1:36.210|
|16||77||R Vivien Keszthelyi||HUN||16||1:36.615|