New names top time-sheets at Assen ‘Cathedral of Speed’

The penultimate points-scoring race of the W Series championship will take place tomorrow at the TT Circuit Assen (Netherlands).

While the ‘cathedral of speed’ (as it is known locally) is only the second-longest circuit on the W Series calendar, the Ramshoek corner (Turn 15) is W Series’ quickest corner of the year.

The fastest lap of the day (1min 34.195sec) was set during FP1 this morning by Emma Kimilainen (FIN), less than a tenth of a second ahead of Sarah Moore (UK), who posted a time of 1min 34.247sec during FP2 this afternoon. After a disappointing weekend two weeks ago at the Norising, Alice Powell (UK) will have regained her confidence going into qualifying tomorrow, finishing fifth in FP1 and fourth in FP2.

Current Championship leader Jamie Chadwick (UK) finished third in FP2 with a time of 1min 34.720sec, just over half a second ahead of her championship rival, local driver Beitske Visser (NLD). Jess Hawkins (UK) also showed well (second in FP1 and fifth in FP2), as did Vicky Piria (eighth in FP1 and second in FP2).

Beitske, who is no stranger to the Assen circuit, having driven her first ever race here, finished 12th in FP2. However, with only 10 points separating her from Jamie in the championship chase, we are expecting an exciting showdown tomorrow, perhaps made even more challenging by the forecast rain and strong winds.

Dave Ryan, W Series Racing Director said:

“There were a variety of strategies on show here at Assen today, some drivers running scrubbed tyres and others running new tyres, perhaps gambling on the weather forecast for tomorrow, which suggests there may be rain [necessitating the use of wet tyres].

“Even so, today’s two sessions were pretty indicative of which drivers have come to terms best with this fast and flowing circuit, and it was good to see Emma quickest in this morning’s session and Sarah quickest in this afternoon’s. Also impressive today were Jess [P2 in FP1, P5 in FP2], Vicky [P8 in FP1, P2 in FP2] and Alice [P5 in FP1, P4 in FP2].

“But tomorrow is when it counts, and a lot will depend on the weather.”

Catherine Bond Muir, W Series CEO said:

“Neither Emma [quickest in FP1] nor Sarah [quickest in FP2] has ever topped a W Series session before, so it was impressive to see them both do so today.

“Building on her impressive performance at Norisring two weekends ago, when she finished fifth and posted fastest lap in so doing, having missed both Zolder and Misano through injury, Emma is now showing the speed and steel that she’s known for. Equally, Sarah, who had a disappointing time of it last time out at Norisring, her race ending after just four laps as a result of accident damage, has bounced straight back to the consistent form that she showed in our first three races, in all of which she scored points.

“Tomorrow the forecast is for wet weather, perhaps even extremely wet weather. The forecasters often get things wrong, so we’ll wait and see how tomorrow morning dawns, but, wet or dry, we’re hoping for yet another competitive, eventful and exciting race here at Assen, which is known with good reason to Dutch race fans as the ‘cathedral of speed’.”