Irina Sidorkova won the final two of three races at Brands Hatch Grand Prix Circuit, Kent, UK, to keep up the pressure on Beitske Visser at the top of the W Series Esports League table.
A spin on the first lap meant Irina took no points from the opening race of round three, but the Russian recovered brilliantly, comfortably winning the reverse-grid race before overtaking Beitske and Marta Garcia on her way to victory in race three.
Irina earned a total of 40 points at Brands Hatch, 13 fewer than Beitske who extended her lead over the 16-year-old at the top of the W Series Esports League to 27 points after another consistent display. The Dutch driver, 25, won race one, climbed from last to second in the reverse-grid race and recorded the fastest lap in each of the three races to score 53 points – a record total for a single W Series Esports League round.
Caitlin Wood moved up to third place in the W Series Esports League table by finishing eighth, seventh and third for a total of 32 points, the same as Marta who went from seventh to fifth overall thanks to podium finishes in the first and third races. Alice Powell sits between those two in the League table – one point behind Caitlin and three ahead of Marta – after collecting 29 points at Brands Hatch, the scene of her on-track W Series victory last August.
The W Series Esports League table after round three is as follows:
Caitlin pipped Beitske to pole position by less than two tenths of a second, but Beitske took the lead at Paddock Hill on lap one. As the drivers climbed uphill to Druids, Irina spun, relegating her from fifth to 18th. Caitlin was in hot pursuit of Beitske in front, but the Australian dipped a wheel onto the grass at the end of the first lap, sending her down to 14th and promoting Alice to second. Less than six seconds separated the top five drivers at the halfway stage, but Beitske slowly pulled away from Alice. Marta completed the podium and fellow Spaniard Nerea Marti followed her across the line after holding off a strong challenge from Sarah Moore.
Race 1 Results
|16||37||Sabre Cook||-1 LAP||11||0|
|17||11||Vicky Piria||-1 LAP||20||0|
|18||51||Irina Sidorkova||-1 LAP||5||0|
|19||17||Ayla Agren||-1 LAP||10||0|
|20||85||Miki Koyama||-1 LAP||14||0|
Irina started second alongside Miki Koyama on the front row and the Russian got a great start to take the lead before the first corner of the reverse-grid race. Several drivers were impacted by a collision at Graham Hill Bend, which allowed those at the rear of the field to make significant progress by the end of lap one when Beitske and Alice – who formed the grid’s back row – had made their way into the top eight. With 11 minutes remaining, Beitske overtook Abbie Eaton for sixth and, up ahead, Sabre Cook moved past Miki into second place. Tasmin Pepper came out on top in a wheel-to-wheel battle with Jessica Hawkins for fourth at the midway point. Beitske followed Tasmin past Jessica at the next corner, and was up to fourth with six minutes to go when she beat Tasmin to Surtees at the end of the Cooper Straight. With four minutes left, Beitske took third from Miki and set about catching Sabre who was three seconds up the road. She overtook the American for second with just over one minute on the clock, but Irina was out of reach.
Race 2 Results
|15||17||Ayla Agren||-1 LAP||3||1|
|16||31||Marta Garcia||-1 LAP||18||0|
|17||97||Vicky Piria||-1 LAP||4||0|
|18||26||Sarah Moore||-1 LAP||16||0|
|19||22||Belen Garcia||-1 LAP||11||0|
|20||32||Bruna Tomaselli||-2 LAPS||7||0|
Beitske took pole position by less than one tenth of a second from Marta, but just as Beitske did in race one, Marta made the better start from second on the grid and led through Paddock Hill. Irina retained third and that trio were nose-to-tail during the first few laps. The order changed with 12 of the 20 minutes remaining when Irina passed Beitske after a thrilling wheel-to-wheel battle lasting four corners. Beitske regained second place on the next lap as she went on the inside of Irina at Druids. With six minutes left, Irina overtook Beitske again and, one minute later, the pair went past Marta on the exit of Paddock Hill. Beitske was now right on leader Irina’s tail, but with less than two minutes to go, Beitske lost the rear of her car approaching Clearways and spun into the barriers, losing her front wing. She limped home in fourth, behind Caitlin, leaving Irina to take her second straight Brands Hatch victory.
Race 3 Results
|17||32||Nerea Marti||-1 LAP||5||0|
|18||7||Emma Kimilainen||-1 LAP||15||0|
Round four is at Autódromo José Carlos Pace, Interlagos, Brazil, next Thursday, 2 July at 19:00 BST. Watch all three races on BBC iPlayer, BBC Red Button, BBC Sport website and W Series’ Twitch, YouTube and Facebook channels.
Beitske Visser: “In the first race I started second, went side-by-side with Caitlin [Wood] at Turn One and gambled that she would brake, which luckily she did, so I could go around the outside. The reverse-grid race was very tricky from last. At the start I took it easy. Turn One was quite smooth but Two and Three were a mess and I was trying to avoid everyone. Then, between Turn Three and Four, it was really close because a car was flying through the air and I had to go across the grass to avoid it. Luckily I had no damage and could slowly work myself up to second, but Ira [Sidorkova] was too far away at that point. In the third race, I qualified on pole, messed up my start and had a really long fight with Marta [Garcia] and Ira until unfortunately I hit the wall. It was cool to fight with them and hopefully we can have more of that.”
Irina Sidorkova: “The reverse-grid race was quite easy because I only had to have a good start and I did, so after the first corner I was in first and could just go. The third race was harder because I had some overtakes. In the first few laps I didn’t want to overtake Beitske [Visser] or Marta [Garcia] because I just wanted to put in some good laps, but after that we had a great battle. I was delighted to win two W Series Esports League races – it’s great to be competing with the other W Series drivers and even better to be winning already!”
Marta Garcia: “The third race was really hard. I had a good start in that race, keeping myself in first place, but it was already difficult because Beitske [Visser] was pushing hard and then I saw Irina [Sidorkova] and she was fast too. I did not have the pace in that race and it was difficult to hold Irina. Maybe I could have done better in the first corner, but she did a good job in overtaking. If I work hard like I have been doing, I think I can do better and get a victory in the next round at Interlagos.”
Jessica Hawkins: “I really needed to bag some points after an iffy start at Monza followed by a slightly better, but still not great, performance at Austin, so that’s what I tried to do. A couple of times I could have held a position for longer but it may have cost me a few places later on in that race. In race two, when Beitske [Visser] was coming up behind me, I didn’t want to let her go but I also wasn’t going to make it difficult because I wanted to bag some points. It was a case of losing one position rather than risking a crash and losing a lot of points which would have been detrimental to my W Series Esports League position. I’m putting in hours upon hours on the sim – I think my eyes are going to turn square soon! I’ve really struggled to get to grips with it, but I’ll keep working hard and hope I’m somewhere near Beitske soon.”
Sabre Cook: “In the reverse-grid race I got an OK start and just tried to be very gentle through Turn One to maintain position. After that I was hunting down Miki [Koyama] and eventually passed her. From then I was trying to minimise mistakes and bring it home in third because I really needed those points. Beitske [Visser] is quite fast so I didn’t fight her too much – I try to learn as much as I can whenever I’m around her on track. I’m very new to sim-racing so I’m trying to put in as much time as possible to be more consistent and catch up. It’s hard because you don’t have the feeling through your body, and you’re very reliant on your vision so it’s just getting used to that.”
Billy Monger (W Series Esports League co-commentator):
“All three W Series Esports League races from Brands Hatch were very entertaining and it was great fun co-commentating on them with Luke [Crane]. Ira [Sidorkova] drove brilliantly to win two of the three races – a very mature performance for a 16-year-old – and the always impressive Beitske [Visser] did well to win the other race. It was good to see Alice [Powell], Marta [Garcia], Caitlin [Wood], Sabre [Cook] and Jess [Hawkins] all showing pretty strongly, too.
“Next up is Interlagos – like Brands Hatch a natural racing amphitheatre and a real test for a driver. The left-right Senna S-bend at the end of the start-finish straight offers the best overtaking opportunities, while the fast downhill left-hander, Turn 12, or Mergulho, is always a very tricky turn to get right.”
W Series Esports League points for each race are awarded as follows:
- Race 1: 20-17-15-13-11-10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 (1st – 15th) & 1 point for fastest lap
- Race 2: 20-17-15-13-11-10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 (1st – 15th) & 1 point for fastest lap
- Race 3: 20-17-15-13-11-10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 (1st – 15th) & 1 point for fastest lap
At the end of the W Series Esports League season, the driver who has scored the most points will be declared the winner of the W Series Esports League.