The Weekend at Norisring
Maiden W Series victory for Marta Garcia at Norisring
Eighteen-year-old Marta Garcia (ESP) was crowned champion of the fourth W Series race at the iconic Norisring near Nuremberg (Bavaria) this afternoon, 3.619sec ahead of Beitske Visser (NDL), who finished P2 for the second race in a row. Bagging pole position in qualifying and clocking the second-fastest lap of the race (51.049sec), the Spanish teenager drove superbly to earn 25 points, elevating herself to third position in the title chase.
Beitske made a stunning start, climbing from P5 to P2 by Turn One, forcing championship leader Jamie Chadwick (GBR) into third place. That formation (Garcia-Visser-Chadwick) endured for the duration of the race, Jamie putting intense pressure on Beitske at the end. However, it was Beitske who came out on top, finishing just under half a second ahead of her main championship rival.
In fourth position was Fabienne Wohlwend (LIE) who, after another strong drive, finished 2.135sec behind Jamie. But hot on her heels was Emma Kimilainen (FIN), who made an outstanding comeback after being forced to miss the past two races through injury. Qualifying in P8, Emma fought her way through the field, gaining three places and ultimately finishing in P5, clocking the fastest lap of the race on her way.
Sadly, it was a race weekend to forget for Alice Powell (GBR) who, after being T-boned during FP1 yesterday, was forced to start today’s race from P18 following a gearbox problem during qualifying. They say that bad luck comes in threes and that was certainly the case for Alice who, despite putting in an extraordinary race drive, climbing from P18 to P8, had to retire early for the third time this weekend, blighted by a fuel pump issue with less than five minutes to go.
Falling victim to the challenge of the notorious Turn One was Sarah Moore (GBR), who collided with Shea Holbrook (USA), causing damage to the front of her car. Although she managed to get going again, her suspension eventually gave way, causing her to pull over and retire.
Completing a sad trio of British DNFs was Jessica Hawkins (GBR) who, despite qualifying and therefore starting from P6, a position she retained for almost the entirety of the race, suffered a terminal power loss minutes before the end, which caused a premature finish to what had been a very impressive weekend for the 24-year-old from Hampshire.
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The Norisring has been an annual highlight of the German motor sport calendar since the first event was held in 1947. The temporary track is laid out on public roads in a southern suburb of the historic city of Nuremburg and features a layout that hasn’t changed in decades. A long bumpy pit straight is followed by heavy braking for a tight hairpin, which leads into a short sprint to a right/left chicane. Another long straight to a second hairpin before the track returns to the start/finish line.
From 1967 the headline event was a 200-mile sprint for sportscars, which always provided a huge contrast to the Le Mans 24 hours which preceded it on the calendar by a few weeks. In 1986 and 1987 it was even run as a round of the World Sportscar Championship. When the domestic sportscar scene faded in Germany the DTM – which had been run as a support race for several years – became the headline event from 1990 onwards.
The presence of European F3 on the DTM weekend schedule means that many current F1 drivers have sampled the track as they made their way up the ranks – including Max Verstappen, who was a winner in 2014.
The city location, huge crowds and good summer weather have helped to ensure that the Norisring has a place as the “Monaco” of the DTM calendar. Despite the simple layout the event typically produces dramatic races in all categories, with the first hairpin often the scene of overtaking manoeuvres and wheel-to-wheel action.