Just two weeks after the season opener, W Series is back on track at Zolder, Belgium.
W Series listened to its fans and arrived at Zolder for race two of the six-race series with improved car liveries. They featured more name and number branding and larger rear-wing national flags. The aim is for W Series fans to find it easier to identify the cars and drivers.
Sixteen of the 18 drivers have been allocated new cars, ensuring that, although all the cars are designed to be identical, no driver has a car advantage in the event of any tiny potential performance discrepancies. The two exceptions are Emma Kimilainen (FIN) and Megan Gilkes (CAN), who retain their cars from Hockenheim following a collision that forced their early exit from the race.
Free Practice 1 kicked off under a grey and threatening sky, although the rain held off and Jamie Chadwick (GBR) once again put herself at the top of the time sheets, clocking up a time of 1min 28.862sec, 0.517sec faster than second-placed Emma Kimilainen (FIN), for whom P2 was a great result following her disappointing first race at Hockenheim.
However, deteriorating weather conditions throughout FP2 further challenged the drivers on an already tricky track. Beitske Visser (NLD) was hot on Jamie’s heels, stealing top spot for the first time in a session this season with a time of 1min 29.490sec. While it was Jamie’s first visit to the track, Beitske is no stranger to Zolder, having last raced here in 2018 in the GT4 European Series as a BMW Motorsport Junior.
Looking ahead to tomorrow, the race for pole is well and truly on.
Catherine Bond Muir, W Series Chief Executive Officer said:
“Here at Zolder, day one of W Series race weekend two went very well.
“Jamie headed the time sheets in FP1, but Beitske pipped her in FP2, which pleased her Dutch fans who had made the short trip from the Netherlands to Belgium to cheer her on. But it’s far too close to call, and other drivers will be looking to rain on Beitske’s and Jamie’s parade tomorrow.
“Talking of rain, showers are apparently possible tomorrow afternoon, and we may therefore see the reverse of what we saw at Hockenheim two weeks ago. There, qualifying was wet and the race dry; here we may have a dry quali followed by a wet race; only time will tell.
“But, rain or shine, Zolder is a very different kind of circuit from Hockenheim, in terms of not only layout and topography but also culture and vibe. Hockenheim is a much updated racetrack still used by Formula 1. By contrast, Zolder last hosted a Grand Prix in 1984, has been comparatively little altered since, and its heritage is palpable everywhere you walk.
“So it has a unique atmosphere, and here’s hoping for another superb W Series race tomorrow.”
Dave Ryan, W Series Racing Director said:
“Obviously the weather dictated the session, the drivers all doing a pretty decent job.
“It was just really a case of trying to run with the conditions. Tomorrow is supposed to be fine, but this wasn’t forecast exactly for today.
“It’s good to see a nice mix of drivers up there at the top.”
Jamie Chadwick (UK), FP1 P1, said:
“I love the circuit. It’s really cool and old-school – more like a British track such as Oulton Park or Brands Hatch GP. It’s really good fun and I had a big smile on my face from lap one all the way through.
“Having not been here before, I had to learn the circuit and try to get into it quite quickly. So I think there was a bit more potential there, but it’s going to be close tomorrow.
“I really need to work hard tonight to see where I can find some time.”
Beitske Visser (NLD), FP2 P1, said:
“I drove here last year and it’s a very cool track.
“It’s old-school, there’s no room for error, but I’m definitely enjoying it.
“It was drizzling a bit from the beginning of FP2, but not enough to seriously wet the track. Then it started raining, but not enough for rain tyres, so we decided not to go out again.”
For full Free Practice results from Zolder, visit our race page here.