Nerea Martí (Quantfury Racing W Series Team, 20, ESP) took her maiden pole position at W Series Miami presented by Hard Rock, and will start both races of the season-opening double-header from the front row.
The Spaniard – who drove for the W Series Academy last season when she finished fourth in the championship as the highest-placed rookie – topped the timing screens with her final flying lap (1:56.915) of a frantic qualifying session at the Miami International Autodrome to pip Jamie Chadwick (Jenner Racing, 23, UK) by less than one tenth of a second and secure pole position for race one, which is at 14.30 ET today (Saturday 7 May). Reigning double W Series champion Jamie will start race two from pole position, as the drivers’ second-best time determined the starting grid for tomorrow’s race, which begins at 10.35 ET.
Alice Powell (Click2Drive Bristol Street Motors Racing W Series Team, 29, UK) and Emma Kimiläinen (Puma W Series Team, 32, FIN) will start both races from the second row, with Alice third for race one and Emma fourth, and those places reversed for race two. Fabienne Wohlwend’s (CortDAO Racing W Series Team, 24, LIE) best and second-best times will see her start both races from fifth on the grid, but her team faces a race against time to get her car ready for race one after she hit the wall with 29 seconds of the 30-minute session remaining to bring out the red flags and the session to a premature end.
W Series race-winners Emma, Alice, Jamie and Beitske Visser (Sirin Racing W Series Team, 27, NED) all traded fastest times in the opening third of the session, which also saw Nerea flick the wall as the drivers struggled to find grip on the fresh track surface.
After 11 minutes, Emma became the first driver to dip below 1min 58secs before Alice – who topped Friday’s practice session – beat the Finn’s time by three tenths of a second to be quickest overall at the halfway stage.
As the field pitted for fresh tyres, Chloe Chambers (Jenner Racing, 17, USA) – who was fifth quickest and making up for lost time after a turbo issue limited her running on Friday – spun on the entry to the chicane at Turn 14, resulting in a red flag and a four-minute delay. Despite that, she finished the session 11th and was fastest of the five drivers making their W Series debuts this weekend in support of the inaugural Formula 1® Crypto.com Miami Grand Prix.
The action was fast and furious when it resumed as the times tumbled. With less than three minutes to go, Jamie improved by more than half a second to set the fastest time of the weekend so far, and became the first driver to go under 1min 57secs on her next flying lap to take provisional pole. Nerea went fastest by seven one hundredths of a second, and Alice was on course to beat that benchmark on her final run when she was two tenths up through the first two sectors. But Fabienne hit the wall at Turn 3 to end the session early and hand Nerea her first pole position at her ninth W Series race.
Nerea Martí (Quantfury Racing W Series Team, 20, ESP) said:
“I’m super happy as this is my first pole position in W Series and it’s my goal to win. It’s a fast track and it’s difficult so I was nervous. At the beginning of qualifying, it was a bit difficult as I didn’t find the right feeling and the track was very different to how it was in the practice session yesterday. After my first run I finally focused again and did an out lap. I was very calm, to be honest, thinking about the race and where I could improve.”
Jamie Chadwick (Jenner Racing, 23, UK) said:
“I got there eventually. The second set of tyres felt a lot better, but on the first set I struggled a little bit. However, it’s a good start to the weekend and the season. The track is technical and lures you into making a mistake very easily. You almost have to bring it back rather than ask too much of it as it’ll punish you in that sense with the long straights. I just had to be a bit patient, wait until the end and it came to us. The race will be hard, especially on the long straights, but I think we’re in a good place.”
Qualifying results from W Series Miami presented by Hard Rock are below. For full W Series results and session timings from the 2022 season-opening double-header in Miami visit the Miami race page.
W Series’ schedule for this weekend continues today (Saturday 7 May) with race one at 14.30 ET. Race two begins at 10.35 on Sunday 8 May. Both races will be 30 minutes plus one lap.
British fans can watch the first race of the 2022 W Series season live from the Miami International Autodrome on Sky Sports F1 from 19.10 BST on Saturday 7 May. The second race of the season will be on Sky Sports F1 from 15.20 BST on Sunday 8 May. Highlights of the first race will be on Channel 4 at 08.00 BST on Sunday 8 May, and highlights of the second race will be on Channel 4 at 07.35 BST on Monday 9 May.
Fans in the USA can watch race one on Saturday 7 May at 14.30 on ESPNEWS. Race two is on ESPN2 at 10.35 on Sunday 8 May. The action can also be seen across W Series’ digital and social channels, as well as being broadcast in more than 175 territories, with a full list available here.
Second-fastest qualifying times and starting grid for race two
1. Jamie Chadwick (Jenner Racing, 23, UK): 1.57.080
2. Nerea Martí (Quantfury Racing W Series Team, 20, ESP): 1.57.579
3. Emma Kimiläinen (Puma W Series Team, 32, FIN): 1.57.768
4. Alice Powell (Click2Drive Bristol Street Motors Racing W Series Team, 29, UK): 1.57.824
5. Fabienne Wohlwend (CortDAO Racing W Series Team, 24, LIE): 1.57.939
6. Belen Garcia (Quantfury Racing W Series Team, 22, ESP): 1.58.186
7. Jessica Hawkins (Click2Drive Bristol Street Motors Racing W Series Team, 27, UK): 1.58.466
8. Beitske Visser (Sirin Racing W Series Team, 27, NED): 1.58.473
9. Abbi Pulling (Racing X, 19, UK): 1.58.477
10. Sarah Moore (Scuderia W, 28, UK): 1.58.480
11. Marta Garcia (CortDAO Racing W Series Team, 21, ESP): 1.58.504
12. Abbie Eaton (Scuderia W, 30, UK): 1.58.642
13. Bruna Tomaselli (Racing X, 24, BRA): 1.58.918
14. Chloe Chambers (Jenner Racing, 17, USA): 1.59.045
15. Emely De Heus (Sirin Racing W Series Team, 27, NED): 1.59.424
16. Tereza Babickova (Puma W Series Team, 19, CZE): 2.00.566
17. Bianca Bustamante (W Series Academy, 17, PHI): 2.01.110
18. Juju Noda (W Series Academy, 16, JPN): 2.05.957