Beitske Visser won the final race of Round Eight at Mount Panorama Circuit, Bathurst, to extend her lead at the top of the W Series Esports League.
The Dutch driver was runner-up in race one and came from the back row to fifth in the reverse-grid race, recording the fastest lap in both of those races too. The 25-year-old then converted her second pole position of the round – and sixth in a row – into victory in the third race for a total of 50 points – her best result since Round Four in Brazil.
Beitske outscored her closest W Series Esports League challenger, Marta Garcia, by six points, giving her a 57-point lead with two rounds remaining. Marta, 19, won the first race at the legendary Australian circuit, but a combination of damage and mistakes in the two subsequent races meant she failed to record another podium finish. The Spaniard did strengthen her grip on second place as Irina Sidorkova – who won the reverse-grid race – registered just 29 points.
The Russian, 17, is now under pressure from Nerea Marti who bettered her score from the previous round for the fifth straight week to move past Caitlin Wood into fourth place in the League table. The Spaniard, 18, was the second-highest scorer on 45 points at Bathurst where she finished the three races fourth, third and second respectively.
The W Series Esports League table after Round Eight is as follows:
Beitske was dominant in qualifying and beat Marta to pole position by half a second. Beitske made the better start to the race too and led out of Turn One, but Marta got a great exit and overtook Beitske on the long run up to Turn Two. Marta led by one second at the end of the first lap and had extended that gap by half a second at the halfway stage as Beitske spent time fending off a challenge from Caitlin. With four minutes left, a lock-up by Belen Garcia allowed Ayla Agren to take fifth on the back straight, but Belen regained the place at the final corner. Beitske’s hopes of a late charge were ended by backmarkers through the tight mountain section and traffic nearly cost Caitlin too, but she held on to beat Nerea to the final podium position by less than two tenths of a second.
Race 1 Results
There was a clean start to the reverse-grid race and Irina retained her lead from pole position. She eased clear as Gosia Rdest, Tasmin Pepper and Emma Kimiläinen fought over second place, which Tasmin secured at the end of the first lap after she passed Gosia and Emma hit the barriers, gathering Alice Powell in the process. Irina led by four seconds at the start of lap two, by which time Beitske and Marta had made it into the top 10 from the back row of the grid, though Marta had damaged her front wing on the way. Moves on Sarah Moore and Bruna Tomaselli put Beitske up to seventh and she soon gained two further places when Gosia collided with Abbie Eaton. That put Marta up to eighth and she secured sixth place with six minutes remaining by overtaking Bruna and Sarah – who was also struggling with wing damage – on the same lap. Nerea passed Fabienne Wohlwend on the final lap to pinch the final podium spot.
Race 2 Results
|15||7||Emma Kimilainen||-1 L||3||1|
|16||99||Naomi Schiff||-1 L||9||0|
|17||27||Alice Powell||-1 L||4||0|
Beitske topped qualifying again and got another good start to keep Marta behind at Turn One. Marta was on Beitske’s tail as they emerged from the mountain section and made a move at the end of the back straight, but she out-braked herself and ran off into the gravel before rejoining in 10th place. That gave Beitske a lead of more than two seconds over Caitlin at the end of the first lap, but Caitlin soon lost out to Nerea and Tasmin at Turn Two. Marta overtook Emma for ninth at the same spot and was up to seventh with 14 of the 20 minutes remaining after a spin for Irina and an overtake on Belen. After a long battle over fourth place, Caitlin ran wide to let Sarah and Marta through at the final corner and, in trying to keep Ayla at bay at the start of the next lap, the Australian hit the barriers at Turn Two. With nine minutes left, Marta passed Sarah for fourth with a move at the same corner where she had gone off at the start of the race. Marta caught Tasmin on the penultimate lap but spun as she attempted to take third place around the outside at the final corner.
Race 3 Results
|12||20||Caitlin Wood||-1 L||3||4|
|13||5||Fabienne Wohlwend||-1 L||14||3|
|14||99||Naomi Schiff||-2 L||16||2|
|15||97||Bruna Tomaselli||-2 L||15||1|
|16||3||Gosia Rdest||-2 L||17||0|
|17||44||Abbie Eaton||-4 L||11||0|
Round Nine is at Nürburgring Nordschleife, Germany, next Thursday, 6 August at 19:00 BST. Watch all the action on BBC iPlayer, BBC Red Button, BBC Sport website and W Series’ Twitch, YouTube and Facebook channels.
Beitske Visser: “I’m happier now than I was after the last round at Suzuka. In the first race I had a good start but my exit at Turn One was not very good so Marta [Garcia] got past. I tried not to make many mistakes but Marta was very fast so I couldn’t win that one.
“In the reverse-grid race, I think me, Marta and Caitlin [Wood] had the same idea to take it really slowly on the first lap because it seemed like we were all going at half-throttle to avoid the chaos. But after lap one I started pushing, managed to get up to fifth and score the fastest lap as well. In the third race I was fighting with Marta on the first lap and she managed to get past me down the back straight but then she out-braked herself. From there I had a big gap so I could manage the race and just drive the car home safely.
“The next round at Nürburgring Nordschleife is the one I’ve been most looking forward to. It’s a very different track because it’s so long. In qualifying you normally try to put one lap together, but this will be like trying to put five laps together at once. Like Bathurst, the walls are very close so it’s going to be very tricky. It will be interesting to drive it in a Formula car too because in real life they don’t do that now, so I’ll need lots of time on the sim to get up to speed there.”
Marta Garcia: “In race one I started second, had an OK start and on the straight I could overtake Beitske [Visser]. From there I managed to have good pace and won the race.
“Catching Beitske at the top of the W Series Esports League looks like it will be very difficult now, almost impossible. But I will keep trying my best to do that over the last two rounds. The first of those takes us to Nürburgring Nordschleife. I can’t wait to drive such an iconic circuit and will be practising hard on the sim next week so that I’m well prepared.”
Irina Sidorkova: “I was unlucky in the first race. I had a crash at the second corner and I’m not sure whose fault it was. That meant I had to start from pole position in the second race and my plan was the same as it has been over the last few rounds in the reverse-grid races – to get a good start and go from there without making mistakes. I had a perfect start and a five-second gap early on which was good because Tasmin [Pepper] was going a little bit faster behind me but I had enough in hand to finish first.
“The last few rounds have been really tough because I’m also racing on-track in the Russian Touring Championship. That has limited my preparation time and impacted my lap times, but I’ll work as hard as I can to finish the W Series Esports League season off strongly.”
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.
For further information on the new W Series Esports League, including race calendar and how to watch, visit www.wseries.com/esports