Marta Garcia won the final race at a dramatic round six of the W Series Esports League to be the top scorer at Watkins Glen, where the League’s top three each tasted victory and disappointment.
Beitske Visser won race one and came from last to fourth in the reverse-grid race, but the League leader crashed when in front in race three. The 25-year-old recorded the fastest lap in every race for a total of 41 points, two more than her closest W Series Esports League challenger Irina Sidorkova who now trails the Dutch driver by 51 points with four rounds remaining.
The 17-year-old Russian won the reverse-grid race and was runner-up in race three, but Irina and Marta collided on the first lap of the opening race. Marta, 19, recovered well and improved her result in every race, finishing on the podium in the reverse-grid and winning the last race for a total of 42 points.
The Spaniard trails Irina by 17 points but has a 41-point lead over Caitlin Wood. The Australian regained fourth place in the W Series Esports League from Tasmin Pepper thanks to podium finishes in the first and third races.
The W Series Esports League table after round six is as follows:
Beitske beat Irina to pole position by two tenths of a second and made a great start to retain her lead after the long run to Turn One. Irina ran wide on the exit of the first corner, allowing the chasing pack to bunch up behind her. The fast-starting Marta was her chief pursuer and the pair collided at the first chicane before plummeting down the order. That forced those behind to take evasive action, allowing Beitske to build an unassailable lead of more than three seconds over Caitlin at the end of lap one. The midfield provided plenty of drama throughout the 15-minute race. Naomi Schiff spun following a scrap with Abbie Eaton and Nerea Marti over fourth place, while Ayla Agren pulled off a fine move on Sarah Moore in the closing stages to pinch sixth.
Race 1 Results
|15||22||Belen Garcia||-1 L||13||1|
|16||99||Naomi Schiff||-5 L||12||0|
Naomi started the reverse-grid race from pole position but was quickly overtaken by Belen Garcia and Irina. Belen led the Russian by just under a second at the end of lap one, by which time Marta had progressed from eighth to fourth and Beitske from last on the grid to eighth. As the race approached the halfway stage, Irina passed Belen for the lead at the end of the back straight and a few corners later Marta took third from Naomi. Moves on Sarah and Bruna Tomaselli put Beitske up to sixth place, and that soon became fifth when an incident between Marta and Naomi relegated the latter and promoted Fabienne Wohlwend to third. Marta regained the final podium place along the back straight with four minutes left and Beitske quickly followed her past Fabienne to take fourth. Marta was under severe pressure from Beitske on the final lap culminating in a drag race to the chequered flag, but the Spaniard held on by one tenth of a second.
Race 2 Results
|14||31||Tasmin Pepper||-1 L||14||2|
|15||21||Jessica Hawkins||-1 L||6||1|
|16||11||Vicky Piria||-1 L||5||0|
Beitske dominated qualifying, taking pole position by four tenths of a second from Caitlin who made a slow start and dropped to fourth behind Marta and Irina. Beitske got away well but was caught by Marta at the end of the back straight and lost the lead through the chicane. Four minutes later Beitske returned the favour by edging ahead at the end of the same straight, but she failed to make a move on Marta stick through the chicane where she went straight on and hit the wall. That left Marta a clear track to take a comfortable victory from Irina, who managed to keep the charging Caitlin behind her in the closing stages.
Race 3 Results
|14||99||Naomi Schiff||-1 L||10||2|
|15||11||Vicky Piria||-1 L||16||1|
|16||44||Abbie Eaton||-2 L||8||0|
Round seven is at Suzuka International Racing Course, Japan, next Thursday, 23 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: “For race one I had a good lap in qualifying and managed to get pole position. Ira [Sidorkova] had a better start than me but she ran a bit wide on the exit of Turn One which meant the gap down the straight was big enough for me to keep the lead. Then I saw them fighting behind me so immediately I had a bigger gap and could just drive it home from there. In the reverse-grid race I approached it really calmly at the start because the exit of Turn One and the aggressive kerbs at the chicane meant there could be some crashes. But I managed to avoid them and just kept pushing to overtake as many cars as I could.
“In the final race I was on pole again. On the exit of Turn One Marta [Garcia] was quite close and, as the straight is uphill and quite long, you’re kind of a sitting duck so she managed to overtake me. I caught up and tried to overtake her on the outside. Maybe I should have been more patient but I just wanted to attack. Unfortunately it didn’t pay off and I hit the wall. From there I just kept pushing to regain as many places and points as I could.”
Irina Sidorkova: “I had a good start in the first race but made a mistake at the first corner, locked my tyres and had to go straight at the chicane so had contact with Marta [Garcia]. It was my mistake because I was too fast in the first part, touched her front wing and we crashed. In the reverse-grid race I got a really good start again but made a mistake again at Turn One so I had to overtake Naomi [Schiff] and Belen [Garcia].
“I only got second in race three because Beitkse [Visser] made a mistake. Without that I would have been third so it was a good result because Marta was much faster than me and I couldn’t do anything to catch her. I’m ready for the next round at Suzuka and think I can have a good result. I will be competing in the second stage of the Russian Touring Championship too, so doing sim-racing and on-track racing at the same time will be a challenge but I’m looking forward to it.”
Marta Garcia: “I started fifth in the first race as my qualifying was not great. I had a decent start and made up places but then had a crash with Ira [Sidorkova]. It was a pity because it was really close, we couldn’t do anything about it, just a racing incident. After that I overtook some drivers and finished ninth. In the reverse-grid race I started eighth, had a good start again to quickly get into the top five and then I managed to overtake Fabienne [Wohlwend] and Naomi [Schiff] to finish third.
“In the last race I started third, had a good start and overtook Beitske [Visser] on the first lap with the tow on the straight. She fought back and tried to overtake but she made a bit of a mistake and after that my pace was good and I could get the win. Suzuka is another new circuit for me. I’ve never been there before so I’m really looking forward to learning it and I will be training hard to try to get a good result.”
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