Jamie Chadwick finished second in Spa to extend her lead over Alice Powell to seven points in the W Series Championship.
As a result of a six-car accident during qualifying on Friday, 16 drivers started the race. Four of the six drivers involved – Sarah Moore (Scuderia W, GBR), Belen Garcia (Scuderia W, ESP), Abbie and Fabienne – were cleared to race. Ayla Agren (M. Forbes Motorsport, NOR) and Beitske Visser (M. Forbes Motorsport, NED) did not receive clearance, though both drivers are determined to return for the sixth race of the season at Zandvoort, Netherlands, next weekend (4 September).
The start of the race was delayed by one hour due to a red flag during Formula 1 qualifying, and heavy rain throughout the day meant the opening 13 minutes took place behind the safety car. It was worth the wait, as the remainder of the 30 minutes plus one lap race was full of wheel-to-wheel action.
The pole-sitter had won each of the first four races of the season, and that run seemed set to continue when Jamie pulled out a 2.6-second advantage over Alice at the end of the first flying lap. Emma was a further three seconds back in third at that stage after passing Caitlin who ran wide at Eau Rouge and was then overtaken by her team-mate Marta.
With less than 10 minutes remaining, Emma and Marta pulled nine seconds clear of Caitlin and took two seconds out of the leading pair on the next lap as the chasing pack began to find some drier sections of track. With eight minutes to go, when Emma overtook Alice for second place at Blanchimont before setting off in pursuit of Jamie who was five seconds up the road.
Emma set the fastest lap with five minutes left, posting purple times in all three sectors to go three seconds faster than Jamie and reduce the Briton’s advantage to one second. On the next lap, Emma went later on the brakes to pass Jamie for the lead around the outside before easing clear in the closing stages to win by almost nine seconds.
Jamie Chadwick, 23, UK, Veloce Racing, said:
“I had no answer to Emma [Kimiläinen] today. She was really impressive and just seemed to be able to use better parts of the track for the tyres. From my point of view, it’s still a good day for the championship because I finished ahead of Alice [Powell] and, all things considered, I’m just happy to come through that race unscathed because it was pretty tricky out there. I wanted to go racing when we started behind the safety car, but we managed the situation well and Emma [Kimiläinen] simply did a better job today so all credit to her.”