Reigning double champion Jamie Chadwick celebrated her birthday in perfect style by taking pole position for the third race of the 2022 W Series season in Barcelona, Spain.
The Briton – who turned 24 today – continued her scintillating form having won both races at the season-opening double-header in Miami, USA, a fortnight ago. Those victories gave Jamie a commanding 27-point lead at the top of the championship standings after two of this season’s 10 races, and she is now perfectly placed to extend that advantage in Saturday’s race at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya after securing the ninth pole position of her W Series career.
Jamie had the final say in a frantic qualifying session when several drivers held top spot. Her lap of 1:44.951 with less than five minutes remaining saw off runner-up Alice Powell by three tenths of a second. Abbi Pulling was a further two tenths back to make it an all-British top three.
Having staged pre-season testing at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya at the start of March, a close battle was expected throughout the field this weekend – when W Series supports the Formula 1® Pirelli Gran Premio de Espana 2022 – and Friday’s qualifying session didn’t disappoint.
Using cars supplied by Toyota Gazoo Racing New Zealand (TGRNZ) for the first time, the drivers took to the circuit for qualifying with the track temperature at 45 degrees Celsius and tyre degradation high as a result.
Earlier in the day, Jamie led the way in the practice session when her best lap of 1:45.517 saw her beat Belen by more than one tenth of a second. Abbi and Alice were the two other drivers to get within half a second of Jamie’s morning benchmark. Practice was red flagged after eight minutes when Nerea beached her car in the gravel after spinning at Turn 10, causing a seven-minute delay.
TGRNZ is supporting W Series with the logistics required to get racing cars to F1 race weekends in the most sustainable way this year. As well as being used by W Series at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya this weekend, Toyota’s FT60 cars will also be at Suzuka, Japan, in October when W Series will stage its first race in Asia.
W Series uses identical Tatuus chassis to the Toyota Racing Series, but with different engines, and the cars being shipped for the two events retain their Toyota engines. Sharing cars between the two championships helps to manage logistics and enables the use of sea, as opposed to air, freight, keeping the series’ carbon footprint as low as possible.
Jamie Chadwick said:
“I’m really happy. That’s what I wished for when the W Series staff presented me with my birthday cake earlier! I couldn’t blow out the candle, but I wished for pole position, and I got it. It was quite a tricky session. I went on old tyres initially and it was a massive step from the old to the new tyres, and I knew if I didn’t make a mistake, it would be okay. But it’s quite hard not to make a mistake! On the new tyres I just had loads more confidence. Tomorrow will be all about tyre management, but I’m happy that on the new tyres we can get there.”