A bold overtake at Circuit Zandvoort gave Alice Powell (Racing X, GBR) her third victory of the season and a share of the lead in the W Series title race.
Alice started from second on the grid in the Netherlands, but passed pole-sitter Emma Kimiläinen (Ecurie W, FIN) in the early stages before beating Jamie Chadwick (Veloce Racing, GBR) by three seconds. The fourth win of Alice's W Series career moves her level on 109 points with defending champion Jamie – who scored a fifth consecutive podium finish – at the top of the championship standings. Emma completed the podium and is now 34 points behind Alice and Jamie with two rounds remaining, the first of which takes place at the Circuit of the Americas, Austin, Texas, USA, on 23 October.
Nerea Martí (W Series Academy Team, ESP) was fourth, Jessica Hawkins (Racing X, GBR) fifth – the best result of her W Series career – and Abbie Eaton (Ecurie W, GBR) sixth. Reserve driver Abbi Pulling (PUMA W Series Team, GBR) overtook eighth-placed Belen Garcia (Scuderia W, ESP) on the final lap to finish seventh, one place higher than her Silverstone debut result in July. Sarah Moore (Scuderia W, GBR) and Miki Koyama (Sirin Racing, JPN) completed the top 10.
On another warm and sunny day at the Dutch seaside resort bordering the North Sea, the start of the race was delayed by 30 minutes due to red flags during the preceding Formula 1 qualifying session. Bruna Tomaselli (Veloce Racing, BRA) qualified 14th but started at the rear of the field after spinning on the formation lap, during which Emma also dipped a wheel into the gravel.
When the lights went out, the Finn made a flying start to retain her lead at the end of lap one ahead of Alice – who survived early pressure from third-placed Jamie – by just over one second. Abbi started fifth but lost three places in the early stages, promoting Jessica, Abbie and Belen up the field.
With 23 minutes remaining, Alice set the fastest lap of the race to close to within two tenths of a second of Emma, who she overtook on the inside at Turn 10 to hit the front. Jamie followed Alice past Emma to go second at Turn 1 on the next lap.
At the halfway stage, Alice led Jamie by 2.2 seconds with Emma a further 4.1 seconds back in third and coming under pressure from Nerea and Jessica. Alice had extended her advantage by a second with a quarter of the race left and eased to victory.
The fiercest battle in the closing stages was for seventh place between Belen and Abbi. Abbi – making just her second W Series appearance – looked to have made a successful overtake on the penultimate lap when she attempted the same move at Turn 10 that her mentor Alice had pulled off earlier in the race. Belen survived on that occasion, but the pressure told on the final lap when Abbi went past her at Turn 3.
Alice was also named Star of the Track, a brand-new fan initiative in association with W Series' partner, Heineken. Alice received more votes from fans than any other driver at the end of Saturday's race.
Alice Powell, 28, UK, Racing X, said:
"I'm so happy with that victory. It was a good move to get past Emma [Kimiläinen] – I was quite pleased with that one. It's the business end of season so I knew I had to move forward, and I knew I had the pace to do that because of what happened in qualifying when Emma just pipped us. It was a great job by the team today, so thanks to them for all their help. Hopefully there are more wins to come for me this season. I'm level on points with Jamie [Chadwick] now and the plan is the same as it's been all season – I'll just try to be consistent. It will be a hard fight with Jamie and Emma for the rest of the year and the gaps between the field are closing at every race, so you can't rule out more people joining the battle at the front."
Jamie Chadwick, 23, UK, Veloce Racing, said:
"That was a difficult race. Alice [Powell], Emma [Kimiläinen] and I all got a similar start and, after the first few laps, the three of us just went clear. I'm not sure what happened to Emma, but I managed to get past her. I couldn't close up to Alice, so there was no opportunity to overtake her for the lead. It's another solid result and good points for me in the title race, but I would have liked the win."
Emma Kimiläinen, 32, Finland, Ecurie W, said:
"We just didn’t get it quite right with the car today. That's how it is in this sport sometimes, we gambled a bit with the setup and my team still did an amazing job. I was able to keep third place despite a lot of pressure from behind, so I'm happy with my performance overall and proud that I was able to settle the car down. A podium is a good result and it's more important points for me this season."
Provisional race results and championship standings after round six of the 2021 W Series season are below. For full W Series results and session timings from Circuit Zandvoort visit https://wseries.com/races/zandvoort-round-6/.