Kimilainen takes W Series Spa win in wet racing masterclass

W Series

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Emma Kimilainen passed W Series championship leaders Jamie Chadwick and Alice Powell to score a superb win in wet conditions at Spa.

Jamie Chadwick had taken pole in the disrupted qualifying session yesterday, beating Alice Powell after a long red flag period following a six-car crash.

Four of the drivers involved in the crash were able to start the race: Fabienne Wohlwend, Abbie Eaton, Sarah Moore and Belen Garcia started from the back of the 16-car grid, with only Beitske Visser and Ayla Agren missing from the field. Gosia Rdest took over from Ira Sidorkova, following the young Russian driver’s positive Covid-19 test.

The first laps of the race were run behind Safety Car on a wet but drying track. “Behind Jamie, I can’t even see her rain light – there’s so much spray” said Powell, on the third tour. Nonetheless, the Safety Car came in on the following lap and the race started with 17 of the 30 minutes remaining.

Chadwick got away at the restart, drawing out several car lengths of lead ahead of Powell into turn one. Caitlin Wood and Kimilainen duelled up the Kemmel Straight, going three-wide with Marta Garcia despite appalling visibility. Wood and Kimilainen continued to battle around Les Combes and by turn nine Kikmilainen had the advantage.

Garcia and Wood continued fighting, taking almost the whole middle section of the track side-by-side. Garcia had fourth place across the line but both stayed close onto lap two, while Chadwick and Powell moved up the road.

Wolhwend had made an excellent start before going wide through turn nine on the second lap, feeding her back several places.

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Powell was caught by Kimilainen with nine minutes to go, Kimilainen drawing up alongside her through Blanchimont and taking second place while Chadwick continued to comfortably head up the road.

“I’ve got no grip whatsoever, nothing,” said Powell on the radio immediately after Kimilainen’s overtake, as fourth-placed Garcia began to catch them both.

Powell found herself in a serious battle with Garcia on the following lap, the two side-by-side through Stavelot, but Powell was able to hold on through Blanchimont and draw out a further gap at the start of the next tour.

Kimilainen, meanwhile, had caught Chadwick – fighting through Pouhon Kimilainen seemed to be driving a different car, setting lap times more than three and a half seconds faster than Chadwick and able to easily power past for the lead.

Garcia was able to get close to Powell again, this time making the pass through Stavelot work. Powell fought back and at one point reclaimed the place but seemed unable to make a pass stick.

Kimilainen crossed the line just before the time ticked down to zero, meaning there were two more laps after the 30 minute race time. Around a track like Spa, that increased the distance by a considerable margin, but Kimilainen led the final two laps home at the same pace she’d taken the rest of the race.

Kimilainen was joined on the podium by Chadwick, who extends her championship lead with a second-place finish and Garcia, who held off Powell to take third.

Wohlwend, despite her earlier error, moved up into seventh place to recover from yesterday’s crash by scoring a haul of points and Eaton also made it into the top ten, from their back-of-grid start.

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W Series Qualifying race results

PositionDriverTeam
1Emma KimilainenEcurie W
2Jamie ChadwickVeloce
3Marta GarciaPuma
4Alice PowellRacing X
5Caitlin WoodPuma
6Jessica HawkinsRacing X
7Fabienne WohlwendBunker Racing
8Nerea MartiW Academy
9Miki KoyamaSirin
10Abbie EatonEcurie W
11Sabré CookBunker Racing
12Vicky PiriaSirin
13Sarah MooreScuderia W
14Belen GarciaScuderia W
15Bruna TomaselliVeloce
16Gosia RdestW Academy

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Author information

Hazel Southwell
Hazel is a freelance journalist who roams the paddocks of Formula E, covering the technical and emotional elements of electric racing. Usually found at...

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22 comments on “Kimilainen takes W Series Spa win in wet racing masterclass”

  1. Shame we don’t get W series on F1TV really, from the race report that would have been a great race to watch.

    1. You can watch it free on YouTube.

      It’s a shame the race was so short; there was superb racing throughout the field.

      1. Are you sure of that @harrydymond? As far as I can find on their YT channel they only have practice sessions live and then have a lot of content around the races (interviews, track guide etc) and put out a race highlights sometime after the race.

        When I look right now, there is nothing about the race today (yet) on there.

        1. Well, all I know is that I watched it live on YouTube today. It was on the UK Channel 4 Sport YouTube channel; I’m not sure if that’s geo-fenced or not.

          Here’s the link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OiAPSMRwrYU

          1. Yes, it is geofenced @harrydymond, don’t assume things that work for you work for everyone

        2. * @bascb (for the notification).

    2. @bascb It was live on channel 4 in the UK but due to Norris’ crash the program overran and the race started 30 mins after the scheduled program finish time. They then moved it to their YouTube channel. Not sure they do that for all races.

      1. Not of any help for the people outside the UK, is it @millionus

  2. This girl, Kimilainen, is giving a lesson of wet weather racecraft on fellow compatriot Bottas.

    Reply moderated
  3. Is she related to Kimi or to Kovalainen? Or both?

    1. @omarr-pepper
      Exactly what I was thinking xD
      That name just screams motorsport =D

    2. @omarr-pepper it’s just a Finnish style of name. I think it means something like ‘from Kimi’ although whether that’s regional or familial idk. (not a Finnish expert)

      1. She does narrowly have young age enough to be the daugther of Kimi, if I’m not mistaken.

        Reply moderated
        1. Emma is 32 but also Kimi is just a common Finnish name, as well as the name (or close to it) of a place.

  4. Kimilainen? Is that really a name?

    1. No. But Kimiläinen is.

  5. Well….yes. There’s about 30(ish) people in Finland with that surname.
    It derives from “descended from a male named Kimi”, which itself a derivative from a person with the name Joakim.
    So probably a few hundred years ago there lived a person named Joakim/Joachim who had his name recorded in the church records as living in a particular place. And thus the family name was established.

    ….sometimes i bore myself… sorry ’bout that

    1. This started as a reply to @balue, but wordpress

  6. Kimilainen edged out Kekehakkinen for the win.

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