Kimilainen takes crucial W Series win at Assen, closes on 2020 return

Emma Kimilainen took her maiden W Series victory at Assen, despite missing two rounds of the 2019 season due to injury

Kimilainen takes crucial W Series win at Assen, closes on 2020 return

Kimilainen had set the pace on Friday and taken her first series pole in qualifying, lining up beside Alice Powell at the front of the grid.

Powell initially got the lead as the lights went out, but the race was almost immediately neutralised by a safety car as Tasmin Pepper spun across the track and was struck by Miki Koyama who was unable to take avoiding action.

The race got underway again shortly after with Powell maintaining the lead, with both her and a chasing Kimilainen pulling away from the rest of the field by a margin of just over four seconds.

But Kimilainen continued to apply pressure to Powell and eventually caught her out on the run into the first corner, with Powell running wide off the track and allowing Kimilainen past.

Kimilainen held onto the lead from then until the flag to take her first victory in the series, moving to sixth place in the championship and steadying her position in the battle for W Series seats in 2020, with only the top 12 drivers in the championship guaranteed a place on next year's grid.

Powell's second-place finish means she moves back ahead of Fabienne Wohlwend in the championship for fourth place, with Wohlwend suffering damage to her front wing in a skirmish at the restart and finished in 15th place.

Williams Formula 1 development driver Jamie Chadwick spent her entire race in third place and completed the podium, but was under pressure from title rival Beitske Visser in the latter half of the race, with Visser ultimately running out of time to make a move on the championship leader.

The title fight therefore remains open as the series heads towards its final round at Brands Hatch on August 11.

Visser had overtaken Caitlin Wood in a move around the outside earlier in the race, with Wood coming home in fifth place to improve one position on her best qualifying performance so far.

Gosia Rdest and Jessica Hawkins were sixth and seventh, also securing solid points hauls for their own bids to remain in W Series next year.

Vicky Piria was eighth, improving from 12th place in qualifying after an engine failure, and was ahead of Norisring winner Marta Garcia.

Sarah Moore, who had qualified fifth but was handed a five-place grid penalty for a Norisring clash with Shea Holbrook, ended the race where she started and completed the top 10.

W Series has added an additional non-championship Sunday race to its programme for this weekend in Assen, which will be run with a reversed grid.

Race result

Pos Driver Team Car Laps
1 Emma Kimilainen Tatuus/Alfa Romeo 19
2 Alice Powell Tatuus/Alfa Romeo 19
3 Jamie Chadwick Tatuus/Alfa Romeo 19
4 Beitske Visser Tatuus/Alfa Romeo 19
5 Caitlin Wood Tatuus/Alfa Romeo 19
6 Gosia Rdest Tatuus/Alfa Romeo 19
7 Jessica Hawkins Tatuus/Alfa Romeo 19
8 Vicky Piria Tatuus/Alfa Romeo 19
9 Marta Garcia Tatuus/Alfa Romeo 19
10 Sarah Moore Tatuus/Alfa Romeo 19
11 Esmee Hawkey Tatuus/Alfa Romeo 19
12 Naomi Schiff Tatuus/Alfa Romeo 19
13 Sabre Cook Tatuus/Alfa Romeo 19
14 Megan Gilkes Tatuus/Alfa Romeo 19
15 Fabienne Wohlwend Tatuus/Alfa Romeo 19
16 Shea Holbrook Tatuus/Alfa Romeo 18
- Tasmin Pepper Tatuus/Alfa Romeo 1
- Miki Koyama Tatuus/Alfa Romeo 0

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Kimilainen takes maiden W Series pole at Assen

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Series W Series
Author Lucy Morson
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