Emma Kimilainen took advantage of a mistake from Alice Powell to win her first W Series race at TT Assen
Pepper Spin Brings Out Safety Car
Rainfall had occurred during that morning’s DTM race, only for the track to dry by the time W Series lined up on the grid.
At the start, pole sitter Emma Kimilainen got a slow start and lost the least to Alice Powell, with Jamie Chadwick looking to take second place.
Behind them, Tasmin Pepper spun around at Turn 1, after she was hit by Norisring winner, Marta Garcia.
As the South African tried to regain control of the car, Pepper was hit my Miki Koyama, who herself was blinded by the tyre smoke.
The collision broke Koyama’s front suspension and was seen holding her wrist as she was taken for a medical check.
The incident brought out the Safety Car, during which Pepper pitted to retire from the race.
Vesser Under Pressure
On the restart, Powell maintain the lead ahead of Kimilainen and Chadwick, while Caitlin Wood was hasselled by Beitske Vesser over fourth place.
Vesser made her move at Turn 11, making a late lunge down the inside to take the position.
Further back, Fabienne Wohlwend tried to force a way past Gosia Rdest for sixth. However, as they went through the final chicane, Wohlwend damaged her front wing.
Consequently, the Liechtenstein driver was forced to make a pit stop, ending her slim title chances.
As the race reached half distance, Vesser was the fastest driver on track and pursued after fellow championship contender for third place.
Vesser knew she had to pass the Brit, to better her chances of becoming champion in next month’s finale at Brands Hatch.
However, while closing the gap, a mistake at the final chicane conceded valuable time to Chadwick.
Kimilainen makes her Move
Back at the front, Kimilainen set the fastest lap of a 1:35.460 and was right behind Powell. At the start of Lap 12, Powell defended into Turn 1 but ran wide and left the door open.
Kimilainen didn’t need a second invitation, sweeping past to take the lead and immediately created a gap of 1.2 seconds.
The Finnish driver then went faster with a 1:35.384 and increased the advantage to 4.5 seconds.
Kimilainen maintained the gap to claim her first W Series win at Assen, with Powell holding on to second place.
The win marks a marvellous return to form for Kimilainen, who missed two races due to injury. In a post-race interview with Lee McKenzie, she expressed her gratitude towards those who helped her during rehabilitation:
“It means a lot. I want to dedicate this to the Doctors that helped me, they did an amazing job to get me from the bottom of the bed, to here winning a race. Incredible, thank you!”
With two minutes left on the clock, Vesser caught up to Chadwick once again, only to lock up at the Turn 5 hairpin.
This relived the pressure on Chadwick, who went to claim third place, with Vesser having to settle for fourth.
Wood ended up fifth ahead of Rdest, with Jessica Hawkins, Vicky Piria, Marta Garcia and Sarah Moore completing the top ten.
A second race will be held tomorrow morning at TT Assen. Although the results won’t count towards the championship, format changes have been made with next season in mind.
Chadwick in Control of Title Race
With one race of the inaugural W Series campaign remaining, Jamie Chadwick has increased her lead to 13 points.
Beitske Vesser is now Chadwick’s only competitor, after Marta Garica and Fabienne Wohlwend both failed to win.
Vesser need to the finale at Brands Hatch, and have Chadwick finished out of the top four to become champion.
Garcia is still third in the standings with 62 points, while Alice Powell moves up to fourth on 51 points, ahead of Wohlwend.
Emma Kimilainen’s victory elevates her sixth with 35 points, ahead of Miki Koyama.