Home Featured Belen Garcia tops W Series’ Barcelona test, three more drivers confirmed

Belen Garcia tops W Series’ Barcelona test, three more drivers confirmed

by Ida Wood

Photo: LAT Images

Belen Garcia set the pace in W Series’ pre-season test at Barcelona, which used the championship’s usual Formula Regional cars after last month’s Formula 4-based test.

Drivers were at Barcelona for four days, with the first consisting of media duties and then the remaining three focusing on on-track action.

The field of 20 was split into two groups, with 10 driving the first day-and-a-half from Wednesday to Thursday, and the other 10 doing the remaining day-and-a-half through to Friday.

Reigning champion Jamie Chadwick headed the ‘Group 1’ runners by 0.214 seconds over Jessica Hawkins, who then contested the first two sessions of ‘Group 2’ running. That was split into a single Thursday session, then four across Friday.

Emma Kimilainen was fastest on Thursday afternoon. She topped the times by 0.102s ahead of Garcia and 0.161s ahead of Alice Powell, with Beitske Visser and Sarah Moore also within a second of the pace. Hawkins was 10th fastest, but only set seven laps in total while most set more than five times that.

Garcia set her test-topping lap in the first session of Friday morning, going a massive 3.219s faster than next-best Powell and with another nine tenths to Moore and Kimilainen in third and fourth. This time Hawkins only did three laps, and was 12s off the pace, but was ahead of Visser and Britcar driver Jem Hepworth – standing in for Russian driver Irina Sidorkova who was at the circuit but then returned home amid the evolving international situation regarding her nation – who were 15.7s and 21.1s back respectively.

Kimilainen almost matched Garcia’s benchmark in the next morning session, setting a 1m43.656s lap that put her 0.012s ahead of Visser and 0.047s ahead of Powell at the top, and only 0.015s off Garcia’s early morning pace.

It was Visser’s turn to be at the top in the first of two afternoon sessions, and she was fastest by six tenths of a second. Powell edged Kimilainen by 0.053s to be second, and Garcia was a further 0.171s back in fourth.

The day ended with Garcia ahead again, but with laptimes considerably slower than in the morning. With a 1m45.439s lap she pipped Visser by 0.034s, with Powell and Fabienne Wohlwend in third and fourth.

During the test Kimilainen, Visser and Wohlwend were announced as being on the 2022 grid, with the trio earning their seats by coming in the top eight in 2021, bringing the confirmed grid up to five of the 18 drivers.

Test results

Pos Driver Time Gap Laps*
1 Belen Garcia 1m43.641s 97
2 Emma Kimilainen 1m43.656s +0.015s 99
3 Beitske Visser 1m43.668s +0.027s 86
4 Jamie Chadwick 1m43.696s +0.055s 120
5 Alice Powell 1m43.703s +0.062s 79
6 Nerea Marti 1m43.735s +0.094s 107
7 Jessica Hawkins 1m44.069s +0.428s 130
8 Bruna Tomaselli 1m44.271s +0.630s 120
9 Abbi Pulling 1m44.472s +0.831s 107
10 Megan Gilkes 1m44.551s +0.910s 117
11 Marta Garcia 1m44.618s +0.977s 113
12 Emely De Heus 1m44.643s +1.002s 134
13 Tereza Babickova 1m44.830s +1.189s 118
14 Lena Buhler 1m44.855s +1.214s 99
15 Fabienne Wohlwend 1m44.913s +1.272s 98
16 Sarah Moore 1m44.935s +1.294s 98
17 Chloe Chambers 1m44.994s +1.353s 99
18 Bianca Bustamante 1m45.225s +1.584s 92
19 Juju Noda 1m45.825s +2.184s 103
20 Jem Hepworth 1m47.988s +4.347s 89

*Lap count from Friday session two not included