Kimiläinen storms through to take W Series victory in Belgium
Emma Kimiläinen, 32, crossed the finish line 8.4 seconds ahead of Jamie Chadwick at the renowned Spa-Francorchamps circuit to take her first W Series victory of the 2021 season.
Kimiläinen drove an outstanding race in tricky wet conditions, building her way up from fourth on the grid; past Caitlin Wood, Alice Powell then took the lead from Chadwick with just minutes to go.
The race started under the safety car due to dangerous conditions, leaving only 17 minutes for racing action. But the time under the green flag didn’t disappoint.
In the post-race press conference, Emma said: “This is such an amazing feeling! I had a really good car and I have to thank my engineer, driver coach and mechanic for getting everything spot on today.
“The Ecurie W team is rocking and this track is just amazing.”
Emma at 32 is the oldest driver on the all-female grid.
“I consider myself more or less a driver and athlete like everyone else here and I don’t want to make a big story out of the fact that I happen to be a mother and happen to be the oldest one," she told Females in Motorsport.
“It was amazing to be here at a Formula 1 event and the crowd was absolutely amazing too. Spa is a very historical and great track so it just became my favourite [win]. It was really nice to be here.”
Emma dominated the closing stages of the race, being an enormous three seconds faster than Chadwick. This brings Emma to third place in the championship, just 31 points of the lead.
Chadwick still leads the overall standings, building on her lead against Powell who is seven points behind her, with three rounds to go.
Chadwick said: “From my point of view, it’s still a good day for the championship because I finished ahead of Alice [Powell] and, all things considered, I’m just happy to come through that race unscathed because it was pretty tricky out there”.
After a scary crash in qualifying involving six drivers, Beitske Visser and Ayla Agren have been cleared from the hospital and were supporting the drivers from the paddock yesterday.
W Series will resume its championship at the Netherlands Grand Prix next weekend (3rd-5th September).