Beitske Visser holds the early advantage in the W Series Esports League after winning two of the three races in the opening round at Autodromo Nazionale di Monza, Italy, to top the League table.
The 25-year-old Dutch driver – who finished runner-up to Jamie Chadwick in W Series’ maiden on-track season last year – won the first and third races from second on the grid and recorded the fastest lap on her way to both victories. In between her two wins, Beitske came from last to ninth in the reverse-grid race, won by Finland’s Emma Kimiläinen, to earn a total of 49 points. Points for each W Series Esports League race are awarded as follows:
20-17-15-13-11-10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 (1st – 15th) & 1 point for fastest lap
Beitske has a three-point lead over Irina Sidorkova in the League table, the 16-year-old shining on her W Series debut. The young Russian recorded finishes of second, fourth and third, and set the fastest lap in the reverse-grid race, to go 10 points clear of Gosia Rdest. The 27-year-old Pole took the chequered flag in fifth, third and sixth places to score a total of 36 points, one point more than W Series rookie Nerea Martí. The Spaniard, 18, lies in fourth spot in the League table by finishing third, 13th and second.
The W Series Esports League table after round one is as follows:
Caitlin Wood edged out Beitske Visser by one-thousandth of a second to take pole position, but Beitske made the better start and led the Australian into Turn One. Irina Sidorkova also made early progress from fifth on the grid, overtaking Nerea Martí for third at the second chicane. Irina passed Wood for second with nine of the 15 minutes remaining, and Caitlin’s mistake at Ascari let Nerea through into third. As the battle raged behind her, Beitske eased clear of Irina and Nerea, with Caitlin finishing sixth behind Tasmin Pepper and Gosia Rdest. Jessica Hawkins made up more places than any other driver, coming from 15th on the grid to finish seventh – two places ahead of fellow Briton and reigning W Series champion Jamie Chadwick.
Race 1 Results
|19||5||Fabienne Wohlwend||-1 LAP||19||0|
|20||7||Emma Kimilainen||-1 LAP||17||0|
The reverse-grid race got off to a chaotic start when several cars collided at the first corner. However, polesitter Emma Kimiläinen avoided the trouble to retain the lead from fellow front-row starter Fabienne Wohlwend. Bruna Tomaselli and Naomi Schiff started on the second row, but were at the rear of the field after the early accident, which allowed those at the back of the grid to make significant progress after one lap – Gosia Rdest going from 16th to third, Irina Sidorkova from 19th to sixth and Beitske Visser from last to 10th. A mistake from Sarah Moore promoted Irina to fifth with 11 minutes remaining and, five minutes later, the Russian took fourth place from Marta Garcia. Emma’s lead over Fabienne was never much more than a second, but she held on to take the win and Fabienne saw off a final-corner challenge from Gosia.
Race 2 Results
|19||99||Naomi Schiff||-1 LAP||4||0|
|20||97||Bruna Tomaselli||-1 LAP||3||0|
Caitlin Wood pinched pole position from Beitske Visser with her final qualifying lap, but the second-row pairing of Nerea Martí and Ayla Agren made the better start and led into Turn One. A spin saw Ayla drop back through the field and promoted Beitske to second, and the winner of the opening race hit the front and never looked back once she passed Nerea at the second chicane with 13 of the 20 minutes remaining. Irina Sidorkova completed the podium and Tasmin Pepper went from seventh on the grid to fourth. Alice Powell beat Gosia Rdest to fifth place after a prolonged wheel-to-wheel battle.
Race 3 Results
|16||55||Jamie Chadwick||-1 LAP||20||0|
|17||11||Vicky Piria||-1 LAP||18||0|
|18||37||Sabre Cook||-1 LAP||17||0|
|19||21||Jessica Hawkins||-1 LAP||11||0|
|20||22||Belen Garcia||-4 LAPS||14||0|
Round two is at Circuit of the Americas, Austin, Texas, USA, next Thursday, 18 June at 19:00 BST. Watch all three races on BBC iPlayer, BBC Red Button, BBC Sport website and W Series’ Twitch, YouTube and Facebook channels.
Beitske Visser: “In the first race I got off to a good start, got into the lead and pulled away. The second race was more chaotic. I had to line up last on the grid and didn’t have a very good start. I had damage so I wasn’t very fast, but I managed to get some points. In the last race, Caitlin [Wood] outqualified me again so I have to work on that. We both messed up the start and were five-wide into turn one, but luckily we survived. In the first few laps Nerea [Martí] was very fast but then I could catch up, overtake her and pull away. The aim is to maintain this form in Austin and hopefully survive the reverse-grid race a bit better.”
Emma Kimiläinen: “I can’t believe I won the reverse-grid race – it’s crazy! This is completely new to me – the last time I raced cars on a computer I just used the keyboard. It was so nerve-wracking. I’ve never felt like that in a real race because I know what I’m doing, but I have no experience of this so I don’t trust myself under braking. My heartrate was around 140bpm throughout the race, but I didn’t make any mistakes and I’m so happy. What a great experience! I tried to improve after the first race and I’m so grateful to the other girls for helping me with my set-up.”
Irina Sidorkova: “I’m not used to racing on the sim, so it was great to see all the drivers on the grid and I’m very happy with the results. Before the races in Austin I’ll prepare hard to be a winner, but I know all the girls will do the same so it will be difficult.”
Gosia Rdest: “This is my first W Series podium so, even though it’s on the sim rather than in real life, I’m super-happy. I enjoyed the opportunity to be back racing with the other girls. My pace was OK but there’s still room for improvement. I need to spend more time on the sim, familiarising myself with the equipment and tracks, as a few of them are new to me, and I need to polish my braking technique – that’s where I’m slightly missing out.”
Nerea Martí: “I’m really happy with the opportunity W Series has given me. I’m happy too with a second and a third and I had great pace during the event. I think I can go one better and win in Austin, so I’ll prepare a lot and I can’t wait to do the next races.”
Catherine Bond Muir (Chief Executive Officer, W Series) said:
“In the absence of on-track racing, we’re delighted to have launched the W Series Esports League. The first races, which were run on the fast and historic Autodromo di Monza, were successful and entertaining, and it’s clear that Beitske [Visser], who won a W Series race on track last year [Zolder], is every bit as competitive on an eracing rig as she is in a real race car. Congratulations to her for winning two of the three races at Monza.
“Congrats also to Emma [Kimiläinen], who won the reverse-grid race despite not being a practised eracer and therefore not having as much relevant experience as most of her rivals.
“We’re already looking forward to the next round of races, which will be run on the Circuit of the Americas [Austin, Texas, USA] and will be streamed/broadcast on Thursday June 18th.
“Many thanks to our eracing partners Logitech, iRacing and Beyond Entertainment, our broadcast partners the BBC and Whisper, our streaming partners YouTube, Twitch and Facebook, our eracing photographic partner Getty Images and of course our global partner ROKiT: a seriously impressive team.”
David Coulthard (W Series Advisory Board Chairman & W Series Esports League co-commentator) said:
“The W Series Esports League got off to a great start, with three cracking races at Monza, the home of the Italian Grand Prix.
“I’ve won the Italian Grand Prix at Monza in real life, longer ago than I care to remember , and, although the famous Autodromo contains only seven corners, it’s an exciting and challenging circuit on which to race, not least because of the very high straight-line speeds. I was impressed by the accuracy of the iRacing simulation, and I enjoyed commentating on the three eraces.
“I was also impressed by Beitske [Visser], who won two of those three eraces, in fine style, and also by Emma [Kimiläinen], who held on to win the reverse-grid race despite pressure from Fabienne [Wohlwend] at the end. And, although she didn’t win one of the Monza eraces, 16-year-old Ira [Sidorkova] was one of the stars of the event, recording a second place, a fourth place and a third place, in that order. She reckons she can go one better in the next round of races, by winning at the Circuit of the Americas [Austin, Texas, USA] next week, and I wouldn’t be at all surprised if she were to do just that. But her 20 rivals will have other ideas, of course.
“Last but not least, I want to say thanks to my co-commentator Luke Crane, to our presenter Lee McKenzie, and to our colleagues at the BBC and Whisper who collaborated to put on a very good first show. Onwards and upwards!”
W Series Esports League points for each race are awarded as follows:
- Race 1: 20-17-15-13-11-10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 (1st – 15th) & 1 point for fastest lap
- Race 2: 20-17-15-13-11-10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 (1st – 15th) & 1 point for fastest lap
- Race 3: 20-17-15-13-11-10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 (1st – 15th) & 1 point for fastest lap
At the end of the W Series Esports League season, the driver who has scored the most points will be declared the winner of the W Series Esports League.