Marta Garcia moved into W Series Esports League title contention by winning two races in round five at Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium.
The Spaniard secured her first W Series Esports League victories in the first and third races from pole position, and came from last on the grid to fifth in the reverse-grid race won by Tasmin Pepper – the South African becoming the fifth different race-winner this season. Marta also recorded the fastest lap in race three to earn a total of 52 points and continue her remarkable run of improving her score at every W Series Esports League round so far.
The 19-year-old outscored Beitske Visser by 15 points at Spa, where the W Series Esports League leader had to settle for runner-up finishes in races one and three. The Dutch driver’s lead at the top of the standings was cut by three points to 49 by Irina Sidorkova, the Russian recording finishes of third, sixth and third.
Irina is 20 points clear of Marta in third place and, as the W Series Esports League season reached the halfway mark, Tasmin moved up to fourth as her reverse-grid triumph and a fourth-placed finish in race three gave her 33 points.
The W Series Esports League table after round five is as follows:
Marta secured her first W Series Esports League pole position, beating Beitske by two tenths of a second in qualifying. Marta got a great start but was caught by Beitske and Irina on the Kemmel Straight. The trio were side-by-side approaching Les Combes but Marta was boldest on the brakes and retained her lead. Nerea Marti joined the fight at the end of lap one when the top four were separated by less than two seconds and, with 12 minutes remaining, Nerea passed Irina for third along the Kemmel Straight. However, barely a minute later, the Spaniard ran wide at Turn 11, which eventually let Irina back through, before making contact with Abbie Eaton and dropping down the order. Beitske was rarely more than one second behind Marta and the pressure told with two minutes left when the race leader locked a wheel to give the League leader a shot at victory. Beitske was closer than ever as they approached the Bus Stop Chicane for the final time and made a bid for glory with a late lunge up the inside, but Marta held on to take the win.
Race 1 Results
A crash at the beginning of race one led to Tasmin starting the reverse-grid race from pole position and the South African took full advantage with a perfect getaway. Her closest pursuers at the end of lap one were Jessica Hawkins, Nerea and Alice Powell, who all took advantage of some early skirmishes to make progress. The same was true of Marta and Irina, who swiftly made their way into the top 10, but not Beitske whose chances were dashed when she was caught up in the opening-lap trouble. As Tasmin steadily built her lead, the order changed behind her at the halfway point when Nerea and Alice passed Jessica at La Source. Two minutes later, Alice overtook Nerea for second at the Bus Stop Chicane but Tasmin was now more than three seconds up the road and out of reach. Jessica was the biggest loser on a frantic final lap, going from fourth to seventh as she was passed by Abbie, Marta and Irina.
Race 2 Results
|17||97||Bruna Tomaselli||-1 L||5||0|
The margin was smaller this time – four one-hundredths of a second – but Marta pipped Beitske to pole position again. The frontrunners were all away cleanly and, though Marta and Beitske, and Irina and Tasmin, went wheel-to-wheel in pairs along the Kemmel Straight, those four led in that order at the end of lap one. Spins for Ayla Agren and Alice at the Bus Stop Chicane first time around promoted Sarah Moore to fifth and Nerea to sixth, and that was how it finished as the top six steadily built gaps and avoided slipstreaming. In contrast, the battle for seventh raged throughout the second half of the race. After waiting patiently for a chance, Abbie finally passed Naomi Schiff with seven minutes left, only for Naomi to regain the position a minute later. But, as they squabbled, Belen Garcia loomed large and, with five minutes to go, the Spaniard pulled off the move of the round, overtaking both of them along the Kemmel Straight before easing clear. Both Belen and Abbie gained one place after the race when Nerea was given a 10-second penalty.
Race 3 Results
|16||7||Emma Kimilainen||-1 L||15||0|
|17||21||Jessica Hawkins||-8 L||6||0|
Round six is at Watkins Glen International, New York, USA, next Thursday, 16 July 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.