Assen W Series: Kimilainen tops red-flagged qualifying

Emma Kimilainen claimed her first W Series pole in a disrupted qualifying session for the penultimate round of the season at Assen.

Assen W Series: Kimilainen tops red-flagged qualifying

Kimilainen, who missed the Zolder and Misano rounds due to injury, had been the fastest driver of the day in the first free practice session on Friday and set the early benchmark time of 1m35.562s in the first stages of the 30-minute qualifying.

She was deposed briefly by home favourite and title contender Beitske Visser around the halfway mark, with Alice Powell also occupying the top spot on the timesheets for a spell.

Kimilainen ultimately posted her pole time of 1m34.758s shortly before the session was red-flagged with four minutes to go as a result of a spin for Shea Holbrook.

Qualifying, which was held in dry conditions ahead of a predicted wet race on Saturday afternoon, was restarted as soon as Holbrook’s car was recovered, with all drivers taking to the track to set their fast laps.

But the session was interrupted and not restarted when Vicky Piria suffered an engine failure, with Kimilainen retaining the fastest time.

Kimilainen will start the race ahead of Powell in second, with championship points leader and Williams Formula 1 development driver Jamie Chadwick in third.

Visser will line up alongside Chadwick on the second row of the grid in fourth place, with the pair separated by just 10 points in the title race.

Sarah Moore, who topped FP2 on Friday, set a laptime good enough for fifth on the grid, but incurred a five-place grid penalty for her Norisring clash with Holbrook and so will drop to the tail end of the top 10.

Caitlin Wood was sixth, ahead of Tasmin Pepper in seventh, the pair making up row three after Moore's penalty.

Fabienne Wohlwend qualified eighth ahead of Norisring winner Marta Garcia, with both drivers also still having an outside chance at taking the first W Series drivers’ crown.

Gosia Rdest completed the top 10, which was ultimately separated by less than six tenths.

Session results:

Cla # Drivers Laps Time Gap
1 7 Finland Emma Kimilainen
12 1'34.758
2 27 United Kingdom Alice Powell
14 1'34.885 0.127
3 55 United Kingdom Jamie Chadwick
12 1'34.931 0.173
4 95 Netherlands Beitske Visser
13 1'34.939 0.181
5 26 United Kingdom Sarah Moore
13 1'35.100 0.342
6 20 Australia Caitlin Wood
15 1'35.111 0.353
7 31 South Africa Tasmin Pepper
13 1'35.255 0.497
8 5 Liechtenstein Fabienne Wohlwend
13 1'35.271 0.513
9 19 Spain Marta Garcia
15 1'35.308 0.550
10 3 Poland Gosia Rdest
13 1'35.329 0.571
11 21 United Kingdom Jessica Hawkins
13 1'35.345 0.587
12 11 Italy Vicky Piria
12 1'35.660 0.902
13 85 Japan Miki Koyama
13 1'35.723 0.965
14 37 United States Sabre Cook
13 1'35.884 1.126
15 2 United Kingdom Esmee Hawkey
14 1'35.893 1.135
16 99 South Africa Naomi Schiff
12 1'36.027 1.269
17 49 Canada Megan Gilkes
15 1'36.158 1.400
18 67 United States Shea Holbrook
11 1'36.355 1.597
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