Styria W Series: Powell takes lights-to-flag win in opener

Alice Powell took her second W Series win in a dramatic season-opening race at the Red Bull Ring, leading lights-to-flag to take back-to-back victories.

The Brit, who won the 2019 season finale at Brands Hatch and finished third in the drivers' standings, started as she meant to go on in her Racing X-sponsored car with a decisive victory in Austria at the first race of the season.

In a race peppered with collisions and spins, Powell held onto the lead, winning ahead of compatriot Sarah Moore, driving for Scuderia W, who started in second.

Fabienne Wohlwend (Bunker Racing) completed the podium, her second in the championship, after starting in ninth, while rookie Belen Garcia finished fourth.

Reigning champion Jamie Chadwick, who started eighth after a cracked carbon pipe scuppered her qualifying, fought her way back through the field after a second lap shunt to finish seventh.

Ayla Agren (M Forbes Motorsport) stalled on the grid, but the action got off to a smooth start.

But at Turn 1 of the second lap, Chadwick was hit from behind by Racing X’s Jess Hawkins, and although she did not suffer any damage, ended up at the back of the pack.

By lap 5, second-placed Moore was under increasing pressure from Garcia, with Beitske Visser (M Forbes Motorsport) also closing in as the tussle for second continued.

But Garcia went off in lap 12, forcing her to go the long way round back onto the track and rejoining the action in eighth.

One lap later, Marta Garcia slowed on track with an issue in her Puma-sponsored car and stopped to the side of the track, prompting a full safety car on lap 14 with less than 10 minutes to go, bunching up the pack.

The safety car ended at the end of lap 16, allowing Chadwick to continue to make up places to tenth.

Visser, who had been running in third, was spun around at Turn 1 after contact with Ecurie W’s Emma Kimilainen and dropped back to last place, while Kimilainen moved into her place, albeit with a damaged front wing.

That damage led her to fall back, allowing Wohlwend to pass her into third, while Abbie Eaton (Ecurie W) also spun after contact.

By Lap 19, Chadwick had moved up into eighth, passing Nerea Marti, before making it into seventh the following lap.

Kimilainen’s damaged front wing continued to cause her problems, eventually flying off her car on Lap 20.

Powell now leads the championship into the second round, which takes place in support of the Formula 1 Austrian Grand Prix next weekend.

Styria W Series - Race results:

Pos.  No. Driver  Entrant   Gap
27 Alice Powell Racing X 20 laps
26 Sarah Moore Scuderia W 0.743
5 Fabienne Wohlwend Bunker Racing 6.609
22 Belén García Scuderia W 7.224
21 Jessica Hawkins Racing X 10.387
54 Miki Koyama Sirin Racing 10.707
55 Jamie Chadwick Veloce Racing 11.265
32 Nerea Martí W Series Academy 11.666
51 Irina Sidorkova W Series Academy 12.159
10  3 Gosia Rdest Puma W Series Team 13.727
11  17 Ayla Agren M. Forbes Motorsport 15.352
12  97 Bruna Tomaselli Veloce Racing 16.685
13  95 Beitske Visser M. Forbes Motorsport 18.429
14  7 Emma Kimiläinen Ecurie W 18.817
15  37 Sabré Cook Bunker Racing 19.198
16  44 Abbie Eaton Ecurie W 27.915
17  11 Vicky Piria Sirin Racing 3 laps
Ret  19 Marta Garcia Puma W Series Team 8 laps

Styria W Series: Powell takes maiden pole ahead of Moore

W Series Austria: Reigning champion Chadwick heads practice