Alice Powell proud of British showing in W Series opener

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Alice Powell had a perfect opening weekend of the W Series (Picture: Penny Harrison)
Alice Powell had a perfect opening weekend of the W Series (Picture: Penny Harrison)

A British top-two in the opening race of the W Series was proof positive of the huge female talent pool in the country, said winner Alice Powell writes Rachel Steinberg.

The Oxfordshire native, 28, had pole position heading into the race at Red Bull Ring in Austria on Saturday, sharing the front row with best friend Sarah Moore.

Powell held on, edging out Moore by 0.743 seconds to claim top of the podium in 32:07.801, with Liechtenstein’s Fabienne Wohlwend rounding out the top three.

“It’s great to share the front row with one of my best mates,” said Powell.

“We’ve known each other, she’s probably going to say for too long. We go back since we were 14, 15 racing in Ginetta Juniors, so we’ve known each other a long time.

“It’s great to have a strong showing of Brits in the championship. It does a lot of good for British motorsport.

“Obviously after the next round in Austria we’ve got the British Grand Prix, so that’s one that I’m really, really looking forward to.

“They announced that we’ve got full capacity there for that weekend, it’s going to be extra special.

“We’re all trying to win, but obviously you want to win your home Grand Prix so I know that every single Brit on this grid is going to be pushing extra hard for that one.”

The opener also marked the first race in the W Series’ historic partnership with F1, in which the all-female single seater competition will be on the support bill for eight Grand Prix this season.

And earlier this week, a new team structure was introduced, alongside new sponsors. Saturday’s Austrian race marked the beginning of what organisers called an “unofficial team championship” and points system with aims of future formalisation.

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Powell was still shocked by the result of the race, which saw reigning champion Jamie Chadwick land seventh, rallying back from P16 after an early collision with fellow Brit Jessica Hawkins in turn one.

“I didn’t expect this to be honest,” said Powell. “I made sure that my prep was good, physically and mentally in learning the circuit because I’d never been here before.

“It seems to have gone down pretty well, and to have a weekend like I have is incredible, and I just need to make sure that I keep the consistency.

“We’re back here again next week, so I’ll just need to focus on myself and make sure I keep improving.”

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Powell also works as a coach for young British drivers like 18-year-old Abbi Pulling, who is competing in the F4 British Championship this year and is a W Series reserve driver.

Almost as soon as Powell’s W Series podium had sunk in, she wondered about her mentee, who was racing at Brands Hatch this afternoon.

“I’ve been on the phone to Abbi a few times today, and all the previous few days as well.

“As soon as I got back here I instantly said to someone ‘where did Abbi finish?’ so I heard that she snatched P3 on the line in the reverse grid race.

“I’m really proud of her, haven’t spoken to her yet but really enjoying working with her as well.

“She’s a talent that’s going to be coming through the W Series ranks for sure.”

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