Powell powers to 2021 W Series pole in Styria, Moore joins her on front row

Alice Powell headed an all-British front row for the 2021 W Series Styrian opener – partnered by Acronis – by claiming the first pole position of her series career, pipping compatriot Sarah Moore by less than two tenths of a second to the prime starting spot.

In grabbing pole, Powell starts in the best possible position to make it two W Series race wins in succession, the Brit having won the last of the W Series races in Brands Hatch before the global COVID-19 pandemic caused the cancellation of the 2020 series.

“It’s been a crazy and very long build-up to this first race after winning the last race of 2019 at Brands Hatch nearly 700 days ago,” said Powell. β€œI’ve been working so hard to make sure I was ready on the fitness side and the mental side, and I hope I can keep that up tomorrow and finish first again.

β€œI knew there was a chance of rain during qualifying, so the plan was to do 10 minutes on the old tyres before coming in for fresh ones, but we shortened that by five minutes as I knew it was going to take more time to get the tyres working and I didn’t want to rush that process. We got there in the end, and I was really consistent. Now I need to make sure I do the same again tomorrow.”

With Powell having also topped the earlier practice session, she is certainly already the driver to beat, although she faces a stiff challenge from Moore, Spanish debutant Belen Garcia and 2019 runner-up and W Series Esports League champion Beitske Visser.

“I’ve surprised myself by finishing second to be honest,” commented Moore. β€œI didn’t finish the 2019 season too well, but I’ve put in so much work over the past 18 months. I just wanted to keep a cool head this weekend and to qualify second at the first race hopefully sets me up well for the rest of the year. I was cool, calm and collected – I tend to work better when I’m in that mindset – and I just tried not to overthink it too much.

β€œI did some laps in qualifying where I was probably trying too hard, but I think everyone does that. Maybe this new helmet is a lucky one! Obviously, all the work that went into getting that helmet makes it very special to me and I can’t thank everyone who helped me enough – this result is for all of you.”

With the W Series supporting Formula One’s Styrian Grand Prix, all eyes will be on the breakthrough single-seat series for female drivers only. And despite defending champion Chadwick having her work cut out when the lights go green after the culmination of F1 qualifying, she is sure to still have a big say in how the race unfolds.

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Motorsport Technology