W Series title battle goes down to the wire
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Assen, Netherlands - Britain's Jamie Chadwick and Dutch rival Beitske Visser will fight for the inaugural all-female W Series title at the final race of the season at Brands Hatch next month after Finnish driver Emma Kimilainen won at Assen on Saturday.
Championship leader Chadwick finished third in the season's penultimate round at the Dutch circuit to move 13 points clear of Visser, who was a close fourth.
The result means Chadwick will take the title, and the $500 000 (R6.98m) winner's prize, if she finishes her home race in the top three.
Kimilainen, who had missed the last two rounds at Zolder and Misano on health grounds following a collision in the opening round at Hockenheim, started on pole but made a slow getaway with Britain's Alice Powell leading into the first corner.
The safety car was then deployed after South African driver Tasmin Pepper spun and collected an unfortunate Miki Koyama, with both drivers retiring.
Visser overtook Australian driver Caitlin Wood with 18 minutes to go, meaning Chadwick had to win to seal the championship with a race in hand.
Kimilainen made sure that did not happen by taking advantage of a mistake by Powell at turn one and pulling away to become the fourth different winner in five races.
Visser pressed Chadwick hard in the final stages but ultimately ran out of time.
"I want to dedicate this to the doctors that helped me," said Kimilainen. "They have made an amazing job, to get me from the bottom of the bed up to here, winning a race. Incredible."
While it was a disappointing weekend for Tasmin Pepper the South African did bounce back on Sunday’s non-championship race, where she moved through the field from 12th place (in the reverse order grid) to sixth place, according to Motorsport Media. Pepper is currently 9th in the championship.