Alice Powell won a dramatic 2021 W Series opener at the Red Bull Ring from pole position – nearly 700 days after she won the final race of the inaugural season – finishing ahead of Sarah Moore and Fabienne Wohlwend who completed the podium.
Powell, driving for the Racing X team, led from lights-to-flag – shrugging off a late Safety Car restart for Marta Garcia's DNF – and took the Fastest Lap at the Styrian Grand Prix venue. Astonishingly, Powell also finished first in Friday's practice session.
Scuderia W's Moore took second place having started there, while Wohlwend of Bunker Racing finished third from ninth on the grid, after late incidents saw her fly up the field.
Reigning champion Jamie Chadwick (Veloce) qualified eighth with a turbo issue, found her way to fifth by the first lap, but fell down the field after contact with Powell's Racing X team mate Jess Hawkins. Chadwick recovered to seventh in the late restart, Hawkins finishing fifth – behind rookie Belen Garcia.
The biggest movers were Academy driver Nerea Marti, who made it up from P16 to P8 and Gosia Rdest, who rounded out the top 10 for the last point, having started 18th.
2019 runner-up Beitske Visser (M Forbes Motorsport) ran as high as third but spun after contact with Emma Kimilainen (Ecurie W) a lap after the Safety Car restart and finished 13th – ahead of Kimilainen, who had a damaged front wing.
Round 2 of W Series follows on July 3 in support of the Formula 1 Austrian Grand Prix with Powell the woman to beat, having taken all 25 points on offer today.