Emma Kimilainen wins WSeries Race 5- remarkable achievement given out for Race 2 and 3 due to injury in Race 1

Emma Kimilainen wins WSeries Race 5- remarkable achievement given out for Race 2 and 3 due to injury in Race 1

‘I didn’t race at Zolder. It was a difficult decision to make, but I know in my heart we made the right decision. As an athlete it’s hard to describe the disappointment because lots of feelings are involved and you are always prepared to give your absolutely everything to compete’.

Emma Kimilainen is one remarkable athlete-racer-driver and Woman. Role model and inspiration for all young aspiring Women athletes proving no matter what circumstances are thrown each and every way- drive, self-belief, confidence and conviction paves the way forward to achieve goals.

Emma Kimilainen WSeries Race 5 Assen 1st Photo Credit: WSeries

And Emma achieved much wanted success standing top of podium of WSeries Race 5 at Assen TT circuit on July 19-20th. Taking pole position in Qualifying then defying all odds that the single seater race driver could come-back from injury and win the race, along with setting fastest lap- was truely stunning.

After gaining selection to race WSeries end of March 2019, Emma knew what this opportunity meant:

#7: ‘I believe that no matter the gender, talent exists all over the world, but opportunities do not. Especially not the ones in the world of motorsport that aren’t somehow related to a financial background. W Series is a huge opportunity for all of us who are involved. Now the real journey begins. The target is set, to win’.

With such determined and excited passion to get out and race, it was massive disappointment when Emma was involved in first race incident at Race 1 of WSeries at Hockenheim which put the spirited fighter out for next 2 Races. And, that is hard, knowing what the opportunity means to her professional career path, knowing that injury was going to take time to heal, and knowing that end-of-day Emma was capable of clocking winning lap times over her WSeries rivals.

Emma Kimilainen WSeries Photo Credit: WSeries

Then, no surprise that Emma’s main goal coming into WSeries Race 5 at Assen was: #7: ‘My main focus was to win that race. To finally show my full potential as a racing driver and an athlete’.

In upper realms of character, instinct kicks in when most needed, when factors out of drivers control like ability of other drivers to push for up-front position can be out manoeuvred by sheer gut feeling.

Emma knew ‘”from the first free practice session I knew I had the speed to win and, after a bad start, I was soon looking for a good moment to take back the lead”‘.

#7: ‘It’s about knowing what I’m capable of and where I have been in the field during the pre-season testing + in Hockenheim and Zolder. I also knew that Assen is going to fit my driving style extra well as it is a very fast track’.

‘I had been racing there 11 years ago in Formula Masters ADAC and I was on the podium then as well so I had a good feeling about the track even though I could not remember at all how it goes. So basically I learnt it as a new track like many others did’.

However, it is one thing to know a track, to like the layout, knowing it will suit racing style- being fast, technical, physically demanding or just plain hard going. And, it is another to actually prove what a driver is capable of when they are standing 11th in points table and have missed 2 of 6 Races to boot.

Emma Kimilainen WSeries Photo Credit: WSeries

As WSeries Race Director Dave Ryan says: ‘“What we saw from Emma this afternoon was indeed skill and courage. She drove superbly – winning from pole and taking fastest lap as she did so – but, more than that, she’s shown great fortitude in coming back from injury to demonstrate to us all just how good she is”‘.

At home, patiently waiting for time to tick over to heal body, is not easy for any athlete. And, it’s not just physical injury that requires recuperation, mentally, watching from side of race-track, far removed from drivers seat can take it’s toll on self-esteem. How did Emma cope, when after hearing of WSeries selection, life had been geared to race WSeries 6 Races?

#7: ‘I was waiting really patiently and calmly to heal. I knew my time would come. I believe there’s no point to stress about things you can’t control. I did everything I could to make the recovery process succeed faster, which meant that I was laying in bed and sleeping a lot’.

‘I was lucky to get world class medical care from Hintsa Performance doctors in Finland. First it seemed like there’s no other cure but time, but because of the doctors’ dedication, we finally found the right cure before Norisring race. The injury was medically pretty demanding’.

Emma Kimilainen WSeries Race 4 Norisring Photo Credit: Emma

‘I’m so grateful for these people as well as my husband and extended family who supported me during the time. I couldn’t participate in our every-day life as an active mother which I usually am’.

‘But I knew all the time that I’ll come back to racing, if not this year, then next year, and I’ll have the chance to prove my potential. I believe that when the base in life is built stable and you are happy, small changes like this in the wind won’t destabilise your life. I love racing and it’s my passion but my identity is built on many other things too’.

With small window of opportunity to get back into race mode before WSeries Race 4 at Norisring, Germany on July 5-6th, Emma drew upon solid physical base to compete finishing remarkable P5 on race-day.

#7: I finished P5. Usually I prepare keeping my physical condition high and sometimes I may go to drive some karting. But before Norisring I had actually not done anything at all for 2 months. Luckily I had a good physical base condition so the driving felt normal after all’.

‘Luckily for me the track was not so physical either. But for driving itself I don’t really need any preparations. I know what I’m doing and I switch really quickly to different cars and track conditions, which is probably due to the long experience I have because I started racing at the age of 3’.

Emma Kimilainen test track at Almeria Photo Credit: WSeries

Having pulled off all important win at WSeries Race 5 and currently standing 6th in Championship, Emma is grateful for the whole experience racing WSeries. From selection process, to rising to challenges of injury, to embracing learning new areas of race technology to actual improvement during racing.

#7: ‘The selection process was nice. I liked it a lot because it was fun and challenging. I learnt new things. I met bunch of great new people. We got to drive in different conditions, I got plenty of useful data on my physical and mental conditions of myself and I got selected so I’m happy about that’.

‘I think everything was professionally organised and all of the areas they tested were useful to myself as well. In my opinion W Series is a great opportunity for me and for everyone involved. It’s the most professional and equal racing environment and Series that I’ve been involved during my career’.

‘It’s a huge asset to my career and personal life that we drivers have access to the best medical and physical knowledge via Hintsa Performance plus that we have so many racing, media and business gurus involved. Not to mention the prize money which is very unique in racing. It gives many of the drivers the chance to be a professional athlete instead of working from 8am to 4pm every day because you can use the money as you wish. So I feel really privileged to be involved’.

For Emma, who has already established racing career climbing through ranks from Karting through to single seaters- Formula Ford, Radical, Formula Masters ADAC and Formula Palmer Audi racing series before switching over to touring cars in the Scandinavian Touring Car Championship- character to race for the win remains priority.

Emma Kimilainen Photo Credit: Emma

#7: ‘I must admit that I’m really determined, I work hard to achieve my goals and I never seem to give up. I also trust myself and my talent but I have the hunger to improve in every aspect in life’.

‘But at the moment in racing I must say that joy pushes me the most. The motivation comes from the feeling that I get when I’m driving. It may sound a cliché but it’s like becoming one with the car’.

To feel everything that is happening in the car, in your body and in your mind, and to be able to analyse all the information at the same time and to think how to go even faster, is just really fascinating. It’s a feeling I can’t get from anywhere else’.

‘I must admit there’s also a perfectionist living inside of me. I can luckily channel all of it to the racing track when I’m chasing the perfect lap after perfect lap. Otherwise I’m really laid back person. :)’.

With Final WSeries Race 6 at Brands Hatch, UK on August 10-11th, Emma’s goals are for the win.

#7: ‘My goal is to win, as always. But it’s going to be tough. There’s plenty of really talented (also UK based) drivers in WSeries and they know the tricks of the track really well. I’ve raced in Brands Hatch 10 years ago in Formula Palmer Audi but when I drove it in the simulator, it felt as a completely new track for me. But I’ve been on the podium there so I have a good feeling about it’.

‘And racing 2019 W Series, it’s been definitely worth everything so far and I’m sure it will continue to give me lot of new experiences and knowledge, but most importantly, joy’.

Words: Sharon Cox.

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