After setting the fastest time of the morning session at Silverstone, Nico Rosberg maintained his hold on the top of the timesheets in the afternoon with Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen was second, 0.02s ahead of Sebastian Vettel.
Lewis Hamilton, meanwhile, finished in fourth place almost half a second down on his team-mate’s time, having made a mistake in the final sector of his low-fuel run.
The session saw its first incident after just 20 minutes when Romain Grosjean went off at Luffield, the Frenchman spinning his wheels hard in the gravel trap only to succeed in burying it deeper in the dirt.
The spin brought out the red flags but the stoppage was brief and when action resumed Red Bull’s Daniil Kvyat jumped into second place, on the hard tyres, his lap of 1:35.009 providing good enough to keep him in the top five right until the end of the session.
Rosberg was the first frontrunner to make the shift from the prime tyre to the option medium-compound tyre and he immediately claimed P1 with a lap of 1m34.155s, 0.367s up on Sebastian Vettel who was quickest at that point. It would be good enough to keep Rosberg at the top of the list for the remainder of the session.
Hamilton, though, was struggling with his car, claiming during his medium run that the “car was not in a good slot” and that it was “all over the place” during his long runs.
It was left to Raikkonen to take the fight to Rosberg and with half an hour remaining he closed to within four tenths of a second of the Mercedes driver.
With Vettel third ahead of Hamilton and Kvyat, sixth place went to the second Red Bull Racing car of Daniel Riccirado, with the Milton Keynes-based team enjoying a solid outing on day after enduring a torrid weekend of power unit penalties in Austria a fortnight ago.
After taking third and fifth places in the morning session, Toro Rosso again showed well in the afternoon with Max Verstappen seventh and Carlos Sainz Jr ninth. Force India’s Nico Hulkenberg split the Toro Rosso pairing in the revised Force India, which will make its race debut this weekend. Tenth place in the session went to Williams’ Felipe Massa.
Grosjean wasn’t the only driver to have an off in the session or the last to bring out the red flags. Soon after the Frenchman beached his Lotus at Luffield, McLaren’s Fernando Alonso went off at the same spot, though the Spaniard was able to edge his way out of the gravel trap and resume.
Manor’s Roberto Mehri wasn’t so lucky when he had his spin at the same corner. Coming to rest at the track edge he managed to select reverse but the red flags were already out to once again bring the session to a brief standstill. He eventually got going again when the marshals pushed him back on track.
2015 British Grand Prix – Free Practice 2 1 N Rosberg Mercedes 1:34.155 33 2 R Raikkonen Ferrari 1:34.502 +0.347 28 3 S Vettel Ferrari 1:34.522 +0.367 26 4 L Hamilton Mercedes 1:34.621 +0.466 22 5 D Kvyat Red Bull 1:35.009 +0.854 24 6 D Ricciardo Red Bull 1:35.153 +0.998 21 7 M Verstappen Toro Rosso 1:35.300 +1.145 35 8 N Hulkenberg Force India 1:35.387 +1.232 33 9 C Sainz Toro Rosso 1:35.866 +1.711 37 10 F Massa Williams 1:36.147 +1.992 32 11 P Maldonado Lotus 1:36.164 +2.009 32 12 V Bottas Williams 1:36.183 +2.028 32 13 S Perez Force India 1:36.351 +2.196 28 14 R Grosjean Lotus 1:36.728 +2.573 21 15 F Alonso McLaren 1:36.731 +2.576 18 16 F Nasr Sauber 1:36.822 +2.667 23 17 J Button McLaren 1:37.196 +3.041 16 18 M Ericsson Sauber 1:37.327 +3.172 36 19 W Stevens Manor 1:38.279 +4.124 21 20 R Merhi Manor 1:39.878 +5.723 20
Nico Rosberg set the fastest time of the opening practice session for the British Grand Prix, despite missing most of the session due to hydraulic problems.
The German stopped on track just 18 minutes into the session. He pulled over on the inside of the Becketts complex after being asked by his Mercedes team to stop the car. The car was recovered and Rosberg spent the bulk of the session in the garage. He reappeared six minutes before the end of running, and managed to outpace team-mate Lewis Hamilton by just seven hundredths of a second with a lap of 1:34.274. Rosberg only managed 11 laps in the session.
Up to that point, late in the session, Hamilton had dominated the session. After recovering from an early spin, the Briton went quickest with a lap of 1:35.536, and at the half hour mark led the field with a lap of 1:34.815. That was just under a second clear of Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen, with Rosberg third and Red Bull Racing’s Daniel Ricciardo fourth.
Hamilton eventually improved to a best lap of 1:34.344, which stood as the morning’s best until Rosberg reappeared, having undergone a gearbox change, and jumped to the top of the list.
Behind them, Toro Rosso's Max Verstappen was third quickest, albeit over a second behind Rosberg. Kimi Raikkonen was fourth, though the Ferrari driver’s session wasn’t without issue.
An hour into the session Raikkonen was told to make his way back to the garage as there was an MGU-H problem. He would reappear however and ended the session with a best time of 1:35.588.
Raikkonen was followed by the second Toro Rosso of Carlos Sainz, while Sebastian Vettel was sixth in the second Ferrari, ahead of the two Red Bulls of Daniel Ricciardo and Daniil Kvyat.
Nico Hulkenberg in the updated Force India and Felipe Massa in the Williams completed the top ten.
Williams Susie Wolff was the fastest of the three Friday drivers on track this morning. The Scot set finished in 13th place, with a best time of 1:37.242. That put here 2.968s down on Rosberg’s time. The Williams tester got through 19 laps, however, a better return than her appearance for the team here last when here car failed on its installation lap.
Wolff finished seven tenths of a second adrift of team-mate Felipe Massa but she was ahead of fellow testers Jolyon Palmer of Lotus and Raffaele Marciello of Sauber who were 14th and 15th respectively.
2015 British GP – Free Practice 1 1 N Rosberg Mercedes 1:34.274 12 2 L Hamilton Mercedes 1:34.344+0.070 26 3 M Verstappen Toro Rosso 1:35.530+1.256 18 4 K Raikkonen Ferrari 1:35.588+1.314 21 5 C Sainz Toro Rosso 1:35.669+1.395 33 6 S Vettel Ferrari 1:35.739+1.465 17 7 D Ricciardo Red Bull 1:35.818+1.544 26 8 D Kvyat Red Bull 1:35.876+1.602 22 9 N Hulkenberg Force India 1:36.157+1.883 28 10 F Massa Williams 1:36.469+2.195 23 11 F Nasr Sauber 1:36.855+2.581 20 12 S Perez Force India 1:36.889+2.615 26 13 S Wolff Williams 1:37.242+2.968 19 14 J Palmer Lotus 1:37.262+2.988 26 15 R Marciello Sauber 1:37.372+3.098 17 16 P Maldonado Lotus 1:38.080+3.806 8 17 F Alonso McLaren 1:38.222+3.948 12 18 J Button McLaren 1:38.860+4.586 10 19 W Stevens Manor 1:38.981+4.707 23 20 R Merhi Manor 1:40.477+6.203 23
The FIA World Rallycross Championship presented by Monster Energy will visit one of the most legendary venues of the season, the Volkswagen World RX of Sweden, this weekend (3-5 July). The iconic Holjes event has attracted the biggest entry of the season so far with a total of 89 cars including 35 Supercars. It is also the first time this year that all categories: Supercar; TouringCar; S1600 and the supporting RX Lites Cup will race in the same weekend.
This year’s Swedish RX round, which is held in the tiny village of Holjes in the heart of the Varmland region, is even more special as it marks the 40th anniversary of the first rallycross event at Holjes. Indeed, Sweden was the first of the Nordic countries to embrace rallycross, and remains the only country to have hosted an event in the European/FIA Championship since it began back in 1973. Last year’s event was won by EKS driver Mattias Ekstrom but reigning World RX Champion Petter Solberg continues to lead this year’s overall driver standings as he holds a 35 point lead over Johan Kristoffersson.
When asked about his Holjes RX victory last year, Ekstrom explained: “Last year was very special - to win with your own team, building the car together with the guys and doing it in only our third race. That victory was one of the best moments in my entire life and it always will be. I feel that Holjes is one of the tracks where my driving style and our car fits the best. We will keep our heads held high and promise a big show for our local fans this weekend.”
A total of 29 Swedish drivers will race on home turf including permanent World RX Supercar drivers Ekstrom, Kristoffersson, Timmy Hansen, Robin Larsson, Anton Marklund, Alx Danielsson and PG Andersson. Female driver Ramona Karlsson will race in her VW Scirocco that she uses to race in the FIA European Rallycross Championship, while Peter Hedstrom will also compete in a Skoda Fabia. Uncle and nephew duo Stig-Olov and Lukas Walfridson will pilot a pair of Renault Clio Supercars both prepared by Helmia Motorsport.
Finland’s Niclas Gronholm, son of double World Rally Champion Marcus, will make his Supercar debut at the wheel of an Olsbergs MSE built Ford Fiesta run by GronholmRX. Meanwhile, Ole Christian Veiby will compete in the Volkswagen Team Sweden Polo he uses to compete in Euro RX. Holjes will also mark the debut of the eagerly-anticipated Volkswagen Beetle which has been prepared by Eklund Motorsport and which will be driven by Norway’s Daniel Holten. The Beetle is only the second car in World RX to run an engine as part of the new-for-2015 custom engine regulations.
Team manager Eklund, who will also compete in Holjes with a Saab 9-3 Supercar, explained: “It’s great to be working with a driver like Daniel who has already proven his potential. We are confident that the Beetle is a brilliant base for a Supercar, the dimensions of it are really, really good. We are more motivated than ever and will push hard to continue the development, together with Daniel.” Since the previous World RX round at the Estering in Germany, several of the World RX Supercar drivers have been busy with other projects. SDRX driver Liam Doran attended the world-famous Festival of Speed at Goodwood where he drove his Citroen DS3 RX Supercar up the Hill and clocked a top-ten time. The 28-year-old British driver has joined Solberg for a pre-event test in Sweden this week.
It’s been a busy couple of weeks for EKS team-mates Ekstrom and Marklund as both drivers took part in the DTM and supporting Audi Sport TT Cup which was held at Norisring in south Germany. Ekstrom narrowly missed a podium spot in the second race finishing fourth while Marklund was forced to retire from his second race in the Audi TT Cup following an incident at turn one. Meanwhile, Ford Olsbergs MSE driver Reinis Nitiss has graduated from school back in his native Latvia with an honours diploma.
Portugal RX winner Kristofferson has continued his domination in the Porsche Carrera Cup Scandinavia, once again winning both races to make it six wins from six races. The 21-year-old Swede is now leading the Carrera Cup with a total of 72 points. Team Peugeot-Hansen’s Timmy Hansen has been getting race fit by riding his mountain bike alongside younger brother Kevin who will race in the RX Lites Cup this weekend. Sweden RX will form round four of this year’s supporting TouringCar and S1600 categories. Six Swedish drivers will compete on home soil including current series leader, Fredrik Salsten, and 16-year old Magda Andersson who finished second at the previous round in Germany. “It feels absolutely crazy to be going to race at Holjes at the World RX event,” explained Andersson, before admitting: “I find TouringCar very challenging, there are loads of talented and experienced drivers and I respect them all very much. If you had asked me if I thought we would lead a final this early, before the season had started, I would've definitely laughed. I very much didn’t expect these kind of results so early my TouringCar career.” Holjes will also mark the return of the highly-competitive RX Lites Cup which sees talented Swedes Kevin Eriksson and Kevin Hansen tied at the top of the standings with 55 points apiece after three rounds.
Martin Anayi, World RX Managing Director for IMG, concluded: “Holjes is a magical event and it’s the rallycross event that everyone wants to win. The track is very special too, complete with a jump that can see the cars travel up to 40 metres in the air. With all four categories competing this weekend and with nearly 90 cars taking part, the competition is set to be extremely fierce. Last year we had 35,000 spectators visit over the weekend and after Loheac, it’s our most well-attended event of the season. The Swedish RX round has been won by local drivers 17 times out of a possible 42 and with so many Swedes competing, it’s possible that we could witness another crowned this weekend. With only nine points separating Ford Olsbergs MSE, SDRX and Team Peugeot-Hansen in the Teams’ Championship, it’s going to be all to play for as we get ready to approach the season’s half-way point.”
From a Cooper Tire point of view.
Paul Coates, General Manager – Motorsport, Cooper Tire Europe spoke of the challenges of Sweden RX: “Holjes places some extreme forces on the tyres with a sixth gear straight and quick changes from gravel to asphalt, and the jumps. Jumps place huge forces on all parts of the car but especially so on the four Cooper rallycross tyres, but with the use of advanced materials and a specific construction, the tyre not only can take the force of landing but quickly takes the sudden braking and cornering forces as well.”
Friday 3 July
14:30 Drivers’ draw and World RX press conference
14:45 National RX Class
15:50 RX Lites open practice
16:45 National RX Class
17:40 RX Lites Heat 1
18:05 Final National RX Class
Saturday 4 July
09:20 Open practice, TouringCar & S1600
10:20 Open Practice, Supercars
11:20 RX Lites two lap warm-up
11:30 Official opening to the event
12:20 RX Heat 1 (all classes)
14:00 RX Heat 2 (all classes)
RX Heat 3 (S1600, Touring Car and RX Lites)
17:30 Autograph Session
Sunday 5 July
09:30 Warm up
11:00 RX Heat 3 Supercars
12:00 RX Heat 4 (all classes)
14:00 Semi-finals/finals (TouringCar & S1600)
15:20 RX Lites Semi-Final, S1600 Final and TouringCar Final
16:00 Semi-finals, Supercar
Final RX Lites
17:10 World RX press conference
About FIA World Rallycross Championship
The FIA World Rallycross Championship is head-to-head, short, sharp racing on mixed surfaces (dirt and asphalt) contained within amphitheatre venues. High profile drivers are equipped with RX Supercars with over 600bhp and the ability to accelerate from 0-60mph in less than two seconds.