Ekstrom and Audi on top in Silverstone RX testing

Mattias Ekstrom’s EKS Audi Sport team was fastest in both wet and dry conditions at the second and final official World Rallycross Championship pre-season test at Silverstone this week.

Running its 2018-spec S1 Supercar in public for the second time, having revealed the car at the Loheac World RX test earlier this month, Ekstrom was joined by new team-mate Andreas Bakkerud – the pair alternating in a car.

With the test split into four sessions over Monday and Tuesday, only once did the EKS squad not top the order.

Newcomer GCK set the pace on Monday morning with the brand new Prodrive-built Renault Megane RS RX, in the hands of European Championship event-winner Jerome Grosset-Janin, with a time of 42.792 seconds.

But as the loose surface sections of the new Silverstone circuit cleaned in the afternoon, it was Ekstrom who set a new benchmark – 1.191s faster than Grosset-Janin’s time.

Having raced in the British Rallycross Championship opener at the same circuit a week earlier alongside team-mate Sebastien Loeb, Peugeot driver Timmy Hansen was second fastest at the end of day one, just 0.266s shy of Ekstrom’s time, with Bakkerud third (+0.458s), Kevin Eriksson in an Olsbergs MSE Ford Fiesta fourth (+0.621s) and reigning World RX champion Johan Kristofferson fifth (+0,622) driving Volkswagen Motorsport’s 2018 Polo R Supercar.

Wet conditions greeted the teams on Tuesday and Ekstrom was again fastest in the morning session, but with a time almost 1.5s slower than his previous best.

Petter Solberg posted the second best lap, 0.419s adrift, while Guerlain Chicherit was third in a strong debut public outing for the Megane.

Although the conditions dried for the afternoon running, the Northamptonshire circuit remained slippery, with Bakkerud topping the table on a 44.807s, some way short of the best times set on Monday.

Double DTM champion Ekstrom was pleased by more than just the performance of EKS’s new car.

“Testing is testing but I always believe that feeling is feeling,” he told Autosport.

“If you feel great in the car, you feel great in the team, you see some good work and good progress, you see that each individual in the team does a good job and you bring a lot of ideas to a test and execute them according to plan, then it is good.

“We have some new individuals in the team so for us it’s not only the times that make me most happy, it’s that we have a new group of people starting to work well together.”

Ekstrom and Bakkerud completed a total of 136 laps at Silverstone.

“We’ve been trying everything, but everybody had the same chance [with the changeable track conditions],” Ekstrom added.

“We ran on slicks and wets, we’ve been trying everything we can to learn more, to adapt the car more.

“The biggest gain for us is just to drive the car because we’ve had so few days driving with our new car. We need every kilometre we can get.”

Asked how much of a step his Audi-backed squad has taken with its new 2018 car, Ekstrom replied: “I’m 1000% sure [the car is quicker], the question is just by how much.”

A notable absentee from the test was Marcus Gronholm’s GRX squad, but the team has begun testing its new WRC-derived Hyundai i20 Supercars behind closed doors.

Recent news

Column

Who I have my money on for the BTCC title

By Matt James

Rallying News

Citroen: Meeke was 'not under control'

Citroen World Rally team principal Pierre Budar felt Kris Meeke was out of control and left...

Karting: The secrets to PF International

As part of our special investigation into the world of karting, we got former karting star and...

Racing News

BTCC driver Moffat quits TCR UK

British Touring Car Championship driver Aiden Moffat has exited the TCR UK championship, with...

Racing News

Historic FFord driver saved from fiery crash

Historic Formula Ford driver Nelson Rowe credited two spectators and a competitor for saving...

Rallying News

Citroen: C3 design saved Meeke in crash

Citroen team principal Pierre Budar believes the design of the manufacturer's C3 World Rally...

Rallying News

Triple ERC champion makes WRC2 move

Reigning three-time European Rally champion Kajetan Kajetanowicz will move into the World Rally...

Column

Silverstone's rallycross adventure

By Matt James

Taking on the European karting scene

The international karting paddock has witnessed its fair share of talented British drivers in...

Rallying News

Electric Mitsubishi rally car being developed

Swedish outfit Mpart has started developing an electric Mitsubishi rally car built around R5...

Rallying News

New WRC GB route a missed opportunity - Evans

Last year's Rally GB winner Elfyn Evans feels the revamped route for Wales' 2018 World Rally...

Rallying News

Rally seeding rules relaxed

Two-wheel drive and historic rally cars will be able to run first on the road on rally events...

Rallying News

MN Road Rally legends to attend Speed and Rally Show forum

Legends of the Motoring News Road Rally Championship will attend a forum at this weekend’s...

Rallying News

New push to get privateers back in WRC

World Rally Championship organisers are mounting a new push to get privateers back in the series'...

Rallying News

Toyota rules out team orders to boost Tanak

Toyota team principal Tommi Makinen has ruled out making Ott Tanak a clear number one and imposing...

Exploring karting's family tree

It’s commonly defined by professional racing drivers as the purest form of motorsport. It’s...

Rallying News

Kelly to make surprise Killarney return

Manus Kelly will make a surprise visit to the International Rally of the Lakes in Killarney...

Rallying News

Rally GB to unveil major route revamp

A significantly different route for Rally GB 2018, Britain's World Rally Championship round,...

Rallying News

Rovanpera hospitalised after Argentina crash

Kalle Rovanpera was hospitalised for checks after crashing out of the Rally Argentina WRC2 lead...

Rallying News

Ford sets out conditions for works RX return

Ford wants to see how the future of rallycross develops amid changes in America and plans for...

Racing News

Ingram takes victory in Donington Race 2

Tom Ingram became the first two-time winner in this season's British Touring Car Championship...

Racing News

Cook claims maiden BTCC victory

Josh Cook has broken his victory duck in the British Touring Car Championship, taking his Power...

1 2 3 52

More national news, in-depth race reports and analysis. Subscribe to the Motorsport News paper today.

What’s On

This weekend

No Events

Later

No Events

This weekend

No Events

Later

No Events

X