Back on track after the mid-season break, W Series has arrived at the Norisring, Germany’s only remaining street circuit. Short and fast, with wide straights leading to narrow hairpins, at 1.4 miles (2.3km) long, the Norisring is the shortest circuit on the racing calendar.
Making a confident return after missing the past two races, Emma Kimilainen (FIN) came back fighting, finishing eighth in FP1 and fifth in FP2. But the fastest lap overall was set by Gosia Rdest (POL), who came out on top for the first time this season with a lap time of 50.983sec in FP2, 0.011sec ahead of second-placed Beitske Visser (NLD).
An accident at Turn One towards the end of FP1 between Alice Powell (UK) and Esmee Hawkey (UK) brought out the red flag and meant an early finish to the session. Alice was taken to the circuit medical centre with a painful wrist, before being transferred to a local clinic for an x-ray. The x-ray confirmed that there were no fractures and she was given the all-clear to take part in FP2, in which she clocked a fastest lap time of 51.396sec. However, extensive damage to Esmee’s car as a result of the impact meant that she was unable to take part in FP2.
A second red flag came out during FP2 after Miki Koyama (JPN) hit the wall in Turn Two. But with the entire grid separated by less than a second, we are set for another exhilarating day of racing tomorrow.
Dave Ryan, W Series Racing Director said:
“The Norisring is a quirky little circuit, very short at only 1.4 miles [2.3km] and consisting of only four genuine corners. Nonetheless, it’s a tricky place to drive fast, owing to the bumpy surface and the unyielding barriers that mark the track limits all the way around.
“Credit is therefore due to our drivers for negotiating it today for the most part without mishap, the twin exceptions to that being the coming-together between Alice and Esmee this morning and Miki’s ‘off’ this afternoon. Equally impressive is the fact that just 0.949sec covered all 19 drivers in FP2, clearly demonstrating the strength in depth all the way through the field.
“Tomorrow morning’s qualifying will be crucial, as always, and traffic will likely be a problem on such a short circuit. The key will be getting a clear lap when both car and track will be at their fastest, which will inevitably be at the end of the session.”
Catherine Bond Muir, W Series Chief Executive Officer said:
“In blazing sunshine here at Norisring, near Nuremberg [Bavaria], Gosia posted the fastest lap time of the day, scorching around the 1.4-mile [2.3km] street circuit in an impressive 50.983sec, one of only two drivers to dip below the 51sec mark, the other being Beitske, as consistently quick here as ever.
“Gosia has never topped a W Series session before, so her success was great to see. Also on the pace were Fabienne [Wohlwend] and Jess [Hawkins], respectively third- and fourth-quickest, while Emma showed great strength of character to come back so strongly after her two-race lay-off owing to injury, driving the fifth-quickest lap.
“Finally, Alice deserves great credit for her plucky performance this afternoon, 10th-quickest despite the fact that her wrist was still troubling her after her accident with Esmee in this morning’s session.”
Full Free Practice results can be found here.