Nilsson beats British Formula 1 stars Herbert, Blundell & company
A revival of the Formula 1 legends, numerous prominent spectators and enthusiastic fans – like last year, the Scirocco R-Cup offered top-caliber racing again at Brands Hatch.
The deserving winner in front of numerous big names from motorsport such as touring car ace Steve Soper, ex Formula 1 driver Julian Bailey, the legendary Top gear “Stig” Perry McCarthy was the Swede Ola Nilsson. In the Legends classification Johnny Herbert secured first place with a convincing performance.
The race at the fast 1.929-kilometre circuit started with a spectacular crash right on the first lap. Junior driver Thomas Schöffler, who had started from grid position three, spun in the third turn, Graham Hill Bend, and came to a halt in the opposite direction of traffic. In the group that followed Maiken Rasmussen was unable to avoid a collision. The race was stopped due to the accident, after which the young Dane was taken to a hospital as a precautionary measure.
When the race was re-started Jann-Hendrik Ubben was initially able to maintain his lead with a strong showing. But soon afterwards a leading trio formed, led by Ubben, followed by Ola Nilsson and Cup leader Mateusz Lisowski who fought some captivating duels. With an impressive overtaking maneuver in the notorious Paddock Hill Bend Nilsson managed to capture the lead shortly before race end and kept it up to seeing the checkered flag. For Nilsson, this was the second victory of the season after his exploit at the Norisring. In the overall standings Lisowski (288 points) continues to lead, now in front of Nilsson (247).
Three British Formula 1 legends in a battle against “007 James Bond” stunt driver
Over the remaining race distance of 24 laps the former Formula 1 racers Johnny Herbert, Mark Blundell and Tiff Needell and the three-time British Rally Champion and current stunt driver of the last James Bond films, Mark Higgins, then fought a fantastic battle in the near-275-hp bio natural gas Scirocco (80 per cent less CO2 emissions). The British motorsport legends treated the fans to many spectacular overtaking maneuvers. In the process, Johnny Herbert was able to take care of some special unfinished business by taking revenge for last year’s defeat against Mark Blundell and deciding the Legends classification in his favor by finishing the race in fifth place overall. Tiff Needell, who came 12th, made a strong showing as well. Mark Higgins and Mark Blundell completed the Legends classification in 19th and 22nd place.
Kris Nissen, Volkswagen Motorsport Director:
“First of all, I’m happy that Maiken Rasmussen was not injured in the accident at the beginning of the race. After the re-start we again saw a very thrilling and fair race with a lot of spectacular overtaking manoeuvres. Particularly here in England you can tell that the Legends like Johnny Herbert, Mark Blundell, Tiff Needell and Mark Higgins who competed this time are causing a lot of joy and enthusiasm among the spectators and in the paddock in our Scirocco R-Cup . The nice battle for victory fought by Ola Nilsson, Jann-Hendrik Ubben and Mateusz Lisowksi was thrilling as well.”
#56 – Tiff Needell (England)
Qualifying: 17th place – race 12th:“It was a great race and huge fun but afterwards I was really bushed. In terms of fitness the young drivers are clearly better than I am as an old man. Naturally, every one of us Legends wanted to beat the others – once a racer, always a racer. I’m pleased with my performance because I was able to clearly improve between the practice and the race in terms of lap times. And, after all, I advanced from 17th on the grid by five places.”
#55 – Mark Blundell (England)
Qualifying: 22nd place – race 22nd:“After my victory in the Legends classification last year things didn’t go as smoothly for me this time. One reason, no doubt, was the fact that I wasn’t able to do the free practice. It’s still been a fantastic weekend and driving here with my old rivals and friends like Johnny, Tiff and Mark is always tremendous fun.”
#54 – Johnny Herbert (England)
Qualifying: 9th place – race 5th:“It was a very thrilling and close race. Especially in the group of front runners we were all very close together. With a little luck I might have even made it on the podium. It was a typical Scirocco R-Cup race – spectacular and thanks to the push-to-pass system with great overtaking maneuvers. I’m already looking forward to next year.”
#57 – Mark Higgins (England)
Qualifying: 24th place – race 19th:“It’s been a great weekend, I really enjoyed running in the Scirocco Cup. It’s been 13 years that I last drove a Volkswagen race. As a rally driver you’re seldom involved in duels on the track, so the race was particularly good fun for me. At times there was more action on the track than during my stunts for the James Bond films with Daniel Craig.”
#23 – Ola Nilsson (Sweden)
Qualifying: 5th place – race 1st:“It was a fantastic race, I’m overjoyed. Overall, the season has been going superbly for me. The fight between the three of us at the front was extremely close. Thanks to the push-to-pass trial which I saved for the end I was fortunately able to take the race home.”
#16 – Jann-Hendrik Ubben (Germany)
Qualifying: 1st place – race 2nd:“Naturally, I’d have liked to win the race here at Brands Hatch but Ola was simply consistently quicker today – he’s the deserving winner. The situation in the duel with Mateusz got pretty close again towards the end but I tried as best I could to close the door. Fortunately, that worked out all the way to the finish.”