AudiBlog.nl

Audi driver Ekström aims to set record in Belgium

•Mattias Ekström overall leader after three victories in World RX
•World Champion may make history with fourth consecutive success at Mettet
•Ekström: “We haven’t always been the fastest but the hard work paid off so far”

For Audi and EKS there is no time to take a breather in the FIA World Rallycross Championship at the moment. Just one week after its visit to the Hockenheimring as part of the DTM season opener, the World RX campaign will be stopping at Mettet from May 12 to 14. Mattias Ekström is traveling to Belgium as the overall leader.
Following his third victory in the third race, the Rallycross World Champion has a clear aim: his next win. The Swede would be making history that way because no driver has ever mounted the top of the podium in the World RX four times in a row. “Looking at the results to date, we have absolutely no reason to complain,” says Ekström. “We haven’t always been the fastest but the hard work of my team has consistently paid off so far. At Hockenheim, we partied a little on Sunday but on Monday we immediately went back into racing mode. At Mettet, we’re going to race with full batteries.”

From a sporting perspective, the Circuit Jules Tacheny is the favorite track of the EKS campaigners. In 2016, Ekström secured the winner’s trophy in the Audi S1 EKS RX quattro. His teammate Toomas Heikkinen won there in a Volkswagen Polo in 2014 and 2015. “I really like the track,” says Heikkinen. “The layout differs from the other circuits – technically, it’s rather challenging, with fast zigzag turns, slow hairpin turns and a jump into the valley.” Plus, there is the narrow first turn in which a number of drivers have had to bury their hopes for front positions in the tire wall before. Ekström can tell a thing or two about it. “In 2015, I was bumped by another car after the start and took the tire wall with me, which caused the hood to open. I had zero vision and was forced to retire.”

In addition to Ekström and Heikkinen, who with EKS are trailing PSRX Volkswagen Sweden in second place of the teams standings, Reinis Nitišs will be on the grid in the third Audi S1 EKS RX quattro. In his 560-HP supercar, the Latvian is aiming to make it into his second final with EKS. “Confidence in my car keeps growing with every race and the track at Mettet not only suits Mattias and Topi,” emphasizes the EKS newcomer. “In 2015, I finished third in Belgium and my goal is to take home a trophy again this year.”

About Mettet RX

Track Circuit Jules Tacheny, 80 km southeast of Brussels in Wallonia
Track length 1.031 km (joker lap: 1.102 km)
Surface 61% tarmac, 39% gravel
Turns 6 left, 6 right
Top speed approx. 171 km/h
Entries 24 supercars
Lap record Mattias Ekström (S), 38.416s (2016)
Winner 2016 Mattias Ekström (S), 3m 58.967s
Race duration 4 laps (qualifying), 6 laps (semi-finals and final)
Schedule, local time (CEST)

Friday, May 12
17:25–18:25 Free practice 1
Saturday, May 13
09:30–10:30 Free practice 2
11:00–12:30 Qualifying 1 (Q1)
13:40–15:10 Qualifying 2 (Q2)
Sunday, May 14
10:00–11:00 Qualifying 3 (Q3)
12:00–13:00 Qualifying 4 (Q4)
15:00–15:50 Semi-finals and final


Gerelateerd nieuws