Hattrick! Audi and Ekström rock Hockenheim
•Mattias Ekström wins round three in World Rallycross Championship too
•Swede remains unbeaten in the 2017 season and extends overall lead
•Ekström: “My team has done another great job”
Mattias Ekström and his Team EKS remain the measure of all things in the 2017 FIA World Rallycross Championship. In round three of the season at the Hockenheimring, the reigning world champion was again not to be beaten. In difficult weather conditions, the Swede, shortly before the DTM qualifying session for race two, prevailed against his compatriots Johan Kristoffersson and Timmy Hansen in a gripping final. In the drivers’ classification, Ekström has extended his lead. In the teams’ classification, world champions EKS continue to trail Team PSRX Volkswagen Sweden in second place.
At the Hockenheimring, Ekström continued last year’s success with a forceful drive. “Winning here at Hockenheim, in front of the many DTM and rallycross fans, is an incredible feeling,” said Ekström with a big grin on his face. For a long time it did not seem like the Swede would be able to celebrate another success. Although Ekström and his teammates, Reinis Nitišs and Toomas Heikkinen, had again qualified for the semi-final of the twelve best drivers, positions four, eleven and twelve were not a good starting base.
“On Friday and Saturday, we had a few problems keeping pace with the competition,” said Ekström. “Unfortunately, due to my double commitment in the World RX and the DTM, I wasn’t able to spend a lot of time with the team and to help getting a handle on these issues. But the guys burned the midnight oil from Thursday on and did another fantastic job.” In drizzling rain on an extremely slippery track, Heikkinen completed the good team result clinched by EKS.
In the drivers’ standings, after three of twelve rounds of the season, Ekström is in the top spot with 85 points, his advantage over runner-up Kristoffersson now amounting to 16 points. Audi and EKS will continue racing in the World Rallycross Championship next weekend with round four of the season to be held at Mettet in Belgium on May 13 and 14. Ekstöm has fondest memories of the Circuit Jules Tacheny. Last year, the world champion won on the track in Wallonia that poses great technical challenges.
2017 FIA World RX – round 3, Hockenheim – final results
1 Mattias Ekström (S) 6m 04.066s
2 Johan Kristoffersson (S) +0.708s
3 Timmy Hansen (S) +2.501s
4 Petter Solberg (N) +5.296s
5 Sébastien Loeb (F) +6.352s
6 Toomas Heikkinen (FIN) +6.823s
2017 FIA World RX drivers’ standings (after 3 of 12 rounds)
1 Mattias Ekström (S) 85 points
2 Johan Kristoffersson (S) 69 points
3 Petter Solberg (N) 62 points
4 Sébastien Loeb (F) 48 points
5 Timmy Hansen (S) 47 points
2017 FIA World RX teams’ standings (after 3 of 12 rounds)
1 PSRX Volkswagen Sweden 131 points
2 EKS 114 points
3 Team Peugeot Hansen 95 points