MATTIAS EKSTRÖM SECOND WIN IN A ROW THIS SEASON IN PORTUGAL - Catalunya RX Rally Cross

Sweden’s Mattias Ekstrom has won Bompiso World RX of Portugal, round two of the FIA World Rallycross Championship presented by Monster Energy.  It is the second victory in a row for Ekstrom and sees the EKS driver extend his lead in the overall driver standings by 14 points over second-placed Johan Kristoffersson.

Team Peugeot-Hansen’s Sebastien Loeb finished runner-up this weekend, while PSRX Volkswagen Sweden’s Kristoffersson took the third podium spot.  In the teams’ championship, PSRX Volkswagen Sweden continue to lead the standings after both Kristoffersson and Petter Solberg made today’s final. Solberg, however, was slowed by a puncture in the final and finished the event sixth overall.  After a strong outing in the Peugeot 208 WRX Supercar Timmy Hansen ended the weekend fourth overall, with EKS driver Reinis Nitiss rounding out the top five.

“That was one of the hardest fought wins in rallycross,” admitted Ekstrom who also secured the coveted Monster Energy Super Charge Award after his rapid reaction off the line. “We weren’t on the pace throughout the qualifying process both Johan and the Peugeots were very fast but we concentrated on our own work.  In rallycross you have to fight until the bitter end, which is what we have proved today.  I’m super happy for myself but also as a team owner – it’s fantastic to have all three cars in the semi-finals and it’s a huge step forward.  I had a hungry Frenchman [Sebastien Loeb] on my bumper in the last lap but he is a fair racer I managed to defend and it was a very enjoyable fight.  Next we have Hockenheim where once again I will compete in both DTM and World RX in the same weekend it is a great opportunity to showcase our sport to the German fans and I expect a lot of spectators.”

Runner-up Loeb echoed Ekstrom’s comments about fair racing. “It was a great final – at the end I could see that Mattias had made a small mistake so I tried to make the most of the opportunity and get as close as I could.  We were side by side towards the end but I would have had to push too hard to get past and that wouldn’t have been right. As Mattias said, we like to be fair racers and he did a very good job so deserves this win.”

Loeb – who has moved up to sixth in the overall driver standings – added: “After a bad start in Barcelona when I left the event with only three points, it was very important that I did well this weekend.  This is a good result for the whole team. We were struggling a bit yesterday and I got caught behind Kevin [Eriksson] in Q3 but found the right set-up for the semi-final and was really on the pace. The speed of the car is very good and that has been the main thing we’ve been looking for.  We need to make some small changes to the car’s balance and then we will be able to fight again in the next few races.”

Kristoffersson proved the man to beat after day one after winning the first two qualifying sessions but a misunderstanding between the Swede and the spotters’ tower meant he failed to take the Joker Lap during Q3, resulting in a 30 second penalty.