MATTIAS EKSTROM MAKES IT THREE IN A ROW - CatalunyaRX FIA World Rallycross

Sweden’s Mattias Ekstrom has won this weekend’s World RX of Great Britain, his third back-to-back victory in the 2016 FIA World Rallycross Championship presented by Monster Energy.  Reigning Champion Petter Solberg took the runner-up spot, while Team Peugeot-Hansen driver Timmy Hansen clinched third. In the overall drivers’ standings after four rounds, Ekstrom leads Solberg by five points. 

Ekstrom – who drives an Audi S1 EKS RX quattro for EKS – was placed fourth after Q4, the Swede having suffered from a puncture and a small engine problem.  He fought back, however, to win his semi-final and a clever use of tyre strategy saw him fastest off the line in today’s final – which also awarded Ekstrom with the coveted Monster Energy Super Charge Award.

“I think the secret to winning this year was losing last year,” joked Ekstrom, who lost out on the Lydden Hill victory in 2015 by three tenths of a second. “But now it’s me on the top step, and not Petter [Solberg].  I think this weekend has been one of the hardest in my career – I couldn’t figure out why Petter was quicker and it was quite frustrating.  In the end, it came down to the joker lap and tyre strategy – I had a bit more rubber left towards the end.  Realistically, five or six drivers could win the Championship – Sebastien [Loeb] was very quick this weekend but was unlucky and we can’t underestimate the potential of the Peugeots.”

Runner-up Solberg added: “It’s been a great weekend – we tried so hard in the final, but we had a different tyre strategy which obviously didn’t work for us. The victory was in touching distance – we could see that the pace was there, we had the power and the suspension worked brilliantly. There has been a lot of close fighting but I always want to win the final race.  Congratulations to Mattias – his joker lap tactics worked well, I could almost reach him but it wasn’t enough.  The most important thing for me is that we are back on form – the car is working well, we have the speed and now it’s time to win again.”

Hansen – who has not been on the podium since World RX of Turkey last year – was delighted to leave Lydden Hill with some more silverware. “It’s been a while since I’ve been in the top three so it feels great to be back in the end of race press conference,” admitted the 22-year-old Swede.  “Our lap times were good this weekend but we were down on Petter and Mattias so it meant we couldn’t afford to make any mistakes elsewhere.  I had a few chances to catch Petter in the final but didn’t quite get the speed. We are getting there but need to work even harder when we go to Norway in two weeks’ time.”