HOCKENHEIM, Germany – official series release — World RX photo —
Sweden’s Mattias Ekstrom took an epic victory at Sunday’s World RX of Hockenheim, round two of the FIA World Rallycross Championship presented by Monster Energy.
Finland’s Topi Heikkinen finished second, making it an EKS RX one-two in the Audi S1 EKS RX quattro. America’s Ken Block took the third podium spot in his Hoonigan Racing Division run Ford Focus RS RX Supercar.
Ekstrom – who was also competing in the DTM German Touring Car Championship at the Hockenheimring during the weekend – was top qualifier at the end of the World RX qualifying sessions before going on to lead the third practice in DTM. He then went on to compete in DTM’s second race Sunday afternoon.
“I’ve never been happier in my entire life – to win in World RX and now in front of my loyal DTM fans is a dream come true,” said Ekstrom, who is tied at the top of the World RX drivers’ standings alongside Petter Solberg [48 points]. “Topi is a great racer, he certainly made it tough for me. I had my opportunity at the Joker Lap and I managed to take a smooth line ahead of Topi.”
“This is an excellent result for the entire team, we have to be happy with this result,” said Heikkinen “The car is super-fast and we have a great team behind us. In the final, I was struggling with tire-wear but I’m complaining about first world problems as that was our only issue. Now we have to keep the momentum going and gain more points in Belgium. Mettet is one of my favourite tracks, I’ve won there for the past two years so why not making it a third next week?”
Block qualified 13th Saturday, narrowly missing out on Sunday’s semi-finals but was promoted to the top 12 after Timmy Hansen was disqualified from Q4. Block battled his way through his semi-final to make it to the all-important final where he took third.
“This is a huge accomplishment – not just for me but for the whole team who have worked so hard to make this happen,” said Block, who has finished on the podium twice out of the four World RX events he has started. “We are still trying to learn the car – there have been lots of set-up changes to try and figure out what can make the Focus work as well as possible. We are definitely on the right path but some more experimentation is still needed.”
Reigning World RX Champion Petter Solberg struggled with car differential issues on day one and an engine problem on day two. Solberg’s team changed the engine on his Citroen DS3 Supercar overnight and the Norwegian battled on to finish Hockenheim RX fourth overall.
One of the most impressive drives this weekend, however, was that of Britain’s Liam Doran who won the second semi-final and finished the event fifth overall. Doran’s result is even more impressive considering his JRM Racing prepared MINI is down on power compared to the other 600bhp Supercars.
CREDIT: FIA World Rallycross Championship