Mattias Ekstrom took his first FIA World Rallycross Championship victory in the World RX, scoring maximum points at this week’s race in Sweden. The World RX is anyone’s game now with the series’ five races so far having five winners and four manufacturer wins, keeping things shaken up and proving that rallycross is more about the team and great driving than it is about vehicle performance and technical details.
A record-breaking 34,900 spectators showed up to cheer on local boy Ekstrom this weekend. Thousands of vehicles were in the Varmland Forest surrounding the circuit in Holjes as 107 races took place, including the Supercar, Super1600, TouringCar, and RX Lites Cup. Sweden has one of the most active fan bases for rally in the world.
After Ekstrom in his Audi S1 Supercar came Andreas Bekkerud and Petter Solberg for second and third. The Norwegians came in hard despite both suffering punctures.
“If I could write a book and create my dream story I would pretty much write what happened here in Holjes today. This is the best story of my life,” grinned Ekstrom, who finished runner-up in Sweden last year. “In December we didn’t have anything in terms of a rallycross team and we have been late to enter this year but everything has fallen into place. Our ultimate goal is to become World Champions but obviously because of my full-time career in DTM right now that is difficult… but I could definitely be part of a World Championship winning team as the team boss! I’ve never actually been to a FIA prizegiving and I would certainly love to do that.”
Team standings still have Ford at the top, thanks to Bakkerud’s finish and teammate Nitiss coming in fourth to keep the overall team score high. Driver’s standings have shuffled, however, with Bekkerud dropping to third in favor of Solberg, who moves up to second after a spectacular technical run.
The one to really watch, though, was newcomer Sebastian Eriksson, a Swede who took a guest seat with Ford Olsbergs in a Fiesta Supercar. He was on the heels and threatening everyone and looked set for a podium spot before a puncture and suspension damage finished his race, dropping his finish to sixth.
The Super1600 went to Sergej Zagumennov, who was unstoppable through the race events, marking the Russian’s third victory in the category. In TouringCar, Tom Daniel Tanevik took the top spot with his Mazda RX8 in a great run while the RX Lites Cup went to Kevin Hansen, a Junior Rallycross Champion that should be watched as this 16-year-old will definitely have a strong future in racing.
World RX moves to Belgium next weekend.