EKS driver Mattias Ekstrom (Audi S1) put a run of World RX events blighted by punctures behind him to win the ninth round of the FIA World Rallycross Championship at Barcelona in Spain and turn a five point deficit heading into the event into a ten point advantage over Petter Solberg (Citroen DS3). Timmy Hansen (Peugeot 208) set his first fastest qualifying time of the year in Q1 and topped the Intermediate Classification, before finishing second in the final to Ekstrom. Loheac winner Johan Kristoffersson (Volkswagen Polo) initially finished on the podium but was disqualified from the final following the event for pushing Timur Timerzyanov (Ford Fiesta) on the last lap of the race. The Russian was promoted to his first podium finish since 2014, with his World RX Team Austria team mate, Janis Baumanis (Ford Fiesta) fourth. Robin Larsson fended off Solberg and Sebastien Loeb (Peugeot 208) in the semi-finals to make the final and was classified fifth.
Kevin Hansen (Peugeot 208) scored his fourth successive victory in the penultimate round of the FIA European Rallycross Championship to join his father Kenneth on the list of European Supercar Champions. Hansen dominated the event, and won ahead of Tommy Rustad (Peugeot 208), who had rolled his car in Q2. Tord Linnerud (Volkswagen Polo) was third, not enough to stop Hansen taking the title with one round to go. Cyril Raymond won the RX Lites Cup final ahead of title-rival Thomas Bryntesson to extend his lead in the single make standings. Simon Wago Syversen finished third. Ulrik Linnemann (Peugeot 208) won the Super1600 final to retake the lead of the championship from Krisztian Szabo (Skoda Fabia) who retired from the final. Luigi (Skoda Fabia) and Kasparas Navickas (Skoda Fabia) completed the podium.
Just days after the Barcelona event, Mattias Ekstrom announced that he will race in the penultimate round of World RX at the Estering next month, which clashes with the final round of the German DTM Championship. Double champion Ekstrom hasn’t missed a round of the DTM for 15 years, but has been granted permission by Audi Sport bosses to see-out the World RX season as he bids to win his first ever FIA World Championship. “I have to send a massive thank you to my bosses at Audi Sport. Being given green light to realise a childhood dream is nothing I take for granted,” said Ekstrom. “It’s a really big decision by Audi Sport and for sure a big one for me too. I have never ever been close to winning a FIA World Championship title before and I’m proud and honoured that my bosses are giving me this chance.”
Former champion Tanner Foust (Volkswagen Beetle) won the tenth round of the Global Rallycross Championship at Evergreen Speedway to take the series lead. In the inaugural season for the car, Sebastian Eriksson (Honda Civic) and Joni Wiman (Honda Civic) finished second and third, the first double podium for the OlsbergsMSE built Civics. Foust’s team mate Scott Speed (Volkswagen Beetle) was fourth and is now second to Foust in the standings. Steve Arpin (Ford Fiesta) is third overall in the points behind the VW pair and finished fifth behind Speed in the final. Former Subaru WRC Chris Atkinson (Subaru Impreza) driver finished sixth. Volkswagen secured the Manufacturers’ title at the event. The Vermont SportsCar team also announced this week that Japanese rally star Toshi Ari will race for the squad at the final round of the series alongside Atkinson and David Higgins in two weeks. In the GRC Lites category at Evergreen Speedway, Conner Martell claimed his first victory, while second for Oliver Eriksson promoted him into the points lead. Miki Weckstrom finished third.
Welsh rally driver Osian Pryce will race in the MSA British Rallycross Championship this weekend at Pembrey, his rallycross debut. Pryce will drive the celebrity RX150 buggy in the event. “I’ve always wanted to have a go at rallycross. This is a great introduction to the sport, getting in at the sharp end in the RX150 Championship. I’ll have to learn fast,” said Pryce. “It will be nice to get behind the wheel of something a little bit different to what I’m used to, which is exciting to watch too. The buggies are not like anything I’ve really driven before but I’m really looking forward to it.”
Former WRC star Gigi Galli continued the development of his Kia Rio Supercar in a test on the Barcelona rallycross circuit on Monday, and is expected to race in the tenth round of the World Rallycross Championship next weekend in Latvia.
The All-Inkl.com Munnich Motorsport team has announced that Tommy Rustad will race its second car alongside team owner and driver Rene Munnich at the World RX event at the Estering next month. Rustad made his debut for the squad in Canada last year and finished fourth, a result that is yet to be bettered by the German team. The 2015 Euro RX champion will race the Seat Ibiza used so far in 2016 by Reinis Nitiss, in which he finished fifth in France, and Timo Scheider last weekend in Barcelona. “I’m very happy to have been asked to do another race with the team. I’m jumping into it to try and do my best, to work as well as I can with the car. I don’t know yet if I need to change the car to suit my style, or if I need to chance my style to suit the car,” said Rustad. “I’m just going to my best for the team and hopefully we can get a good result. I’m not really sure what I should expect, because it’s a new car. I did a race with them last year without any experience with them and we did very well in Canada.”
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