Mattias Ekstrom (Audi S1) etched his name into the history books by claiming the FIA World Rallycross Championship in Germany last weekend, his ever FIA World title. Top at the end of day one, Ekstrom was beaten to top spot at the Intermediate Classification by a hard-charging Petter Solberg (Citroen DS3). Both winning their semi-finals, Solberg and Ekstrom started on the front row of the final, but were both beaten out of turn one (along with the rest of the pack, by Kevin Eriksson (Ford Fiesta), who started on the second row. The young Swede led throughout to claim his maiden victory, while Solberg finished second and Andreas Bakkerud (Ford Focus) climbed to third at turn on and remained in the position despite a car filled with fumes for much of the race. FIA European Rallycross Championship Kevin Hansen (Peugeot 208) finished fourth, with Ekstrom’s fifth place enough for him to put the title out of his rivals reach ahead of the final round in Argentina. Johan Kristoffersson (Volkswagen Polo) finished sixth having suffered a puncture.
While Ekstrom celebrated his title victory at the Estering in an emotional post-race press conference, video footage of Eriksson’s outside manoeuvre at turn one in the final has gone viral online with coverage from across the world and a total of almost eight million views.
The remaining two FIA European Rallycross Champions were also crowned at the Estering. Kristian Szabo (Skoda Fabia) won the Super1600 final to win the title from Ulrik Linnemann (Peugeot 208) by a single point, the Dane finishing third in the final behind Egor Sanin (Renault Twingo), having suffered from a broken driveshaft in Q4. Ben-Philip Gundersen (Ford Fiesta) just hung on to claim the TouringCar title from Magada Andersson (Ford Fiesta) in the rear-wheel drive category. Andersson finished the final second to first-time 2016 winner David Nordgard (Ford Fiesta), but fifth place was enough for Gundersen to win the title by a point.
The penultimate round of the BTRDA Clubmans Rallycross Championship was held at Blyton Park, where former champion Kieran Curran (Vauxhall Corsa) claimed victory ahead of Marc Jones (Toyota MR2) and newcomer Chris Ramsley (BMW Compact). Championship leader Tommy Graham (Ford Escort) retired in practice with a blown engine and Phil Chicken (Citroen C2) was fastest in Q1 but retired with engine issues. Mike Manning (Subaru Impreza) won the Production 4×4 category while James Orton (Peugeot 106) finished top in Production, Chris Farrell (Ford Escort) won the Historic A final and Jaidon Bennett (Seat Arosa) won in Juniors.
The FIA World Rallycross Championship revealed it’s 2017 calendar on Monday, which will feature 12 rounds, ending at a new event in South Africa. The season opener will be held in Spain, moving from the traditional curtain raiser in Portugal, which will now be round two. The FIA European Rallycross Championship will again run at five rounds, as will the Euro RX TouringCar category, while the Super1600 division will be run over six events. The RX Lites Cup will now be known as RX2, and will run at seven events including Canada and South Africa.
Former British Rallycross front-runners Tony Bardy (Ford Focus) and Liam Doran (Citroen DS3) will both race in the final round of the MSA British Rallycross Championship this weekend, and the MSA British Rallycross Grand Prix on Sunday, each in Supercar. The event is held at Croft circuit in North Yorkshire. The final round of the French Rallycross Championship also takes place this weekend, at Lessay.
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