PREVIEW: 2017 World RX of Portugal – Can Ekström break his duck?


The World RX Of Portugal is the second round of the 2017 World RX season. Credit: IMG / FIA World RX

Round two of the 2017 FIA World Rallycross Championship takes place at the Montalegre circuit in Portugal with several drivers looking to improve on their opening round performances.

Whilst Mattias Ekström leads the Drivers Championship after his victory in Spain, the Swedish driver has never taken a win yet in Portugal and he will be looking to change that box this weekend.

PSRX Volkswagen Team Sweden are looking for the win in Portugal. Credit: PSRX Volkswagen Team Sweden

However expect inspired performances from the PSRX Volkswagen Team Sweden duo of Petter Solberg and Johan Kristoffersson who between them have won every edition of the World RX of Portugal so far. After missing out on victory in Spain, look out for these two to go for the win.

Sebastien Loeb will be one of several drivers looking to better his opening round result. The Team Peugeot-Hansen driver lost out on making it to the Semi-Finals in Spain due to a mechanical issue and he will be looking to score some big points in Portugal.

Janis Baumanis is hunting for a Semi-Final spot at the 2017 World RX of Portugal. Credit: IMG / FIA World RX

STARD drivers Janis Baumanis and Timur Timerzyanov had a difficult start in Spain with their Ford Fiesta RXS Evo 3 Supercars, however after a recent test in Spain the duo are hopeful of troubling the established order as they look to progress forward and take a spot in the Semi-Final stages.

Other Ford drivers looking to improve include Hoonigan Racing’s Ken Block and MJP Racing Team Austria‘s young talent Kevin Eriksson. Both drivers were involved in a racing incident in Spain and both of them will be aiming high as their respective team-mates took a podium place each last time out.

Rene Muennich returns to World RX competition at the 2017 World RX of Portugal. Credit: IMG / FIA World RX

Joining the regular entries this weekend will be FIA European Rallycross Championship competitors Rene Muennich and Martin Kaczmarski. Muennich returns to World RX duty after two full seasons with his SEAT Ibiza RX in its second year of competition whilst Kaczmarski makes his World RX debut with plans to enter the championship full time in the future

Gregoire Demoustier returns for his second World RX outing in Portugal. Credit: Paulo Maria / DPPI

Completing the lineup will be Belgium’s Gregoire Demoustier who takes part in his second World RX event alongside team-mate Jean-Baptiste Dubourg at DA Racing whilst local driver Joaquim Santos continues his tradition of competing in his home round of the series since the World Championship began.

The 2016 World RX of Portugal saw Petter Solberg take the opening victory of the season with Robin Larsson and Topi Heikkinen completing the podium whilst Ekstrom lost out in the Semi-Final’s. Expect the Audi Drivers to fight back in Portugal this year to make up for that result.

Toomas ‘Topi’ Heikkinen will be looking to improve on his 2016 podium in Portugal Credit: EKS/Bodo Kraehling

The 2017 World RX of Portugal takes place at the Montalegre circuit between April 21-23 and you can follow all the action with The Checkered Flag, check back over the weekend for the latest news.