Former FIA GT1 World Champion and Formula One driver Markus Winkelhock will join the World RallyCross field in Finland driving for the EKS RX Team.
The German, who will drive one of EKS’ Audi S1 Supercars, will replace Mattias Ekström, who is on DTM duty that weekend, and will drive alongside Pontus Tidemand for the round in Kouvola, with another 25 Superars, including the Finnish Rallycross Champion Joni-Pekka Rajala, also expected to race.
“It’s absolutely awesome to be part of EKS and get the chance to drive such an amazing Audi,” explained 34-year-old Winkelhock. “The first test in Sweden was very helpful to become familiar with the car, the starting procedure and so on. I was very happy with these first steps and the team was as well. But for sure, for me as a GT driver the race weekend will be a big shift. Nevertheless I’m very thankful to Mattias who gave me the chance to race in World RX.”
“We are very happy to have Markus in the team,” explained two-time DTM Champion and EKS founder Ekström. “It was impressive how he adapted to the car during his first ever test in Höljes this week. He has never been in an RX supercar before and he did a great job. The whole team was impressed by his performance. For sure, practice and racing are two different things. It’s not only to be quick, but we are very confident that Markus will do a great job while I’m at the Norisring.”
Martin Anayi, WRX’s Managing Director for IMG Motorsport, added: “It’s a real pleasure to welcome Markus to the FIA World Rallycross Championship for our Finnish event. We’ve already got a former F1, WRC and Formula Drift Champion competing at Kouvola so it’s great that we are able to add a former FIA GT1 World Champion into the mix. Despite limited testing, the Audi S1 proved to be a highly competitive car when we saw the EKS RX Team make their debut in Norway and it will be interesting to see how Markus fares against the other World RX front-runners.”
Kouvola RX starts on June 28, with the wildcard entry for the weekend being American Top Gear presenter and GRC driver Tanner Foust.