Ekstrom Wins Holjes WorldRX Thriller

EKSRX team boss Mattias Ekstrom guided his Audi S1 to victory on home turf for the second consecutive year as he won round round six of the 2015 FIA World Rallycross Championship at Holjes in Sweden.

The double DTM champion did not win on the road however. Team Peugeot-Hansen‘s Timmy Hansen made a bold move for the lead on the last corner of the final lap in the Supercar Final, nudging his Peugeot 208 WRX past the Audi to cross the finish line first. However the stewards ruled the move to be too robust and a five second penalty was awarded to Hansen, with the positions effectively reversed.

Ekstrom was overjoyed with taking the win on home turf, repeating his 2014 performance.

“I’m happy for my guys and for myself, I feel this is a well deserved win,” confirmed Ekstrom. “I have no hard feelings towards Timmy, he deserves P2. He made a brave move passing me on the corner but everybody has to play by the rules of a World Championship.

“I did feel like I was robbed of the win so I’m pleased that the stewards made the decision that they did – it sets the level of the bar of how we should race. I’m really pleased with how car the car has performed and of course it’s always amazing to take a win at my home race.”

Hansen was understandably unhappy with the decision but remained positive after his performance over the weekend.

“It was a very close call,” explained the 22 year-old whose team-mate Davy Jeanney finished eighth in the team’s second car.  “I saw a gap on the final corner after the jump, I didn’t hesitate and I just went for it.  I didn’t think I was pushing Mattias, there was some contact side by side but that is rallycross in my opinion.  

“I still feel like I won in front of my home crowd and I crossed the finish line first which was a dream feeling.”

Andreas Bakkerud held the lead for a short while during the final until Hansen passed his Ford Olsbergs MSE Fiesta but he went on to finish in third position. Bakkerud went on to explain his no nonsense approach to the final.

“It’s been a while since I’ve finished on the podium so this feels really great,” grinned Bakkerud. “This is my third podium in Holjes and it always feels good to finish in the top three in Holjes – especially with so many family and friends who are here with me this weekend.  

“The car was down on power in the final but my spotter on the radio just told me to keep pushing so that’s what I did! I’m even hungrier for a victory now and that’s what I’ll be aiming for in Canada and in the second half of the year.”

MettetRX Winner Topi Heikkinen finished fourth in his Marklund Motorsport Volkswagen Polo, whilst Bakkerud’s team-mate Reinis Nitiss finished in fifth place. Petter Solberg finished in sixth place in his SDRX Citroen DS3 after beaching it in the gravel and breaking the steering.

Volkswagen Team Sweden drivers had mixed fortunes over the weekend but both Johan Kristoffersson and Tord Linnerud were fast during the heats. Kristoffersson qualified for the Semi-Finals but lost out on a place in the Final after going wide in his joker lap. Liam Doran showed promise during the heats before an engine issue slowed his progress whilst Eric Faren brought the Hansen Development Peugeot 208 WRX home in tenth place.

Petter Solberg has increased his points lead to 44 over Kristoffersson in the Drivers’ Championship, whilst Bakkerud closes the gap to second place to two points. In the Teams’ Championship, Ford Olsbergs MSE leads on 209 points from Team Peugeot-Hansen, have overtaken SDRX for second.