There is no time to waste at EKS. Just one week after round three of the FIA World Rallycross Championship, held at Hockenheim in Germany, the Audi Sport-backed team is facing another challenge: round four of the series in Belgium.
Their lead driver, reigning world champion, as well as current championship leader, Mattias Ekström, has one very clear aspiration: to score his fourth win in as many rounds contested; a record-setting winning streak.
“Looking at the results to date, we have absolutely no reason to complain,” says Ekström.
“We haven’t always been the fastest but the hard work of my team has consistently paid off so far. At Hockenheim, we partied a little on Sunday but on Monday we immediately went back into racing mode. At Mettet, we’re going to race with full batteries.”
From a sporting point of view, the Circuit Jules Tacheny, located 80km (50 miles) southeast of Brussels, is a favourite of the EKS campaigners. In 2016, Ekström secured the winner’s trophy in the Audi S1 EKS RX quattro, while his team-mate Toomas Heikkinen won there in a Volkswagen Polo in 2014 and 2015, while competing for Marklund Motorsport.
“I really like the track,” says Heikkinen. “The layout differs from the other circuits – technically, it’s rather challenging, with fast zigzag turns, slow hairpin turns and a jump into the valley.”
Plus, there is the narrow first turn in which a number of drivers have had to bury their hopes for front positions in the tyre wall before. Ekström can tell a thing or two about it. “In 2015, I was bumped by another car after the start and took the tyre wall with me, which caused the bonnet to open. I had zero vision and was forced to retire.”
Alongside Ekström and Heikkinen, who, competing as EKS, are currently trailing PSRX Volkswagen Sweden in the Teams’ Championship, a third Audi S1 EKS RX quattro Supercar will be on the grid, with young Latvian Reinis Nitišs beind the wheel. Reinis’ hope is to secure a spot on the grid for the final, for the second time since he started competing for the Swedish outfit.
Confidence in my car keeps growing with every race and the track at Mettet not only suits Mattias and Topi,” emphasises the EKS newcomer. “In 2015, I finished third in Belgium and my goal is to take home a trophy again this year.”
Action in Mettet will begin start on Friday, 12 May, with the first qualifying session for the FIA European Rallycross Championship‘s Super1600 and Touring Car classes.