Mattias Ekstrom has returned to the top step of the podium after winning the the penultimate round of the 2017 FIA World Rallycross Championship.
The 2016 World RX Champion ended the first day as Top Qualifier and despite being beaten to overall TQ after Qualifying, the Swedish driver stayed the course to go on to take his fourth win of the season at the wheel of his EKSRX Audi Quattro S1.
The former DTM Champion won his Semi-Final race and secured pole position for the Supercar Final with rival Petter Solberg alongside him, courtesy of his Semi-Final Two race win. The middle row was occupied by Topi Heikkinen in the second EKSRX Audi with Kevin Hansen in the 2016 Peugeot 208 WRX alongside the Finnish driver. Timmy Hansen was on the back row for the Final with Niclas Gronholm alongside the Swedish driver in his first ever World RX Final.
The first corner is always a decisive factor at the Estering circuit and the run to the hairpin was no different. Heikkinen slid wide as he tried to repeat the Kevin Eriksson “Round the Outside” move from 2016 and ended up in the gravel. The Finn got going again, however it was Ekstrom leading from Solberg whilst Kevin Hansen held third over his Team Peugeot-Hansen team-mate Timmy in the 2017 car.
Gronholm replicated his tactics from the Semi-Finals and took the Joker at the end of lap one, however at the start of lap two, Solberg fell back at the hairpin and appeared from the dust in fourth place. As Ekstrom led on, Timmy Hansen passed his younger brother to take second place and charge after the Audi.
Before the end of the lap, Heikkinen had passed Kevin as well as it was clear there was an issue with the left rear wheel. The younger Hansen did all he could to hold off Solberg and Gronholm but both drivers would pass the ailing Peugeot at the end of lap four and the 2016 Euro RX Champion would then spin coming to the first turn.
Mattias Ekstrom would go on to win the race ahead of Timmy Hansen with Topi Heikkinen completing the podium. After having an operation on his broken collar bone only five days ago, Petter Solberg finished fourth after being Top Qualifier at the end of Qualifying whilst Niclas Gronholm finished in fifth place ahead of Kevin Hansen.
The 2017 World RX of Germany saw a change in form for most drivers as the conditions and circuit itself caught out most drivers. PSRX Volkswagen Team Sweden‘s Johan Kristoffersson missed the Final after contact with Kevin Eriksson in Semi-Final Two whilst Sebastien Loeb also missed the Final due to contact in the same race.
The final round of the 2017 FIA World Rallycross Championship is at the Killarney International Circuit on November 10-12 where the first ever World RX of South Africa will take place.