Mattias Ekström won for the second time in the 2020 FIA World Rallycross Championship after coming out on top in a tough battle against Johan Kristoffersson in Riga.
Ekström didn’t complete a single warm-up lap on Sunday morning in a bid to save his tyres and crucially topped qualifying as a result of the decision. He won two of the three sessions, and dominated his semi-final to then be able to save four new tyres for the final.
Kristoffersson pushed Ekström hard all race and was all over the tail of the Audi S1 after he was unable to beat the Kyb Team JC driver off the line. A last lap joker lap from Ekström was enough to beat Kristoffersson who lost precious time when fending off Niclas Grönholm on the last lap of the final.
Ekström executed his tyre strategy to perfection and has closed the gap to Kristoffersson in the championship to seventeen points as a result of his win.
Robin Larsson claimed his first podium of the year having battled back from an error in Q2 which hurt any chance he had for the win. Larsson fended off Grönholm in the semi-finals and again in the final despite being on older tyres.
Timmy Hansen was fourth in round six as the Peugeot 208 lacked the ultimate pace of the VW Polo and Audi S1, while Kevin Hansen was sixth but was promoted to the final due to Timo Scheider‘s demotion for contact with Andreas Bakkerud in semi-final two.
Scheider and Bakkerud were battling for third to try and make it to the final and on the last lap they came together at turn four as Bakkerud tried to get up the inside.
Bakkerud hit the inside wall hard before coming to a fast stop. He managed to climb out of the car on his own and was taken to the trackside medical centere for a checkup.
Timur Timerzyanov, Krisztian Szabo, Anton Marklund and Liam Doran were the other semi-final casualties despite Doran’s opportunistic move around the outside at turn two.
Sunday’s result means Kyb Team JC have extended their lead in the teams’ standings to 43 points over Team Hansen, with GRX Taneco a further 31 points behind with four rounds of the championship remaining.