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19 Jun 2014

WRX: Winkelhock & Tahko

Category: News, WRX Posted 19.06.14 22:00 by

For Round 4 of WorldRX, to be held at Kouvola in Finland, former DTM racer for Audi and 2012 FIA GT1 World Champion German Markus Winkelhock has been announced as wildcard driver for EKS. Finnish Rally ace Riku Tahko is also set to compete in the event that has an entry of 27 SuperCars on offer.

 

Racing all-rounder Markus Winkelhock is set to reinforce Mattias Ekström’s WorldRX team EKS for Round 4 of the FIA World Rallycross Championship series, to be held at the Tykkimäen Moottorirata in Kouvola on June 28 and 29. The 34-year-old German has been announced to replace EKS founder Mattias Ekström as a wildcard driver in Finland. Meanwhile Ekström is on duty for Audi in the clashing DTM event at the Norisring in the German town of Nürnberg. Winkelhock gets the starting number #80 for the same Audi S1 SuperCar that Ekström himself raced in WRX Round 3 at Hell in Norway, by then carrying the starting number #10.

 

Markus Winkelhock is looking forward to the WorldRX round of Kouvola. © EKS/ERC24

Markus Winkelhock is looking forward to the WorldRX round of Kouvola. © EKS/ERC24

 

In 2012 Winkelhock together with his teammate Marc Basseng claimed the FIA GT1 title for Münnich Motorsport. © Mercedes/ERC24

In 2012 Winkelhock together with his teammate Marc Basseng claimed the FIA GT1 title for Münnich Motorsport. © Mercedes/ERC24

 

Markus Winkelhock, son of F1 racer of the 1980s, the late Manfred Winkelhock, started his own career in single-seater racing. In 2004 he switched to the DTM series for one season, before he moved back to single-seaters in 2005 and subsequently became a test and reserve driver for the Midland F1 team. In July 2007 Winkelhock took part in his sole Formula One event by racing for the team Spyker F1, leading the European Grand Prix on a wet Nürburgring for a total of six laps. At the end of that season he returned to DTM to team-up with Audi for the next three years. In 2011 he moved to GT racing with Münnich Motorsport, for which he became the FIA GT1 World Champion of 2012, driving a Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3. Winkelhock has also won the famous ‘24 Hours’ Nürburgring event with an Audi R8 LMS ultra in 2012 and is currently part of Audi Sport’s customer racing GT line-up.

 

Winkelhock and René Münnich pictured during Rallycross test drives in April 2011 at the Estering. © ACN/ERC24

Winkelhock and René Münnich pictured during Rallycross test drives in April 2011 at the Estering. © ACN/ERC24

 

Winkelhock and his DTM Audi A4 pictured in 2009 at the German Hockenheimring. © Wikipedia/AngMoKio/ERC24

Winkelhock and his DTM Audi A4 pictured in 2009 at the German Hockenheimring. © Wikipedia/AngMoKio/ERC24

 

Mattias Ekström (driver and EKS founder): “We are very happy to have Markus in the team. It was impressive how he adapted to the car during his first ever test in Höljes earlier this week. He has never been in a Rallycross SuperCar before, but immediately did a great job. The whole team was impressed by his performance. Of course, practice and racing are two different things. It is not all about being quick, but we are very confident that Markus will do a great job while I’m at the Norisring.”

Markus Winkelhock (wildcard driver EKS): “It’s absolutely awesome to be part of EKS and get the chance to drive such an amazing Audi. 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 also happy. 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 gives me the chance to do Rallycross – and now we will see what happens in Finland.”

 

Riku Tahko and his MINI JCW 1.6 pictured during the Finnish 2014 Arctic Rally. © Toni Ollikainen/ERC24

Riku Tahko and his MINI JCW 1.6 pictured during the Finnish 2014 Arctic Rally. © Toni Ollikainen/ERC24

 

Rally driver Tahku is the friend and driving coach of 'Topi' Heikkinen. © Toni Ollikainen/ERC24

Rally driver Tahko is the friend and driving coach of ‘Topi’ Heikkinen. © Toni Ollikainen/ERC24

 

The Kouvola entry list contains also Riku Tahko; the 29-year-old Finnish Rally ace has entered a MINI JCW 1.6 “SuperCar” for the Tykkimäen event. Tahko is a close friend of Toomas Heikkinen as well as his driving coach for quite some time already. Very little is known about the car he is going to race, we expect it to be his S2000 Rally version with the reg no LX61 BWO (see our photo).

 

The full entry list for WorldRX Finland to be found here.

 

Top photo: Winkelhock is set to race the 560+bhp strong Audi S1 SuperCar of Mattias Ekström in Finland. © JKR/ERC24