An astounding event win is secured by OMSE driver Kevin Eriksson at the Estering, with Mattias Ekström being confirmed as the 2016 champion with a fifth place finish.
Two Swede’s lit up last weekend’s penultimate round, in a dramatic affair that saw Kevin Eriksson take the round win, and Mattias Ekström crowned 2016 FIA World Rallycross champion.
The weekend was both frantic yet mesmerising – with the Supercar Final epitomising the drama of the 2016 championship.
Following two days of changing weather, and tight qualifying Solberg had fought his way back to the top, reaping the rewards of some unbelievably fast qualifying runs and lining up on pole position with Ekström by his side off the line. But the legendary Estering track, with its challenging first corner always favours the brave, and drivers on the middle row didn’t fail to deliver. Both Kevin Eriksson, and Kevin Hansen were bright off the line applying pressure to the front row drivers.
Eriksson looked to have taken the advice of his team, and inherited the extravagant style of his father Andreas as he went late on his brakes and guided his Fiesta all the way around the outside of the hairpin to take the lead having benefited from the caution displayed by the rest of the back. Eriksson was practically facing back towards the start line as he straightened his car to lead the pack into the tracks first straight section. Eriksson would go on to hold on to take the win, with Solberg and Bakkerud pursuing the young driver.
But way behind the chaos of the front four, another Swede had guaranteed himself the title. Mattias Ekström secured the 2016 FIA World Rallycross Drivers Championship after guiding his EKS Audi to a fifth place finish. Despite a surge from Solberg and Kristoffersson – a 30 point led or more of over his rivals was enough to earn the 2016 WRX crown.
An elated Ekström spoke emotionally having crossed the line champion:
“This is probably the best day in my whole motorsport career! I have a lot of amazing memories: from winning the Swedish Touring Car Championship back in 1999, my first DTM title in 2004, my Race of Champions win against Loeb in Paris, and also against Michael Schumacher in 2007, then my second DTM title.”
“Now I’m the new World RX Champion and this feeling beats it all because when I started EKS from scratch less than three years ago, this was my dream. I have always wanted to go to an FIA prize-giving ceremony and now I finally can,” explained Ekström.
Having claimed the title, Ekström had confirmed that Solberg’s fight was done – and his search for his third title over. “To be honest, I am sad that the Championship is over for me. I have been fighting all year for my third World RX title and I hoped it would go down to the final round and the team were really motivated.”
“It is so important for me to thank my amazing team – I may be the guy driving the car, but the car was so fast this weekend, I think one of the fastest on the track. I can only say thank you for all the hours they have spent in the last two weeks, making small changes which could make a difference for us.”
“They have worked so systematically; second here is a great win for the whole PSRX team. Finally, Mattias is a very worthy winner, he has won a lot of races this year and been very consistent – big congratulations to him and to EKS.”
Final Supercar Results from Germany:
1. Kevin Eriksson
2. Petter Solberg
3. Andreas Bakkerud
4. Kevin Hansen
5. Mattias Ekström
6. Johan Kristoffersson
2016 WRX Supercar Standingg:
1. Mattias Ekström – 251
2. Petter Solberg – 221
3. Johan Kristoffersson – 217
The final round takes place at the Rosario circuit in Argentina on 25-27th November.