Driver

FOUR FIGHT FOR SILVER IN SOUTH AFRICA "THE CHALLENGER"

Monday 19th of November 2018

Sweden’s Mattias Ekstrom, the 2016 FIA World Rallycross Champion, entered the final round of World RX at the first World RX of South Africa in Cape Town last year in the middle of a fight for the runner-up position in the World RX Drivers' Championship, and it's a case of Deja Vu this year.

In 2017, only one point separated Ekstrom and Norway's Petter Solberg entering the final round and it was a battle that went right down to the wire. Ekstrom took the upper hand in the Intermediate Classification with third, as Solberg qualified seventh. That turned Ekstrom's one point deficit into a three point advantage, but Solberg struck back in semi-final one by taking an earlier joker lap and closing on the race leaders. Ekstrom then lost time on the final lap behind leader Johan Kristoffersson, Solberg's PSRX Volkswagen Sweden team mate in the joker lap, Ekstrom making contact with Solberg on the way to the final corner. Ekstrom finished the race second. In the final, third place ahead of Solberg in fourth secured the runner-up position for Ekstrom.

This year ahead of World RX's visit to the Killarney International Raceway, where four drivers will battle for the runner-up placing, Ekstrom has a total of 228 points. That's four points ahead of EKS Audi Sport team mate Andreas Bakkerud and seven points ahead of Solberg, before any pending engine penalties for the PSRX driver might be applied. Team Peugeot Total's Sebastien Loeb stands an outside chance of challenging Ekstrom, 23 points behind.

Aside from 2019 Champion Kristoffersson, the EKS team could be called the on-form team in World RX and finished with two cars on the podium in the last round in Germany. "We’re happy about having finished on podium with both Audi cars," said Ekstrom at Estering. "We’d been hoping for victory and came very close, but not close enough. The competition was very strong once again. However, there's one more race to go. We’re continuing to work hard and fight. I believe in this team and we're going to give our all to close the season in South Africa with a victory and runner-up finish."

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