This weekend (October 13/14), the FIA World Rallycross Championship (World RX) comes to Germany. For Audi driver Mattias Ekström and EKS Audi Sport, the Estering race track in Buxtehude is very special.
In 2017, Mattias Ekström won the German World Rallycross Championship round at Buxtehude
In 2016, the Swede took home an early title on this circuit with his Audi S1 EKS RX quattro. “It’s one of the venues on the World RX calendar that I have the best memories of,” says Ekström. “The Estering will always have a special place in my heart.”
The short 925-meter course has impressed the Swede – particularly the hairpin bend after the start-finish straight. “It’s a fantastic corner,” says the Audi driver. “You approach it at high speed, pull the handbrake hard and slide sideways. It’s the most spectacular spot on the Estering and one of the best on the World RX calendar.”
— EKS (@EKSRX) October 4, 2018
In the other passages, overtaking is virtually impossible, and this makes the start at the Estering decisive
The entrance to the so-called Joker Lap, where the track surface changes from tarmac to gravel, is especially tricky: something that Ekström learned from experience. Because the passage ends just before the finish line, the winner at the Estering is often only decided when the checkered flag drops. In 2015, Ekström finished just 0.005 seconds behind Petter Solberg. It was the most closely-contested finish in the history of the World Rallycross Championship.
Similarly close is the current battle for second place in the drivers’ championship behind the already crowned world champion Johan Kristoffersson from Sweden. With two rounds left on the calendar, Mattias Ekström (Audi/204 points), Petter Solberg (Volkswagen/202 points), Andreas Bakkerud (Audi/200 points) and Sébastien Loeb (Peugeot/195 points) are all in just nine points. “Obviously, we all want the runner-up title,” says Ekström’s teammate Andreas Bakkerud. “It’s good to know that in recent years Audi has always done well at the Estering.”
Birthday Boy Bakkerud!
Cheers, mate! ? pic.twitter.com/KIhjpTk1QH
— EKS (@EKSRX) October 10, 2018