The defending World Champion in Rallycross, Mattias Ekström, won’t be starting at his home track in Höljes in one week’s time.
Audi Sport has chosen that the works driver will prioritise his DTM programme over the FIA World Rallycross Championship programme, which is also supported by Audi. The DTM race at Norisring will be run next weekend as well, and the Swede can’t quite be in two locations at the same time.
Ekström is currently second in the World RX, after his Swedish compatriot Johan Kristoffersson, while in the DTM he is currently fourth – as the third best Audi driver.
With that in mind, it’s a puzzle for us, why this specific choice was made. Team EKS only have Ekström in the running for the Championship in World RX this year, since both teammates Toomas Heikkinen and Reinis Nitiss are 9th and 12th respectively, while the Teams Championship, the EKS team is already 87 points behind the leaders, making their Teams Title hard to defend.
The Swedish track in Höljes is the home track for Ekström, so it must hurt extra in his Swedish heart.
Peter Gunnar Andersson will replace Mattias Ekström for this round in the Audi S1 WRX car.
The question must now be – is this the final season at Audi for the Swede, who has been with Audi since 2001 in DTM? Or is the pay check from Audi still so large, that he can live with it?
Only time will tell when we reach the winter period, and contract negotiations will happen.