At the second round in Montalegre, Mattias beat nine-time Rally World Champion Sébastien Loeb in a thrilling finale. With his second victory this season, he extended his lead in the drivers classification. In the team classification, we sit in second place behind the PSRX Volkswagen Sweden squad. Mattias, Topi and Reinis initially had to contend with some problems on the technically very demanding track close to the Spanish border. We were not the quickest for a long time here this weekend, admitted the overjoyed Mattias after the finale. But we never give up. In the end is was one of the most hard fought wins in my rallycross career. In the final, the 38-year-old took the lead after making a perfect start. However, after making a mistake on the last lap a tough battle erupted with Sébastien Loeb, which Mattias ultimately won.
On only his second competitive start in the Audi S1 EKS RX quattro, Reinis also made the final for the best six drivers. The Latvian, the youngest ever race winner in the FIA World Rallycross Championship history, was fifth after a courageous race. A big compliment to Reinis, said Mattias. He did a great job again, but also Topi proved again what he and his car are capable of. Topi's hopes of another podium finish came to a premature end after finishing fifth in his semi-final last year the Finn finished third in Portugal on his first start for EKS.
In Montalegre the fans did not only enjoy thrilling motorsport. The Audi quattro R6 was on display in the paddock throughout the entire weekend. In 1980, Hannu Mikkola started the Rally Urbibel with the first quattro as course car the beginning of Audis success story in rallying. For us the story continues with the 'home event' at Hockenheim. From May 57, Mattias will once again compete in the DTM and World RX and together with Topi attempt to repeat the acclaimed one-two from last year as well as defend his unbeaten run this season.
Drivers standings, 2017 FIA World RX (after 2 of 12 rounds)
1 Mattias Ekström (S) 58 points
2 Johan Kristoffersson (S) 44 points
3 Petter Solberg (N) 42 points
4 Andreas Bakkerud (N) 30 points
5 Timo Scheider (D) 28 points
6 Reinis Nitis (LV) 26 points
6 Sébastien Loeb (F) 26 points
10 Topi Heikkinen (FIN) 19 points
Teams standings, 2017 FIA World RX (after 2 of 12 rounds)
1 PSRX Volkswagen Sweden 86 points
2 EKS 77 points
3 Hoonigan Racing 49 points
3 Team Peugeot Hansen 49 points