When Mattias Ekström and his teammates are flying around the rallycross circuits in their 560-hp racing cars, everybody – without exception – is watching with bated breath. The events are action-packed and with their short races of four to six laps deliver suspense practically with each passing minute. A number of leading lights have gotten a personal impression of the awesome power of the Audi S1 EKS RX quattro. They include Walter Röhrl. Together with Ekström, the iconic rally racer tested the rallycross super car at the Estering in Buxtehude near Hamburg and was totally amazed. “The car is incredibly easy to drive and huge fun. I don’t even want to start imagining what it’s going to be like competing in it against four or five rivals in a race,” said the two-time World Rally Champion.
Another legend expressed similar enthusiasm: Stig Blomqvist. The Swede had the opportunity to test the Audi S1 EKS RX quattro on the tradition-steeped Swedish circuit at Strängnäs and was practically speechless after just a few laps. “Obviously, this is no comparison with my Audi Sport quattro in which I clinched the world championship title in 1984,” says the now 71-year-old. “The car back then was no doubt more of a brute in general, but driving the Audi S1 EKS RX quattro is incredibly impressive for sure. Everything is so direct and the car always does what you want it to do, so you don’t even want to get out of it again.”
Following his 2016 title win, Ekström invited another champion to drive his rallycross racing car. Sébastien Ogier did not hesitate to accept his friend’s invitation and drove a few fast laps in the Audi test area at the Munich airport. Following the spontaneously arranged meeting, the Frenchman was obviously thrilled: “This was real fun,” said Ogier who last year celebrated his fourth consecutive overall victory in the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC).
But it wasn’t just stars from rally racing that took the wheel of Ekström’s car in which he became world champion in 2016. MotoGP star Andrea Dovizioso during the World RX round at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya swapped his Ducati motorcycle for the seat in the Audi S1 EKS RX quattro. The switch from two to four wheels was obviously an easy feat for the Italian. After just a short time he was setting remarkable lap times that earned him admiring looks from others and put a smile on his own face.
The same is true for trial and enduro rider Tadeusz ‘Taddy’ Błażusiak. The Pole caught a whiff of rallycross air at Barcelona as well and had the opportunity of gathering some personal driving experience in the SuperQ 2016.
Christopher Mies on the other hand has been deprived of this experience to date. Still, the GT driver who recently won the GTD class of the Petit Le Mans with Connor De Phillippi and Sheldon van der Linde in the Audi R8 LMS has been infected with the rallycross virus. Ever since his visit to a World RX round at Mettet, Belgium, if not earlier, the German has been dying to make a foray into the motorsport series featuring the shortest races of all. Normally, that is not the professional field of the endurance export whose success in 2015 included the 24-hour race at the Nürburgring and the title win in the Australian GT Championship.
Before the 2016 World RX round at the Estering Mattias Ekström travelled to Hamburg for a media day and not only thrilled numerous onlookers in the northern German metropolis. Hamburg singer and actor Lotto King Karl was invited to sit in the passenger’s seat of the Audi S1 EKS RX quattro and did a few laps together with the Swede. The stadium announcer of Bundesliga football club Hamburger SV was another star to be impressed by the car’s power. It accelerates from 0 to 100 km/h in 2.4 seconds – as fast as a Formula 1 racing car – which is another performance characteristic that not only makes celebrities shake their heads in disbelief.