Audi is also taking part in rallycross in the 2018 season. The brand from Ingolstadt continues with factory support for the project of Mattias Ekström. Under the new name of EKS Audi Sport, the team will compete with two newly built Audi S1 EKS RX quattro cars in the FIA World Rallycross Championship. In addition to team boss and driver Ekström, Andreas Bakkerud will drive the second car, one of the most successful rallycross drivers.
Spectacular motorsport: In Rallycross, up to six drivers compete in four preliminary stages and a knockout system with a semi-final and final, all on kilometre-long asphalt/gravel circuits. Rallycross emerged in the 1960s when British television channels were on the search for a weather-independent motorsport. The Rallycross World Championship has been around since 2014. In the compact races of about three minutes in duration, it often comes down to daring overtaking and moments of contact. In addition, the brutal vehicles with almost 600 hp can accelerate from 0 to 100 km/h in about two and a half seconds – about as fast as the cars in Formula 1.
The total of 12 World Championship rounds are iconic. Every year, 40,000 spectators put the 150 strong Swedish village of Höljes in a state of standstill and create a unique atmosphere. In Lohéac in Brittany, more than 75,000 spectators travel to cheer on the heroes – motorsport and a festival all in one, with stars in touching distance. The 2018 calendar features news races at Silverstone and Austin. The season finale will once again be held in Cape Town. At the race weekends, the visitors hardly have time to catch a breath. Depending on the size of the grid, they get to see more than 50 races within two days.
13/04–15/04 Barcelona (E)
27/04–29/04 Montalegre (P)
11/05–13/05 Mettet (B)
25/05–27/05 Silverstone (GB)
08/06–10/06 Hell (N)
29/06–01/07 Höljes (S)
03/08–05/08 Trois-Rivières (CDN)
31/08–02/09 Lohéac (F)
14/09–16/09 Riga (LV)
28/09–30/09 Austin (USA)
12/10–14/10 Estering (D)
23/11–25/11 Cape Town (ZA)
Long-standing Audi factory driver Mattias Ekström has formed EKS at the beginning of 2014, subsequently leading the squad to the top spot in the world rankings with great personal commitment within the space of only three years. In the 2016 season, EKS, with the Audi S1 EKS RX quattro, won both the drivers’ and the teams’ world championships against strong competition from Ford, Peugeot, Volkswagen and numerous privateer teams.
Ekström wasn’t exactly entering unknown territory. He grew up in Rallycross drivers’ padocks across Europe. His father, Bengt, also competed in the Rallycross European Championship, and in 1990 he came third. Ekström was always there with him and EKS is therefore also an expression of what he loves about Motorsport: Passion and happiness. But of course, professionalism and meticulous preparation as well. “Rallycross gives you everything you could possibly want from motorsport”, says Ekström. “But a race is won months before the start and in the end, it is a team victory.”
Since: 2014 (until 2013 Rallycross European Championship)
Catagories: Supercar, Super1600, Touring Car, RX 2
Track lengths: 950m–1,400m, Joker Lap (longer alternative route), must be completed once per race by every driver
Surface: Max 60% Asphalt, Min 40% gravel.
Race format: 4 rounds of 4 races (5 starters per race), top 12 qualify for Semi Final (6 rounds), top three qualify for Final (6 rounds).