World cham­pion gets fac­tory sup­port for 2017

Motor Sport News - - Sporting Scene - By Hal Ridge Pho­tos: Audi Me­dia

DTM and World Ral­ly­cross racer Mat­tias Ekstrom has se­cured fac­tory Audi Sport sup­port for his EKS team to de­fend his FIA World Ral­ly­cross Cham­pi­onship ti­tle.

Swedish driver Ekstrom won the World RX Driv­ers’ Cham­pi­onship in 2016 and the team also claimed the Teams’ ti­tle with its pair of pri­vately-run Audi S1 quat­tros.

It has been an­nounced that the Ger­man man­u­fac­turer, for which Ekstrom also drives in DTM, will play an in­creased role in the squad for this year.

“We laid a lot of ground­work as a team in the first three years, gath­ered im­por­tant ex­pe­ri­ences and set new stan­dards with EKS,” said Ekstrom. “But it was also clear to us that we’d need sup­port for the fu­ture in or­der to be able to con­tinue on this level.

“That EKS is now re­ceiv­ing fac­tory back­ing by Audi makes me very happy. Ral­ly­cross has a great fu­ture, also with po­ten­tial elec­tri­fi­ca­tion in the se­ries.”

EKS was cre­ated in 2014, and has al­ready en­joyed ac­cess to Audi Sport’s sup­pli­ers and part­ners, but 2017 will be the first time Audi has had an of­fi­cial pres­ence in the sport.

The an­nounce­ment means that there are now four-fac­tory backed squads in the se­ries, Audi join­ing Volk­swa­gen (PSRX – Volk­swa­gen Swe­den), Peugeot (Team Peugeot-hansen) and Ford (Hooni­gan Rac­ing Di­vi­sion).

“We re­alise that it’s go­ing to be in­creas­ingly dif­fi­cult for EKS to hold its own against the fac­tory teams [in World RX], so we chose to in­ten­sify our World RX com­mit­ment,” said Di­eter Gass, head of Audi Mo­tor­sport.

The Ger­man mar­que with­drew from its suc­cess­ful pro­gramme in the World En­durance Cham­pi­onship at the end of last year and will have an of­fi­cial pres­ence in For­mula E, DTM and now World RX this year.

Ekstrom won the 2016 world ti­tle

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