EKSTROM QUITS D TM TO FOCUS ON RALLY CROSS
Audi’ s help means swede will gun f oran other wrx title
Two-time DTM champion Mattias Ekstrom has ended his 17-year spell in the series and will focus solely on his EKS team’s World Rallycross campaign with continued support from Audi in 2018.
Ekstrom announced the news at a press conference in Salzburg in Austria on Monday, and confirmed that new World RX cars are being built in conjunction with Audi.
“This is a big junction in my career, last time I took such a decision was at the end of 2000 when I had to decide to do Super1600 with Peugeot or DTM with Audi,” Ekstrom told Motorsport News. “I know these [decisions] shape your life in many ways. Now I’m ready to take the consequences of this new life.”
The Swede has reiterated several times that he would not continue with his World RX programme without manufacturer support. Audi Sport’s involvement is currently focused on the development of new cars.
“When we saw last year that we had some new competitors that raised the bar, I understood we had to build new cars,” he said. “We have been discussing that for quite a while, at the same time the engineers were collecting information from the cars we had. Now it will be a stronger co-operation, which I’m really happy for. It wouldn’t have been possible to build a new car in this time [without Audi’s support].”
Ekstrom is yet to reveal what model of cars those will be, how many they will run, or who aside from himself will drive them. “For size, I still believe the S1 is the best for rallycross, they are short and the bumpers are round so you can race super tight, but what cars actually do turn up I think you will see when we get to the first test in Loheac.
“I really hope that our new babies will be competitive so we can at least go to every race weekend with the hope that we can win. There will be minimum two [cars] and the maximum number we don’t know. There’s no secret that EKS and Audi love winning so we are working on finding the best possible drivers. We have a lot of options.”
Former champ Ekstrom will have a new Audi Ekstrom will go full-time in World