When the flag drops Saturday on the fourth season of the FIA World Rallycross Championship in Barcelona Mattias Ekstrom will start the defense of his 2016 championship. The race has several firsts for the veteran racer. The first is that this will be the first race in which he is receiving direct factory support from Audi.
12-Event Race Calendar
The Barcelona contest kicks off a 12-event calendar. It is the first time that Barcelona hosts the season-opener. Also, it is the first time that Team EKS will field three Audi S1EKS RX quattros.
The race will take place at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya. Brimming with confidence, Eckstrom is looking forward to the start. “Last week, we did another three-day test in France and are entering the season superbly prepared,” the boss of Team EKS.
Eckstrom is not only the team manager but also the driver of one of the three S1s. “I’m very happy with the development work that was done in winter and our aim for this season is clear: we’d like to win the drivers’ and teams’ titles in the FIA World Rallycross Championship again this year.”
Part of the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, the stadium section of the track houses the rallycross section of the track. The rallycross section includes two super-fast corners – both included in Formula 1 racing, as well – though in the other direction. This circuit is one of the few tracks with very fast corners starting out on the tarmac. There are also many flat-out sections, as well.
Race Was Foundation Of Win
“Thinking about last year puts a grin on my face,” Eckstrom says. Barcelona was the event where the Flying Swede celebrated his fourth victory of the 2016 season. That win laid the foundation for his world championship win. The basis of that win was the 560-horsepower Audi S1 EKS RX Quattro, which was technically modified once again for this season.
The Barcelona race will be broadcast live to 180 countries. Coverage of the season-opener, which follows qualifying sessions on Saturday, will begin Sunday at 2 p.m. CEST. For a listing of channels, please check www.fiaworldrallycross.com/tv_listings. In some markets, it will be available online at www.fiaworldrallycross/live.