|Andreas Bakkerud leads Timmy Hansen (Peugeot) and Petter Solberg.|
PHOTO CREDIT: Audi Sport
Timmy Hansen (Peugeot) and Andreas Bakkerud made contact in the final, sending the Peugeot sideways across the front of the Audi and prompting both to slide across the inside of the first corner. Hansen and Bakkerud came to a halt to untangle themselves, allowing their rivals to break away.
The two Audi drivers from EKS Audi Sport experienced a changeable weekend. Following the first two qualifying sessions on Saturday, Ekström and Bakkerud placed fourth and seventh in the intermediate classification. In the third qualifying session on Sunday, Ekström received a five-second penalty due to a collision with Petter Solberg. In Q4, his car stopped on the starting line due to a mechanical issue. Even with this set back, Ekström made it into the semi-finals together with Andreas Bakkerud.
Both Audi drivers clinched second place in their semi-finals. As a result, for the fourth time this year, both EKS Audi Sport drivers qualified for the final of the top six.
Mattias Ekström, who had started alongside Bakkerud from the second row, pulled off with a dream start and after six laps only had to admit defeat to winner Johan Kristoffersson by 0.788 seconds.
“Sunday didn’t start well and the points we lost in qualifying hurt us,” says Mattias Ekström. “In the semi-finals and the final, I managed to advance to second position with two rocket starts. We’re happy that now we’re able to take the trophy home.”
Andreas Bakkerud did not have the race weekend that he had expected. Last year, he showed fantastic pace, but this year proved to be a challenge. “My home round at Hell was really tough,” says Bakkerud. “On day one, I didn’t keep pace. On Sunday, things got better. In the final, I was simply unfortunate: Timmy Hansen spun in front of me and I had to wait until he had restarted his engine and I came sixth.”