|PHOTO CREDIT: FIA World Rallycross Media|
Mattias Ekström has very special memories of the Estering race track in Buxtehude.
In 2017, Ekström won the German World Rallycross Championship round in Buxtehude; and in 2016, the Swede claimed his one and only World RX title at the German circuit. “It's one of the venues on the World RX calendar that I have the best memories of,” says Ekström. "The Estering will always have a special place in my heart."
The short 925-meter track – particularly the hairpin bend after the start-finish straight has impressed Ekström the most. “It's a fantastic corner,” says the Ekström. “You approach it at high speed, pull the handbrake hard and slide sideways. It's the most spectacular spot on the Estering and one of the best on the World RX calendar.”
Overtaking is virtually impossible, and this makes the start at the Estering crucial. The entrance to the Joker Lap, where the track surface changes from tarmac to gravel, is especially tricky. Because the passage ends just before the finish line, the winner at the Estering is often only decided when the checkered flag drops.
In 2015, Ekström finished just 0.005 seconds behind race winner Petter Solberg. It was the most closely-contested finish in the history of the World Rallycross Championship.
The current battle for second place in the drivers’ championship is heating up. With two rounds left, Mattias Ekström 204 points, Petter Solberg 202 points, Andreas Bakkerud 200 points and Sébastien Loeb 195 points are separated by just nine points.
“Obviously, we all want the runner-up title,” says Andreas Bakkerud. “It's good to know that in recent years Audi has always done well at the Estering.”