|PHOTO CREDIT: Junaid Samodien|
Mattias Ekström started the final from the back row, but he never gave up and fought his way to second place. The Swede overtook Sébastien Loeb on the opening lap. Shortly after, he also caught and passed Petter Solberg.
“We actually came to Cape Town to win the race,” said Ekström. “We were fast throughout the entire weekend, but somehow didn’t get into the right rhythm. In the finale things finally fell into place. Second is a fantastic result and a good end to a long season, in which Johan (Kristoffersson) was always a small step ahead. Even so, I’m extremely proud of the entire team: We extracted the maximum from our resources. It was also a fabulous year with Andreas (Bakkerud). We had a lot of fun together and have something to celebrate this evening.”
After four qualifying round, Ekström teammate Andreas Bakkerud was one place in front of Ekström and had reduced the deficit from four to three points in the race for silver.
In the semi-finals, Bakkerud hit the back of Kevin Hansen and was forced to park his Audi S1 EKS RX quattro suffering front right suspension damage. He nevertheless clinched third place in the drivers’ world championship.
“I touched Kevin Hansen and damaged my car’s steering. It’s a great shame that I had to give up in the semi-final. Despite all this I’m extremely satisfied with my year," said Bakkerud. "I finished third in the World Championship and working together with EKS Audi Sport was fantastic throughput the whole year. The mechanics, the chef, the media team, the truckie – each and everyone did a perfect job. And above all of course Mattias who I warmly congratulate for the World Championship runner-up title.”
After securing second place in the teams' standings, Mattias announced his withdrawal from the World Rallycross Championship, as a full-time driver.
Audi also announced earlier this year that they will withdraw factory support to the EKS squad.
“That was probably the last race for EKS Audi Sport as a factory-supported team in the World Rallycross Championship,” said Mattias Ekström. “After five amazing years it’s a very emotional moment for all of us. But I think we concluded this fantastic chapter with style today.”
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