|PHOTO CREDIT: Audi Sport
Mattias Ekstrom, team owner of EKS has announced that his team will not compete in the World Rallycross championship next season (2019), and the team will be selling their Audi S1 Supercars.
Ekstrom's team made its World RX debut in 2014. Two-years later the team achieved its goal of claiming both the drivers' and teams' championships.
"When I started EKS in 2014, my dream was to make a team that I always dreamed of being a driver for. That means, a white [cars] team with the best people. Coolest brands and the greatest partners, and the greatest cars."
"The Audi S1 new version was the dream car for this project, and now five-years later, we can only say that it was a success."
Mattias Ekstrom claimed victory in his teams third-ever World RX event and his home round in Sweden. The Swede also claimed a second place finish in Germany (in 2014).
"During these five-years, we had a lot of great drivers, driving our cars not only in competition I mean even through the events," he said. "I think of Walter Röhrl, Stig Blomqvist and many, many more. That has meant a lot for me to share the joy I had in our Audi S1."
"I also want to say a big thanks to IMG, FIA, the organisers, all the marshal's and also to my competitors - without you all it wouldn't have been such a great challenge and a great adventure. Last, but not least the partners and all the team members that have stood up and been loyal throughout this adventure, I can only say from the deepest of my heart: Thanks to all of you!"
Ekstrom's teammate Andreas Bakkerud joined the EKS outfit at the end of the 2017 season when Ken Block's Hoonigan team withdrew from the championship. The Norwegian claimed third place in the drivers' standings in his first full season with the team (in 2018).
"I wish you all the best for whatever you do and Andreas [Bakkerud] sorry again," said Ekstrom. "Your programme was cut short. Something is that you miss a bit of luck, but keep remembering hard work pays always off. Goodluck my friend!"
The Swede's outfit received factory support from Audi for the 2017 and 2018 World RX seasons.
"2014 when EKS started, we were private team. 2017 and 2018, we had Audi factory support and we were so-called a factory team. That was something great for us, and I also want to say a big: "Thank You" to Audi for believing in EKS, myself and all the drivers," he says. "In the end, we managed to be champion once and twice we were runner-up. Still something to be proud of. During the last five-years, we have also been focused on telling you a lot of stories. Twelve months a year, if its on snow or on ice, during a race weekend or during a normal event."
Mattias Ekstrom has confirmed that his team are selling their 2018-specification Audi S1 Quattro Supercars, and has said that EKS will support the new owners.
"Now, we are going to sell our cars, and I really hope that the new owners will have as much fun as we have had with the cars," he said. "Also, EKS will definitely support the new owners, that they can also have success and hopefully, get some trophies."
The future remains uncertain for the EKS team. "What the future will bring, we do not yet know, if we stay in the world of Rallycross, circuit racing, Esports or maybe even chess," he concludes. "Who knows, where you will see EKS again. One thing that I can promise you. We will be different to everybody else."
Mattias Ekstrom's full statement on the EKS Youtube page.