Former World Rallycross Champion Mattias Ekström will make a return to World RX for the 2020 season-opener in Sweden this weekend with KYB Team JC, replacing Jānis Baumanis.
PHOTO CREDIT: JC Raceteknik.
Having announced his retirement from World RX at the end of the 2018 season. Ekström made his rallycross return last year at the World RX of Benelux with JC Raceteknik in his 2016 championship-winning Audi S1. Later that year, he also raced in the RallyX Nordic finale at Tierp, alongside Robin Larsson who he will race alongside this weekend.
Baumanis will not be able to take part in the full World RX season with KYB Team JC due to the economic effects of the Coronavirus [COVID-19] pandemic creating budget problems for the Latvian driver.
Mattias Ekström has won twice before on his home circuit, in 2014 and 2015, and won the World RX Drivers’ title in 2016, which makes him the ideal candidate to replace Baumanis.
"Since we have a vacant Audi S1 EKS Supercar for Holjes, I contacted Mattias," Joel Christoffersson, KYB Team JC Team Principal said. "He has been a guest driver in the team twice before and thought, just like us, that it would be great fun to drive in his home race. Mattias will be a strong addition to KYB Team JC. He is a driver with many tips and tricks and if there is anyone who knows these cars, it’s him. It will definitely be an advantage for both Robin and us as a team to have him with us."
"It’s sad that Janis won’t race in the full World Championship with KYB Team JC this year, I and the whole team had really looked forward to this collaboration. But given the situation around Covid-19, I think everyone understands that something like this could happen and I hope we can take up the collaboration with him again."
The 2016 World RX Champion will test at Dalarna in Sweden on Tuesday ahead of his rallycross return this weekend.
"It's always fun to compete. Rallycross has, and has always had, fast and fun cars that I enjoy driving," Ekström said. "So, competing with Joel and JC again feels good, especially after the final round of RallyX Nordic at Tierp last season where I had the opportunity to give Robin some support. Robin has already won an event at Holjes this year, so is already in the groove."
"My biggest priority this weekend is to have as much fun as possible. But of course, the day I do not dream of winning is the day I stop competing."
"The goal is always a trophy, but then we will see what is realistic according to the conditions. Holjes is always special, but this year it will be something completely unique without the fans. It’s a strange feeling, but still exciting."
Written By - Junaid Samodien