Tuesday, 7 August 2018

Gumtree World Rallycross of South Africa returns in November.

Johan Kristoffersson, 2017 FIA World Rallycross Champion leading the way with Table Mountain as the backdrop
The FIA World Rallycross Championship will return to the shores of Cape Town, South Africa on 24 and 25 of November 2018

Following on from 2017’s hugely successful event that saw almost thirty thousand people attend, this year’s races are only the second time the Gumtree World Rally Cross of South Africa has played out in Africa. 

The reception and atmosphere will undoubtedly be as highly charged and exciting as it was last year when South Africans from all walks of life lived up to their reputation for being extremely passionate, hospitable and vocal supporters. 

“It’s very important for us to come to South Africa,” said Paul Bellamy, World RX Managing Director for IMG. “This is the only FIA World Championship to have a round stage in sub-Saharan Africa. We felt the country was right for a World Championship – I can’t think of any better place in the world to visit in November than Cape Town.”

Rallycross is something special. Incredibly special. Ask Formula 1 Champion Jenson Button, who said, “These cars are awesome, what you dream about as a kid”. And he’s right. These amazing, brutal, ferocious supercars are equipped with an astounding 600bhp, allowing them to accelerate from 0 - 100km/h in less than two seconds. That’s fast. Faster than Formula 1 cars. No wonder Jenson dreams of rallycross.

World Rallycross is also the fastest growing motorsport in the world, with year-on-year increases in everything from Social Media followings to TV audiences, media attendance and merchant sales. But most important is that live attendance has shot up by 225% in five years, which means the people across the globe are catching on to the pure entertainment and utter excitement of seeing all of these magnificent motoring beasts battle it out in the flesh.

Driver entries are also on the up, and the big names will be out to play in Cape Town. Current World Champion Johan Kristoffersson will be joined by hard-racing track heroes Sebastien Loeb, Peter Solberg and Mattias Ekström. With twenty-five hugely popular drivers in all, fans will be spoilt for choice, both of whom to support and in the different driving styles on display. 

South African rallycross Driver Mark Cronje describes the event as “Unpredictable and massively entertaining. If you want to come and watch a proper motorsport event, this is the place to be.”

This is going to be a weekend of all-out, on-the-edge-of-your-seat, wouldn’t-miss-it-for-the-world and action-packed entertainment. Also on the bill will be the RX2 category and local disciplines of motor racing, as well as loads of additional entertainment on and off the track. So go on, satisfy your need for speed and head on over to the Killarney International Raceway. The sun will be out, the engines will be roaring, and the cars will be very, very fast.

World Rallycross SA – Gumtree World Rallycross of South Africa

Killarney International Raceway

Saturday, 24th November 2018 – Sunday 25th November 2018

Tickets: R220 – R750

Hospitality tickets from R2500

Tickets: www.ticketpros.co.za

For more information go to: www.fiaworldrallycross.com/capetownrx


Grönholm RX reinforces fourth position in team standings.

After the summer break, the FIA World Rallycross Championship returned to action in Canada. The GRX Taneco team worked hard to improve the performance of their Hyundai i20 Supercars during the summer break, and set their sights on securing a position in the finals, but for the seventh time in a row, both drivers made the semi-finals.

Timur Timerzyanov did not have the cleanest of weekends and was 13th overall after Q1, he made a good start in Q2 and was in the lead when he hit Jérôme Grosset-Janin’s car which was blocking the track..  

“I had a hard time this weekend! I couldn’t avoid Jérôme Grosset-Janin’s car in Q2, then made a mistake in Q3," said Timerzyanov. "I lost a lot of time, but I dug deep and managed to make up the lost time to qualify for the semis.”

Meanwhile, Niclas Grönholm made a strong start with fourth place in Q1.

“Considering the mediocre practice, my Q1 time was a surprise,” said Grönholm. “I kept apace with Mattias [Ekström] and banked a reasonable time. It’s always a boost to make a good start.” 

The Finn was eighth in Q2 and had climbed to sixth by the end of day one.   

On Sunday morning, Timur Timerzyanov got the day off to a flying start by taking the lead in Q3. However, a mistake at the end of the second lap cost the Russian time and he dropped to 13th in the standings. 

“It’s so frustrating! It’s the second time I’ve lost an advantage this weekend. I made a mistake and hit a wall. I managed to get going again but the damage was done,” the Russian said. “I’ll have to go all-out in the last round to make the semis. I’ll give it all I’ve got!”  

The Russian clinched his best result of the weekend: eighth place in Q4, which put him 11th overall and earned him a place in the semi-finals. 

Having finished sixth then fifth place in the day’s qualifying rounds, Niclas Grönholm stood seventh overall in Q4 and went mistake-free in Q4, clinching a second-row start on the semi-final grid. 

However, despite battling hard, the Finn didn’t make the final and had to be content with fourth. Timur Timerzyanov started from the back of the grid yet clawed back to a sixth place finish. 

Grönholm was not particularly happy with his semi-final race. “I’m disappointed with my semi-final," he adds. "I got off to a bad start and then had steering issues, so I wasn’t in the running for a place in the final."

Both GRX Taneco drivers are happy with the performance of the Hyundai i20 Supercars, and aim to come back stronger in France.

Monday, 6 August 2018

A weekend of highs and lows for EKS Audi Sport.

PHOTO CREDIT: Audi Sport Media.
It was a weekend of highs and lows for EKS Audi Sport at round seven of the FIA World Rallycross Championship at Trois-Rivières, Canada. Mattias Ekström qualified for the final and took fourth place, while teammate Andreas Bakkerud could not make any further progress after sustaining damage in the semi-final. 

At the Trois-Rivières round, the Audi S1 EKS RX quattro featured improvements to the suspension and the engine. 

Ekström occupied second place overall at the end of day one (Saturday). 

After a racing incident between Mattias and Sébastien Loeb’s (Peugeot), the Swede was unable to finish Q3 (on Sunday). With an impressive second place in the semi-finals, the Swede clinched a place in the final, but missed the podium there by 1.2 seconds.

From third on the grid, Andreas Bakkerud had a rocket start in the second semi-final and advanced to the front of the field. “Unfortunately, Sébastien Loeb touched the rear of my car which resulted in damage to a suspension component,” said Bakkerud. Even with the damage, the Norweigen did not give up. Lap-after-lap, he struggled to get into Turn 1 but impressively fought his way across the finish line in fourth position but missed out on making it into the final.
Andreas Bakkerud suiting up for the semi-final.

After six days of testing, EKS Audi Sport arrived in Canada on a stronger footing. The team worked on launches (starts) and testing upgrades, which helped both drivers close the gap to PSRX Volkswagen Sweden (championship leaders). “We had a really good base,” said Ekström

“For instance, we strongly improved our starts since the beginning of the season. Obviously, we’re disappointed about not being able to take home any trophies from the first overseas race of the season, but the gaps here were very small and the competition worked hard as well so that a few small mistakes had major consequences," he added. "We need to continue to prepare at full throttle in order to strike back in the next race at Lohéac.”

In four weeks’ time, World RX will return to Europe for round eight of the championship at Lohéac (France).

Super Swede Kristoffersson stages daring fight back to claim victory.

Unstoppable Kristoffersson celebrates his victory in Canada.
Super Swede Johan Kristoffersson stormed to victory at Trois-Rivieres, round seven of the FIA World Rallycross Championship, in Canada. 

The World RX Drivers’ Championship leader staged a daring fight back from two difficult qualifiers on Saturday [ninth overall] to take maximum points by winning in the Intermediate Classification, winning semi-final one and the final.

Team Peugeot Total’s Timmy Hansen joined Kristoffersson on the front row of the grid for the final and finished second, in front of team mate Sebastien Loeb in a double-podium for the French team. 

Petter Solberg started on the third row of the grid for the final next to Loeb and finished the race fourth in front of EKS Audi Sport’s Mattias Ekstrom. Team STARD driver Janis Baumanis made his first final of the season and secured the Monster Energy Supercharge Award for having the fastest reaction time at the start of the final in his Ford Fiesta Supercar.

Kristoffersson and the PSRX Volkswagen Sweden team extended their leads in the Drivers’ and Teams’ Championships respectively. “I had a very poor Saturday, I really had to dig deep for this victory. I had some traffic in Q1 and again in Q2. This morning I tried to find the rhythm but couldn’t – I wasn’t really feeling comfortable in the car on the gravel section in warm-up, so big thanks to the team and Petter who helped me so I was able to focus on the driving and compare myself against Petter on the gravel section,” said Kristoffersson. “I had a good launch in the semi-final but I didn’t have the greatest launch in the final, but Timmy didn’t either. From there on I had quite a clear gap from lap one. Peugeot were really threatening us this weekend so I need as many points as I can. It’s nice to take another victory here in Trois-Rivieres.”
Johan Kristoffersson leads Timmy Hansen in the World RX Final.

Hansen’s second podium finish of the season moved him into second in the World RX Drivers’ Championship, tied on points with Loeb. “I must say I was much more comfortable in the new Peugeot 208 this weekend than in Sweden, so I was able to push from the beginning. The semi-final was just crazy, Bakkerud managing to take the start from the second row was not in our plan but I took the joker in the right moment to win it. In the final I managed to get out second behind Johan,” said Hansen. “I had a big moment on lap one and I wanted to play it safe after that because it’s been a while since I was on the podium. We have a lot of work still to do and it’s going to keep going forward from here. It’s been a good weekend and I’m happy to share the podium with Sebastien.”

Frenchmen Loeb was the overnight top qualifier on Saturday but had a more challenging time on Sunday. “For me it was an up and down weekend, like often in rallycross. Yesterday was a perfect day, I won Q1 and Q2 with a good rhythm and the car was perfect,” he explained. “Today was not as good. I had contact with Ekstrom in Q3 and ended second overall. I didn’t have a very good start in the semi-final and then in the last corner I made a mistake. To start on the last row of the final and to finish on the podium is not too bad. I’m happy to share the podium with Timmy for Peugeot.”

GRX Taneco’s Niclas Gronholm finished fourth in semi-final one ahead of Olsbergs MSE’s Kevin Eriksson and GRX’s Timur Timerzyanov. EKS’ Andreas Bakkerud took the lead of semi-final two at the start from the second row but damaged the left-rear suspension on his Audi S1 and finished the race fourth as Team Peugeot Total’s Kevin Hansen and Olsbergs MSE’s Robin Larsson retired. GC Kompetition’s Jerome Grosset-Janin and Guerlain Chicherit had a challenging weekend and finished 13th and 15th respectively. Sebastien Loeb Racing’s Gregoire Demoustier was 14th.

Thursday, 2 August 2018

Team Peugeot Total look to confirm performance of the 208 WRX Evo in Canada.

PHOTO CREDIT: Peugeot Sport.
The evolved Peugeot 208 WRX, which had made its debut in Sweden, heads to the 7th round of the 2018 FIA World Rallycross Championship this weekend. Circuit Trois-Rivieres has been a happy hunting ground for Peugeot in the past, the team now looks forward to confirming the full potential of the Peugeot 208 WRX EVO Supercar

The Canadian round will be an opportunity for Timmy Hansen and Sébastien Loeb to claim the 1st major result for the Peugeot 208 WRX EVO, which showed great potential on its competition debut in Sweden.

Sébastien Loeb will be particularly motivated to do well, following two races with mixed fortunes in Norway and Sweden. His objective will be to do better than the 3rd place he managed in Canada in 2017. “The goal for me in Canada is to confirm that progress and I think we can be in the fight for the win," said Loeb

The Frenchman believes that the team need work on race starts. In a number of races this season, Loeb bogged off-the-line or nearly stalled. He believes that progress can still be made in this department. 

"We’ve still got some progress to make when it comes to the starts, and that’s actually a key part of the challenge in Canada, which starts off with one of the longest straights of the year," he explains. "This means that you’ve got to get away well and have good acceleration." 

Loeb believes that the Canadian round of the championship will confirm the performance of the 208 WRX Evo: "Last year, we were a bit lacking in engine power and so we were often behind at the first corner. This year, the race will be a good indication of our performance with the latest technical evolutions, especially when it comes to the engine. But we’ll only have the final verdict at Trois-Rivieres!”

Timmy Hansen won in Canada in 2016, a victory that he described as “one of the most unexpected of my career”, which underlined his determination and ability to make the most of any opportunity. 

“I’m very happy with the new Peugeot 208 WRX and the result that we so nearly had in Sweden. To be at this level in the 1st race with the car just shows the extraordinary potential for the future, and since then we’ve been working very hard to address some of the things we learned in Sweden," said Hansen. "As for Trois-Rivieres, it’s a place that I love: a proper rallycross circuit right in the middle of the town with a fantastic atmosphere. It’s very fast, so you need a good engine, and I think we have that.”

Kevin Hansen will drive the 2018-specification Peugeot 208 WRX, previously raced by Sébastien and Timmy started the season with. 

“In Sweden I started with the initial 2018-specification car, and although I thought it would feel quite similar to the car I had been driving until then, in fact there were a few things that were quite different, especially with the set-up," said Kevin Hansen. "So Sweden was a bit of a learning experience for me, and by the end I thought that we were really getting somewhere. Now my goal is to continue that progress in Canada: I feel we’re getting better all the time.”

Team Peugeot Total are currently 3rd in the provisional Teams’ Championship, just 6 points off 2nd place. In the drivers' standings, Sébastien Loeb is the leading Peugeot driver in 4th (48 points off the lead) while his team mates Timmy and Kevin Hansen are 5th and 7th respectively.

GRX Taneco sets sights on the finals in Canada.

The GRX Taneco team heads to Canada, in fourth place in the 2018 FIA World Rallycross championship (with 121 points), but the team has now revised its target for the second part of the championship as it hopes to qualify for the final of the Grand Prix de Trois-Rivières

Located 140 kilometres north-east of Montreal, the Circuit Trois-Rivières is 60% asphalt and 40% gravel. It is also the longest in the Championship with a 1370-metre layout. The lap record stands at 48.009 seconds, set in 2017.  

Timur Timerzyanov will be competing in the race for the fifth time, while Niclas Grönholm will be making his third appearance there. The Russian even managed to climb onto the third step of the podium in 2014, while Grönholm’s best result on the Canadian track – P12 – came two years later. 

“The race [in Canada] is run on quite a different circuit to what we have had so far. It is a long track with a long straight and tight turns between the walls," said Grönholm. "It’s quite an unusual setup in Rallycross but that doesn’t bother me. It should be a great race and I really hope to secure a good result to get the second half of the season off to a flying start.” 

Timur Timerzyanov used his summer break in a very different way to the other drivers. He got married...

"I’m now rearing to go! The Canadian track is one of my favourites. I finished on the podium on my first appearance there in 2014," said Timerzyanov. "Since then, I’ve always had good pace and hope to put in a solid performance this year. It’s a very fast circuit with long straights which promise some impressive peak speeds."

Both drivers have been improving their performances in the Hyundai i20 Supercars, and Timerzyanov hopes to be competitive this weekend.

"The team has done a lot of work to get the cars ready during the break and I know we’ll be competitive.”

Petter Solberg: "We found more small steps with the car that will help us from Canada."

Two-time FIA World Rallycross Champion, Petter Solberg has not had the season that he had hoped for... The Norwegian has shown his speed in the Polo R Supercar, but has not had any luck thus far. Solberg's highest finish was second in Mettet, Belgium.

After a horrid weekend for Solberg in Silverstone, he finally gained some luck finishing third in Norway. But, the Norwegian looked ahead to the up coming summer break... 

During the summer break, Petter and his son Oliver entered the Norwegian Hillclimb event. Oliver Solberg beat his father and claimed a new hill record. "I was competing against Oliver for the first time and he beat me. He set the new hill record in the [Citroen] Xsara," explains Solberg

The PSRX Volkswagen Sweden team were soon off to Riga, Latvia for the World RX test.

“It’s been a really good time since the last race in Sweden," said the Norwegian. "The test went really well in Riga, we found more small steps with the car that will help us from Canada."

Petter admits that PSRX Volkswagen Sweden heads to Canada with small improvements following the test in Latvia. 

“I don’t think there are any big steps forward in development with the Polo R Supercar now, but what we did at the test is try different solutions for the tracks we have coming in the second half of the year," said Solberg. "They’re all quite different in their nature and we need to make sure we’ve maximised the potential from the set-up."

Nothing changes in Kristoffersson's approach ahead the Canadian round.

Johan Kristoffersson, heads into the second half of the FIA World Rallycross championship, 40 points ahead of his nearest rival.. Despite the Swede's advantage in the championship, he admits that "nothing changes". 

“Nothing changes. The feeling is the same for me like it is at every race: I start again from zero. I go to Canada and I want to score the best points possible," said Kristoffersson. "Yes, we have this lead and I’m really happy that the lead is bigger than it was after round six last season, but it doesn’t mean anything. No job is done yet."

The Swede has five wins under his belt, and entered the record books when he claimed a 'clean sweep' in Norway, but he admits that: “One bad weekend and everything is completely open again."

“The plan is the same: to push as hard as possible and to look to control the weekend as much as possible," explained Kristoffersson.

Johan is under no illusion that the 2018 World RX of Canada will be easy, but he knows what it takes to WIN in Canada. The challenging street circuit boasts 60% asphalt and 40% gravel.

"I like Canada, it’s a fun place and an interesting track. Driving on a street circuit is always really demanding, there’s zero room to make a mistake. We won here last year and a repeat of that result would be really special for me," said Kristoffersson.

The 2017 World Rallycross Champion is not focused on beating his current record, but is rather focused on claiming his second championship.

“People have been talking about the potential for beating records [for event victories in a single season – Johan currently has five, the record (his record) stands at seven from last year] but I’m really not thinking about that at all," explains Kristoffersson"I know people probably don’t believe me when I say that, but it’s true. OK, you wouldn’t be normal if you didn’t think to it a little bit, but it’s a very small bit. The focus is on the championships, that’s what the season is all about for me and for the team.”

Wednesday, 1 August 2018

PREVIEW: World RX drivers' are set to unleash street fighting skills in Canada.

PHOTO CREDIT: Sutton Images.
The FIA World Rallycross Championship will resume after its summer break this weekend (4/5 August) with its first long-haul trip of 2018, to World RX of Canada at the popular Trois-Rivieres street circuit.

Since the most recent outing at Holjes in Sweden at the beginning of July, the World RX drivers and teams have spent a month recharging their batteries in preparation for the second half of the campaign and a renewed push for glory.

Trois-Rivieres has hosted high-profile international motorsport events since 1967, with the rallycross circuit – combining a section of the original street course with the nearby hippodrome – inaugurated in 2014.

Defending champion Johan Kristoffersson leads the way as a 15-strong field heads across the Atlantic for round seven of 12, and the PSRX Volkswagen Sweden driver has form in Canada, having won there last year en route to his first world title. The Swede returns as the man to beat, but with his rivals redoubling their efforts to rein him in, he will need to remain firmly at the top of his game if he is to maintain his current championship charge.

EKS Audi Sport’s Andreas Bakkerud is Kristoffersson’s closest pursuer in the points table following a consistent run over the opening half of the season, during which the Norwegian made the final in every event and tallied a trio of podium finishes. He also placed second at Trois-Rivieres in 2016, so knows his way around the challenging 1370 metre track.

Two-time champion Petter Solberg (PSRX Volkswagen Sweden), Team Peugeot Total’s Sebastien Loeb and Timmy Hansen and Bakkerud’s EKS team-mate Mattias Ekstrom are blanketed by just five points from third to sixth in the standings, and all four have reason to fancy their chances this weekend.

Solberg won the inaugural World RX of Canada and returned to the podium there last year. Having seen his scintillating speed all too often undone by ill-fortune in 2018, the Norwegian will be determined to break into the winners’ circle for the first time this season.

Loeb is sure to enjoy plenty of support from the partisan French-speaking crowd, while Hansen triumphed at Trois-Rivieres two years ago and has looked increasingly strong in recent rounds as – like Solberg – he bids to score his first victory of the campaign. Much the same can be said for 2016 title-winner Ekstrom, who can be counted upon to be a leading contender wherever the championship travels.

Hansen’s younger brother Kevin will be behind the wheel of a third Peugeot 208 WRX and will be competing in Canada for only the second time, but the young Swede has been quietly impressive thus far this season and has reached the final in each of the last three events.

GRX Taneco Team pairing Niclas Gronholm and Timur Timerzyanov have been going from strength-to-strength in the Hyundai i20 and both looked to be potential podium threats four weeks ago at Holjes before punctures scuppered their challenge. Notably, the Russian placed third at Trois-Rivieres in 2014.

The World RX Supercar field is completed by Team Stard’s Janis Baumanis, Olsbergs MSE duo Robin Larsson and Kevin Eriksson, Gregoire Demoustier for Sebastien Loeb Racing and GC Kompetition team-mates Guerlain Chicherit and Jerome Grosset-Janin, with the latter having claimed the Renault Megane RS’ first trophy with third place in Sweden.

As was the case at Silverstone in May, the World RX competitors will be joined this weekend by their Americas Rallycross Championship counterparts, including heavy-hitters of the discipline Ken Block, Scott Speed and Tanner Foust and former Formula 1 World Champion and Indianapolis 500 winner Jacques Villeneuve.

The French-Canadian – who contested a part-season of World RX in 2014 – was born less than 200km from the track and is the son of the late Gilles Villeneuve, whose legendary exploits earned him hero status both in his native Quebec and all around the world. Trois-Rivieres was where Gilles made his name in Formula Atlantic back in the mid-1970s – and the springboard that shot him towards F1 superstardom.

Jacques Villeneuve, 1997 Formula 1 World Champion, said: “Trois-Rivieres has always felt like my motorsport home, so it’s once again a pleasure to be back. Rallycross has grown exponentially since I last raced these amazing cars, and it’s good to be part of a sport on the rise. I am grateful for the opportunity to be racing a works Subaru and will do everything in my power to help the team in its Americas Rallycross endeavour.”

James Taylor, Vice President, Rallycross at IMG, commented: “After the summer break, I think it’s fair to say everybody is ready to go racing again and kick-start the second half of the season in style. There is no better place to do that than Trois-Rivieres, which has been a consistently popular fixture on the calendar since the World Championship was launched in 2014. As a venue, it is steeped in motorsport heritage, and the knowledgeable and enthusiastic fans really appreciate the spectacular show that World RX brings to town. With the addition of the third round of the Americas Rallycross Championship – and its star drivers like Jacques Villeneuve and Ken Block – there’s no question that we are in for another fantastic weekend of motorsport entertainment.”

Paul Coates, General Manager – Motorsport, Cooper Tire Europe, said: “The tyres really do go from the rough to the smooth here, with a jump added in for even more action. The quick Tarmac sections really work the tread compound and we can easily see temperatures in excess of 100°C in the tread, but the quick transition to a fine dirt helps to keep the temperatures under control.”

Americas Rallycross Championship (ARX)
The tantalising title fight in the inaugural Americas Rallycross Championship (ARX) is set to intensify at Trois-Rivieres, as Volkswagen Andretti Rallycross team-mates Scott Speed and Tanner Foust lock horns for the third time this season. Foust drew first blood in the series curtain-raiser at Silverstone, before Speed fought back last time out at Circuit of The Americas to leave the pair separated by a single point in the classification. Other leading protagonists will be Hoonigan Racing superstar Ken Block and Subaru Rally Team USA stablemates Patrik Sandell and Chris Atkinson – while former Formula 1 World Champion Jacques Villeneuve will undoubtedly be the crowd’s favourite as he makes his ARX debut in a third Subaru WRX STI. Steve Arpin (Loenbro Motorsports Ford Focus RS RX), Rene Muennich (Team Stard Ford Fiesta) and Oliver Bennett (XITE Racing BMW MINI Cooper) round out the entries.

RX2 International Series
The scrap for supremacy in the RX2 International Series is reaching fever pitch, after Guillaume De Ridder cut early-season championship leader Oliver Eriksson’s advantage at the summit of the standings to just six points at Holjes with his second victory from four rounds in 2018. The Olsbergs MSE pairing have been the class of the field to-date this year, but impressive rookie Henrik Krogstad is keeping them very honest in third, as is his JC Raceteknik team-mate Ben-Philip Gundersen, who won the Mettet curtain-raiser. Fifteen drivers will take to the track this weekend, and with eight of them podium-finishers in the World RX feeder series, the scene is set for a spectacularly close battle.

Joining the World RX support package for the first time, the ARX2 field at Trois-Rivieres will be headlined by round one podium-finishers Conner Martell (Dirtfish Motorsports), Christian Brooks (Dreyer & Reinbold Racing) and Cole Keatts (Peters & Keatts Racing). The Canadian event takes the form of a big points-paying double-header, with separate rounds on Saturday and Sunday.

EKS Audi Sport heads to Canada with detailed improvements.

EKS Audi Sport heads off to the second half of the 2018 FIA World Rallycross season at Trois-Rivières, Canada, 45 points behind teams' championship leaders, PSRX Volkswagen Sweden.

The two Audi S1 EKS RX Quattro's will feature detailed improvements to the suspension and engine. These improvements were tested at Höljes and Riga. 

The street circuit in the Franco-Canadian city of Trois-Rivières 125 km north-east of Montreal. The circuit is 60 % asphalt and 40 % gravel. It measures 1.370 km (Joker Lap: 1.455 km).

“Canada has the longest straight of the season on which we’re more than 200 km/h fast,” says Mattias Ekström. The Swede views the braking in front of the subsequent turn as a true challenge: “It’s a real humdinger because we arrive there at such high speed. I like the track even though I haven’t scored big time there yet.” 
The updated EKS RX Audi S1 Quattro being tested in Latvia.
PHOTO CREDIT: Motoru Sports Latviski

Ekström suffered a lot of misfortune at previous rounds in Canada. Having started there three times, he made it into the final once. The Swede’s best result was sixth place in the 2015 season.

His teammate, Andreas Bakkerud, heads to Canada as the runner-up in the World RX [40 points behind Kristoffersson] and has been on podium once at Trois-Rivières, in 2016. 

“Even so, I haven’t really unlocked all the track’s secrets,” said Bakkerud. “Confirming my speed from the season’s first six races in Canada will be no mean feat. After a four-week break, I’m now all fired up again to contest another race. I know that EKS has always been fast at Trois-Rivières.”