Swedes dominate in Hockenheim

Courtesy of Red Bull Newsroom

Mattias Ekstrom and Timmy Hansen at the FIA World RallyCross Championship Hockenheim Circuit in Germany on the 7th May 2017 –
Photographer Credit:
@World / Red Bull Content Pool

Reigning champion Ekström claims third World RX win with Timmy on podium.

Mattias Ekström continued an imperious start to his FIA World Rallycross Championship title defence by edging out Johan Kristoffersson and Timmy Hansen for Hockenheim victory in Round Three.

The EKS driver led home his compatriots for an all-Swedish podium in tricky, wet conditions that played havoc with Timmy’s younger brother Kevin.

Timmy Hansen at the FIA World RallyCross Championship Hockenheim Circuit in Germany on the 7th May 2017 –
Photographer Credit:
@World / Red Bull Content Pool

His third win on the spin to open the 2017 season means that Ekström now leads Kristoffersson by 16 points with Team Peugeot-Hansen drivers Sebastien Loeb and Timmy fourth and fifth in the standings.

In the first semi-final, the drivers were hampered by the early Sunday morning start which meant they only had a couple of warm-up laps on the greasy track.

After getting barged around in Saturday qualifying, Kevin’s troubled weekend continued when he hit the barriers ahead of the start forcing his mechanics into a quick patch up so he could take his place on the grid.

It didn’t matter, though, as Kevin was forced off early on leaving his team-mate Loeb to battle it out with the two Volkswagens of Kristoffersson and Petter Solberg.

Sebastien Loeb and Kevin Hansen at the FIA World RallyCross Championship Hockenheim Circuit in Germany on the 7th May 2017 –
Photographer Credit:
@World / Red Bull Content Pool

The Frenchman was quicker on the tarmac, but his rivals had the edge on the dirt to qualify ahead of him for the final with Kevin forced to settle for 12 German points.

Toomas Heikkinen went far too wide in the first corner of the second semi-final with Timmy settling into the early lead and Ekström right up behind him.

On the second lap, Timmy didn’t see the carnage from Ken Block’s earlier crash and lost his front right with the Peugeot quicker on the tarmac but Audis better on the dirt.

Timmy locked up and went into the gravel on the last lap to let Ekström through, but thankfully came out ahead of Heikkinen after his joker lap.

In the final, Ekström got away quickly to take the early lead from Kristoffersson as Heikkinen immediately took his joker.

Timmy went in for his joker on the second lap to try and put pressure on the front two and exited to get ahead of Solberg thanks to a great move.

However, Ekström drove a textbook race to secure another win from Kristoffersson’s Volkswagen, who have a commanding team lead, leaving Timmy to round out the Swedish podium.

Mattias Ekstrom at the FIA World RallyCross Championship Hockenheim Circuit in Germany on the 7th May 2017 –
Photographer Credit:
@World / Red Bull Content Pool

Mattias said, “Feel super happy. We were really struggling in Q1 and Q2 and, after Q3 and Q4 last night, the guys had to work. I am so proud of them. I didn’t do much this weekend.”

Timmy added, “What a tough day. I tried my hardest to stay ahead of Mattias in the semi. I am happy we got home safe in the final. We had to be so smooth and so tidy. Difficult to keep calm. Congratulations to Mattias for his third event in a row.”

Mattias Ekstrom and Timmy Hansen at the FIA World RallyCross Championship Hockenheim Circuit in Germany on the 7th May 2017 –
Photographer Credit:
@World / Red Bull Content Pool

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