Courtesy of Red Bull Newsroom
Mattias Ekström wins again to continue dominant start to FIA World RX season.
The reigning World Champion and EKS driver won the first race of 2017 in Barcelona and prevailed in Montalegre to make it two wins from two.
Sebastién Loeb for Team Peugeot-Hansen came in a close second as he secured his first podium finish of the season with teammate Timmy Hansen in fourth.
Teammates Petter Solberg and Johan Kristoffersson had looked the strongest over the weekend for the PSRX Volkswagen team but Ekström delivered when it mattered most.
After winning his semi-final, the Swede lined up alongside two-time former champion Solberg on the front row as six drivers contested the final.
A rear left puncture put an end to Solberg’s race early on with Kristoffersson then taking over the lead.
But Ekström was too strong and quickly found himself in top spot in his Audi S1 with WRC legend Loeb chasing him down having also found a way past Kristoffersson.
A close battle ensued but Ekström crossed the finish line first with a time of three minutes, 59.345 seconds to extend his early lead in the Championship standings.
Kristoffersson took the final podium place ahead of Timmy Hansen.
Ekström said: “I must say this is one of my hardest fought wins in rallycross. We knew this would be a difficult one.
“I’m super happy for myself because it’s always nice to win but as a team owner to have all three cars in the semi-finals is really nice.
“It was a really enjoyable fight (with Loeb) and to see so many cars close together, it’s a great way to win a race when the competition is so hard.”