Fredrik Ekblom celebrates his WTCC debut with BMW Team UK. Three of the remaining six FIA WTCC race events this season will see BMW Team UK receive extra reinforcement in the shape of Fredrik Ekblom (SWE). The 36-year-old Swede will be...
Fredrik Ekblom celebrates his WTCC debut with BMW Team UK.
Three of the remaining six FIA WTCC race events this season will see BMW Team UK receive extra reinforcement in the shape of Fredrik Ekblom (SWE). The 36-year-old Swede will be celebrating his World Touring Car Championship debut on home ground on 29th July 2007, when he joins team-mate Andy Priaulx (GBR) on the "Scandinavian Raceway" in Anderstorp for the first time. Further race appearances are scheduled in Monza (ITA) and at the season finale in Macau (CHN).
An old hand in racing, Ekblom is already familiar with Belgium's RBM Team under the auspices of team boss Bart Mampaey (BEL). In the European Touring Car Championship 2002 Ekblom sported the colours of BMW Team Belgium in his BMW 320i, managing three podium appearances and a total of 21 points for the season. "Fredrik is no stranger to us, said Bart Mampaey. Six years ago our RBM Team joined its first FIA Touring Car competition with him in its ranks. Now we are pleased to have him back, supporting Andy Priaulx in the fight for the title. In the closing stages of the World Championship it is especially helpful for a team to have two cars on the starting grid."
"I am pleased to be able to join six World Championship races for BMW Team UK - two of which will even be happening in my home country at Anderstorp," Ekblom said. I have never lost contact to RBM and I have followed the team's enormous success over the years with great enthusiasm. It is really impressive to see what Bart Mampaey has managed to build up with his crew and with Andy Priaulx. I had a good time with them in 2002 and hope that I can contribute a few points as we move into the deciding stages of the championship."
Ekblom is quite familiar with the BMW 320si WTCC that will carry the Swedish flag, having already raced it for Team WestCoast Racing in the Swedish Touring Car Championship (STCC). After five race weekends he is currently leading the championship on 29 points, already winning the race series twice in 1998 and 2003. Ekblom is also an experienced driver of other BMW cars, having joined the American Le Mans Series (ALMS) in a BMW M3 GTR in 2001.
For two-times World Touring Car Champion Andy Priaulx, this will not be the first time he has had a team-mate for extra support: in 2005 and 2006 Duncan Huisman (NLD) and Jan Magnussen (DEN) joined BMW Team UK to support the Englishman in his fight for the title at the showdown in Macau.
One month after this year's WTCC final, London's brand new Wembley Arena will be hosting another highlight for Priaulx: the Race of Champions. Last Wednesday the 32-year-old took his BMW 320si WTCC to the official presentation of the event, which shows how the best drivers in the world measure up when driving different race cars. But before the big day comes round on 16th December 2007, Priaulx will be looking to defend his title one more time with the help of Fredrik Ekblom.