Ekstrom WRX team selling Audi S1s, could leave series
Mattias Ekstrom's championship-winning EKS World Rallycross team faces an uncertain future, and may not continue with its Audi-backed project in the series next season.
The squad, formed in 2014, won both the World RX drivers’ and teams’ titles last year, while Ekstrom won the opening three rounds of the 2017 campaign.
The Swede made no secret of the fact that the squad would be unable to continue in World RX for the defence of its crowns if additional support from Audi Sport was not secured for this term, but the German marque stepped in to back Ekstrom’s team.
Asked if he will continue in World RX in 2018, Ekstrom told Motorsport.com: “I would love to continue but I don’t know if we are continuing.
"As a driver I would love to continue in rallycross. If I answer as a driver, I can see my DTM career – with Mercedes pulling out – coming to an end in 2018. I would enjoy doing rallycross for a couple more years.
"But from a team perspective it’s a different story. I don’t know if we will have what it takes to be here next year.”
The Swede, third in the current standings, says his love for rallycross Supercars hasn’t wavered since he first took part in 2013.
“What will never change is my love of the cars. When I sit in the car and go out on track, I love every single moment because these are the greatest cars. For sure the racing is also great.
"Everybody is here to win, but there is also only one winner and I don’t really enjoy losing, so we will fight as good as we can all season long.”
In the Loheac paddock on Thursday evening, the squad revealed that it will sell four of its five Audi S1 Supercar chassis’, and invited teams and drivers from the paddock to view the cars, in its creatively named ‘used car sales’ awning.
The S1s will sold be via an eBay auction, which will conclude with a live event on the evening of the German round of the series at the Estering, on September 29. The cars are for sale individually, of as a ‘family package’ (a job-lot including all spares). Ekstrom’s title-winning S1, that he is racing this year, will remain in the Swede’s possession.
“To sell the cars is a little bit difficult, that’s why my car is not for sale. I’m not married, so that’s my wife,” he said.
“If we will continue then we will have to build new cars for sure, but that one I will keep because there is too much emotion attached to it.”
Speaking in a team principal’s press conference in Loheac, Team Peugeot-Hansen boss Kenneth Hansen revealed that his Peugeot-backed squad is also yet to confirm its future plans, while talking about the development of the Peugeot 208 WRX Supercar and targeting victory in Loheac this weekend.
“We are for sure aiming for the top in Loheac,” he said. “For the winter, I don’t know yet how the future looks, but of course if we should be here next, then we should do something during the winter to try to develop.
"It’s difficult to say exactly what; we’ve tried our best during the season, we have a great car, it works very fine and it’s not been enough still, but hopefully here [it will be].”
Hansen’s squad has won at least one event in every season of World RX so far.
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