Interview - Mattias Ekstrom How are you looking forward to your World Championship debut in the Skoda Fabia WRC? I am really looking forward to it because it has been the focus of my attention for so many weeks and months now. I'm feeling ...
Interview - Mattias Ekstrom
How are you looking forward to your World Championship debut in the Skoda Fabia WRC?
I am really looking forward to it because it has been the focus of my attention for so many weeks and months now.
I'm feeling quite confident about it after all of our recent tests and there is nothing about the rally that is worrying me right now.
How many kilometres have you driven in the Skoda Fabia WRC? I havent really been counting the exact figure but I think it is around 600kms including about 65kms on the national rally I did last weekend.
Apart from testing is there any other special preparation you have made for the rally?
For sure yes! Since the national rally I went to the Skoda Motorsport base at Mlada Boleslav to work with the guys there. They made me change alternator belts and build parts of the suspension all sorts of things that I might have to do if we have a problem during the rally. They turned me from being a driver into a mechanic!
How important was taking part in the Dan Anderssons Minne national rally?
It was very important for my preparation in many ways. It doesnt matter what area of motorsport you are competing in, there is no substitute for actual competitive driving even at a small level because the pressure of actually having to stay within a time schedule makes everything different.
The Skoda Motorsport World Rally Team has nominated you for Manufacturers Championship points. Does this add any extra pressure?
No not at all. In fact the best thing about it is that the team has shown confidence in my ability and that is a very nice feeling. All I have to do now is drive my best and try to get a good result for the team.
What is your realistic target for the result in Sweden?
I cant talk about specific results because I dont know what will happen on the event. At the team we have discussed the plan and the main target for the rally is to have a clean run for all three cars. I want to get through the first stage without any problems and finish the final stage exactly the same way thats the only target I'm setting myself.
The readers of a rally website in Sweden have voted that you will be the highest placed Swedish driver on the rally. How do you feel about that?
That's very nice of them but I really dont know what will happen. There are a lot of good drivers on the event that have more experience than me. If I'm the highest placed Swede then it will be nice but thats not my priority.
Does anything from the DTM help you when you are competing on the WRC?
If the rally turns out to be full snow then I will have to follow the lines that are available to me. However, if the roads dont have snow banks then the roads will be wider and so I can choose my own lines if the grip is even. That might be the only time that knowing racing lines will help.
Is Sweden a one-off drive for Skoda Motorsport or are you hoping to compete with the team again this year?
If the Swedish Rally goes well, and I will do my best to achieve that, then it would be nice to do perhaps a tarmac rally at the end of the season. However I cant mix DTM and WRC during the season because you have to be completely focused on one or the other.
I'm very happy that Audi Sport has allowed me this chance to drive for another part of the VW Group in a different sport but once the rally is over my concentration will turn completely to retaining the DTM title. If that season goes well then I might be back in the Fabia WRC but well have to wait and see.