Mattias Ekstrom Stripped of Season Opener World RX Race Victory
First round of the 2018 World RX Championship season is over, but not without drama including an overturned decision.
Mattias Ekstrom piloting his EKS Audi Sport S1 was originally the winner of the season opening round of the 2018 FIA World Rallycross Championship at the World RX of Catalunya-Barcelona at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya. The decision has since been overturned stripping Ekstrom of his victory.
During the run into turn one, Ekstrom and PSRX Volkswagen driver Petter Solberg driving a VW Polo R made contact. The contact pushed Solberg into the inside and into track markers bringing him to a complete stop. Ekstrom went on to win the race, with Solberg's teammate Johan Kristoffersson claiming second place.
Race stewards went on to review the incident. "Having reviewed the video evidence and heard from both competitors and drivers, the Stewards consider that car [No.] 5 (Ekstrom) moved left and made contact with car [No.] 11 (Solberg) on his left. Car [No.] 5 continued to move left, which forced car [No.] 11 off track, causing him to collide with track markers at the entry of turn one, and get stuck. Further, the Stewards considered this to be a dangerous manoeuvre and liable to hinder car [No.] 11."
The race stewards decision stripped Ekstrom of the win, disqualified him from the final, and handed first place over to Solbergs teammate Kristoffersson. Ekstrom will receive no points for the final race, but he will retain his points from the semi-final races and it puts him currently in fourth place overall in the standings.
Behind Kristoffersson, Sébastien Loeb jumped up to second place with fellow EKS driver Andreas Bakkerud rounding out the top three.
The next round of the 2018 World Rallycross Championship season is the World RX of Portugal at Montalegre April 28.
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