Mattias Ekström er allerede verdensmester, men både Petter Solberg og Andreas Bakkerud er med i kampen om sølv og bronse når årets rallycross-VM avgjøres i Argentina i helgen. Dramatikken kan du følge på NRK2 direkte fra klokken 18.00 søndag.
Med sine 251 poeng er Mattias Ekström allerede klar mester. Han har hatt en svært god periode i sin Audi og plukket ikke mindre enn 75 poeng på de tre siste løpene. De to siste års verdensmester Petter Solberg ligger på sølvplass med 221 poeng. Petter var endelig tilbake på pallen i forrige VM-runde med sin andreplass, men i de tre siste rundene har det kun blitt 40 poeng til sammen på Citroën-føreren. Petter ble som kjent poengløs i Latvia. Nå er det bare å håpe at suksessen med andreplass i Tyskland fortsetter i Argentina, slik at VM-sølvet kan sikres.
Men det er ikke mer enn fire poeng fra Petter ned til Johan Kristoffersson på 3. plass i VW Polo. Sju poeng bak Kristoffersson igjen følger Andreas Bakkerud. 16 poeng bak Bakkerud følger Sebastien Loeb som har hatt en bra formkurve i sin Peugeot.
Med full klaff kan det bli både norsk sølv og bronse. Det er bare å krysse fingrene for Petter og Andreas.
Kampen om VM-tittelen for team er også svært spennende. Her er det Ekströms EKS (Ekström og Topi Heikkinen) som topper, 17 poeng foran Team Peugeot Hansen (Timmy Hansen og Sebastien Loeb).
Følg den spennende kampen på NRK2 kl.18.00 søndag.
Pressemelding fra Rallycross-VM:
WORLD RX TEAMS’ TITLE TO BE DECIDED AT SEASON-CLOSER IN ARGENTINA
The final round of the FIA World Rallycross Championship presented by Monster Energy – World RX of Argentina – will see the 2016 World RX Teams’ Champion crowned in South America this weekend (26-27 November). Only 17 points separate EKS [Mattias Ekstrom and Topi Heikkinen] and Team Peugeot-Hansen [Timmy Hansen and Sebastien Loeb] so it will be all to play for during the event’s four qualifying sessions, semi-final and final where 56 points are still available.
In the Drivers’ Championship, Sweden’s Mattias Ekstrom has already been crowned the 2016 World RX Champion after accruing enough points to secure the title at the penultimate round in Germany last month. However, the fight for second and third place will go down to the wire with Norwegians Petter Solberg and Andreas Bakkerud plus Sweden’s Johan Kristoffersson covered by only 11 points [a total of 30 points are available over the weekend].
“We still have a chance of winning the teams’ title,” explained Team Peugeot-Hansen driver Sebastien Loeb who took his debut World RX victory in Latvia last month. “It won’t be easy but I’ve seen for myself several times already that anything can happen in rallycross. We will keep fighting until the very end!”
Loeb’s team-mate Hansen hinted that this year’s car could be crucial in helping the team retain its title. He explained: “The 2016-spec PEUGEOT 208 RX is faster than the 2015 car so I’m hoping for a top result to help the team win the teams’ title for the second year running.”
There have been a couple of changes to the regular World Championship driver line-up for the RX season-closer. Double DTM Champion Timo Scheider will make his third appearance of the season for the Muennich Motorsport team, at the wheel of a Seat Ibiza RX alongside Rene Muennich, while the team’s former driver, Latvia’s Reinis Nitiss will make his third appearance of the year in an Olsbergs MSE Ford Fiesta. Nitiss will step-in for regular driver Niclas Gronholm at the event alongside Sweden’s Kevin Eriksson, who won the previous round in Germany.
In addition to the regular permanent teams, former European Championship Group N event winner Nick Jones will make his World RX debut in a JRM Racing World Rallycross Mini RX, having worked as a lead mechanic for the team throughout 2016.
“Now it’s getting a bit closer I’m feeling a bit nervous, but that’s a good thing I think,” admitted Englishman Jones. “This is an amazing opportunity that JRM has given me. Guy [Wilks] showed what the car is capable of in Latvia. Everybody at JRM has bent over backwards to improve this year. In the last three rounds we’ve made a lot of progress and it’s exciting to be part of it. To get to drive the car now too is even more special. As soon as it was announced, my phone went mental. It’s just bonkers – I want to do what JRM want me to do, because you never know who is watching or what could happen in the future.»
Paul Bellamy, World RX Managing Director for IMG, concluded: “With the drivers’ title already decided, all eyes will now be on the closely-fought teams’ championship and whether EKS can finish the year on a high by wrapping up both the drivers’ and teams’ championships. The winning team’s car will then be flown direct to Vienna for the 2016 FIA prize-giving the following weekend where we will also watch Mattias crowned our new World RX Champion. As well as the teams’ championship, we have a close battle on our hands between Solberg, Bakkerud and Kristoffersson as they fight for the runner-up spot. Last year we saw Sweden’s Robin Larsson secure his maiden World RX victory in Rosario and with this season providing seven different winners so far, it’s possible we could witness our eighth different victor next weekend.”
From a Cooper Tire point of view.
Paul Coates, General Manager – Motorsport, Cooper Tire Europe, commented: “We have reached the final event of the year in Argentina, and at 7,000 miles from our manufacturing facility in Melksham, England, the tyres for this event have had a long journey over the last month to reach what is likely to be a spectacular event. Autodromo Rosario was a new track for 2015 but we are expecting changes to the unpaved sections in 2016 to better manage dust and visibility. Any impact that this has on wear rate or running temperatures will be monitored and managed by the Cooper Motorsport engineers who will work with the teams to establish appropriate car set-ups.”