Still, the DTM opener at Hockenheim from May 6 to 8 will be a special weekend for the two-time DTM Champion. The versatile Swede is venturing a double start, competing in both the DTM and the FIA World Rallycross Championship (World RX).
“Being able to race in the DTM and in rallycross at Hockenheim is like Christmas and Easter combined on a single day for me,” says the 2004 and 2007 DTM Champion. “I’m very thankful to Audi for this unique opportunity. Following the final pre-season tests in my Red Bull Audi RS5 DTM at Hockenheim, I’m all fired up for the first two DTM races of the new season. We have good chances of repeating last year’s victories. That I’ll be able to additionally compete with world stars like Ken Block, Petter Solberg and Sébastien Loeb at the wheel of my S1 EKS RX quattro in front of thousands of Audi fans at the Motodrom is fantastic. On Friday and Saturday, I’ll definitely be on the grid. On Sunday, the time between the DTM qualifying session and the final rallycross races is pretty short. But, I’d have to qualify for the RX finals to begin with.”
A round of the near-600-hp RX cars was held as part of the DTM season opener last year as well. At that time, however, the tight schedule did not permit Mattias Ekström to race in his privateer rallycross team, EKS. This year, the starting times of the two DTM races on Saturday (16:00) and Sunday (14:30) are clearly more favorable – at least on Saturday. That is why Head of Audi Motorsport Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich gave his most successful DTM driver the green light for his double start. “Many of our factory drivers have programs alongside the WEC or the DTM, for instance in Formula E, the Super Formula in Japan or in GT racing. With reach race, they gather additional experience that we benefit from. This applies to Mattias as well, who has invested a lot of passion in building his rallycross team and, what’s more, competes in an Audi.”