05 July 2013 ~ 0 Comments

Ekström fourth at 2013 X Games Munich; Marklund retires

2013 X Games Munich: Mattias Ekström

Two-time DTM champion Mattias Ekström finished fourth at the wheel of a Marklund Motorsport Volkswagen Polo R in the rallycross final of the X Games in Munich. In front of a full-capacity audience, Ekström expertly took his 500bhp Red Bull-liveried Polo to the finishing line on the ‘FröttmaRing’, a course specially created for the X Games within sight of Munich’s Allianz Arena. The guest driver also came first in his qualifying race on the 807-metre course. ‘I really enjoyed the rallycross and the performance of the Polo was very good,’ said Ekström after the race. The Swede had already achieved a satisfying fifth place on Saturday, in the race that had had to be postponed from the X Games in Barcelona.

From practice, into seeding and then in the heats, the Swede was incredibly fast. Pitched against Isachsen, Menzies and Lasek, in his heat, Ekström held his own, getting straight into pole position off the start line. Maintaining his pace throughout, Ekström finished the six laps three seconds ahead of his competitors. Moving into the final, Ekström faced a tough battle, with Isachsen almost on top of him on the first corner, coming out from the tussle in seventh. As Deegan exited the race on the second lap, the Marklund Motorsport driver was propelled into sixth, ahead of Block. In the third and fourth laps, Ekstrom stayed close to fifth place Bell, almost passing him on several occasions and eventually clearing him on the fifth jump.

Despite holding his place for a further three laps, Block overtook him on the first corner of the final lap. Ekström kept in close pursuit, managing to tactically claim fourth, passing Block on the very last corner. Ekström placed fifth in round two on the previous day: ‘I’m very pleased with the two days as a whole. I learned a lot, I had a great time and really enjoyed the experience but I can’t deny that the results could have been better. Fourth and fifth is just outside of the medals – I came here with the dream of getting one even though I was entering as a rookie. I cannot say enough of the team and everyone that has given me the chance to do this and I cannot wait for next weekend in Holjes (Sweden).’

Having taken fourth place in round two the day before, the team’s first driver Anton Marklund did not have the same luck as his teammate on the second day. Marklund’s heat started well, with the driver in second position for the first two laps but unfortunately crashed into the tyre barrier after close contact with Arpin on the fourth lap and could not finish. Also in a strong position at the beginning of the LCQ, a restart had all drivers back to the grid on lap two. Extremely close contact on the first corner of the restarted race had Marklund out of the running and unable to continue as the LCQ was restarted for a second time. Clearly disappointed with the result of day two in Munich, Marklund stated, ‘Both me and Mattias had good pace at the start of the day but lots of contact and some bad crashes meant I was unable to make it to today’s final. I’m happy that Mattias has taken his first weekend in rallycross head on and come out with a great result that the whole team is very proud of.’

[Images: QBA/Qnigan.com]

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