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Rough time in Belgium

Initially, events at the Circuit Jules Tacheny seemed to be a repetition of the most recent rounds. Mattias, Topi and Reinis were struggling to keep pace with the front runners in the first sessions. “Saturday was rough,” says Mattias, who after two of four qualifying rounds was only ranked in position seven. “Q3 and Q4 were highs and lows then – a really good result and a really bad one after we suffered suspension damage in Q4. That cost us a better grid position in the semi-final.” There, Mattias took position three and, as a result, qualified for the final of the top six drivers. “From the third row, I tried everything, but overtaking here is near-impossible. Fourth place was the best I could do.”

A victory would have made Mattias the first driver in World RX history to have won four rounds in a row. “I’m not interested in records. I’m still the leader of the standings and that’s what matters,” says the 38-year-old. Teammate Topi for the fourth time this season qualified for the semi-final where he fought a number of fierce position battles and was ultimately eliminated in sixth place. “This is not the result I was hoping for. I’ve won twice before in Belgium, but this weekend I was lacking that little bit of fortune you need in rallycross.” Reinis was in a similar situation. In the third Audi S1 EKS RX quattro, he won two of his four qualifying rounds, but in position 13 barely missed the opportunity to compete in the semi-final. “Absolutely disappointing. The semi-final is always the minimum aim, but I’m going to learn from my mistakes and go for all-out attack again in England,” says the Latvian. At Lydden Hill, round five of the season will be held on May 27 and 28. Last year, Mattias won the round on the oldest track in rallycross history.

2017 World RX – round 4, Mettet – results of final

1 Johan Kristoffersson (S) 4m 02.316s
2 Timmy Hansen (S) +0.924s
3 Petter Solberg (N) +0.935s
4 Mattias Ekström (S) +3.057s
5 Kevin Eriksson (S) +11.269s
6 Andreas Bakkerud (N) +4 laps

2017 FIA World RX drivers’ standings (after 4 of 12 rounds)

1 Mattias Ekström (S) 101 points
2 Johan Kristoffersson (S) 98 points
3 Petter Solberg (N) 87 points
4 Timmy Hansen (S) 72 points
5 Sébastien Loeb (F) 62 points
8 Toomas Heikkinen (FIN) 40 points
10 Reinis Nitišs (LV) 37 points

2017 FIA World RX teams’ standings (after 4 of 12 rounds)

1 PSRX Volkswagen Sweden 185 points
2 EKS 141 points
3 Team Peugeot Hansen 134 points