Ekström again showed his extraordinary versatility behind the wheel to claim his fourth Champion of Champions.
30 January, 2023
Never one to sit around idle, Mattias Ekström has claimed his fourth Race of Champions title only weeks after competing in the Dakar Rally for Team Audi Sport. The The two-time DTM champion and rallycross world champion was literally right at home at this year’s event which was held on a frozen lake in Pite Havsbad in his native Sweden.
Each year the greatest racing drivers from all motorsport disciplines come together to race off to find the Champion of Champion in what has become a highlight of the international motorsport calendar.
Racing in the individual classification (there are also team events each year), Ekström was unbeatable, taking down Johan Kristoffersson and then Thierry Neuville in the quarter finals before meeting Formula 1 driver, Mick Schumacher in the final.
This was a particularly emotional race for the Swede given that two of his previous Race of Champions victories came against the legendary Formula 1 driver, Michael Schumacher – Mick’s father.
The first heat saw the two racing in Polaris all-wheel drive vehicles, with Ekström taking a commanding victory over his young rival of 10.6 seconds. The second race, this time driving Supercar Lites around the ice track was the last chance for Schumacher bring it back to one each or see Ekström to add a fourth title to his impressive record.
Again the Swede was on fire – literally as it turned out – when smoke and flames came from the fuse box inside his car during the race.
Not even pausing to take care of the fire despite pleas from his co-driver, Ekström pressed on to take a decisive victory over the hard-charging Schumacher and another Champion of Champions title.
“What a fabulous result, and this in my Swedish homeland,” said the 44-year-old Swede at the finish. “The competition with Mick was all the more special because I’ve already won twice against Michael Schumacher. I’m really proud. Mick is a very big talent and he made it to the final of the Race of Champions. He represents the next generation of motorsport drivers, but I’ll keep racing for as long as I can.”
As well as being treated to match racing between the finest drivers in the world, motorsport fans at the event also got to see two Audi greats, driving two of the brand’s legendary race vehicles. Demonstrating Audi race machines from the past and present, Mattias Ekström got behind the wheel of the legendary Group B Audi Sport quattro S1 while his Dakar teammate Stéphane Peterhansel drove the Audi RS Q e-tron in demonstration laps around the ice track.
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