Rock star reception in France
Time to fly high at the French round of the World RX Championship.
29 August, 2018
They like their motorsport in France and they get particularly excited about the FIA World Rallycross Championship. With more than 75,000 fans expected at the track at Lohéac this weekend, it’s small wonder that Mattias Ekström and Andreas Bakkerud of EKS Audi Sport are pumped up and ready to race.
Just 30km south of Rennes, the 1.070km track is largely gravel and sees competitors reach speeds of up to 170km/h around the tight layout. A jump with a carry of some 22 metres is an added attraction for spectators who are always treated to a spectacular event here each year.
“Lohéac is one of the biggest events of the year on the race calendar with sheer rallycross action galore,” says Andreas Bakkerud. “Whenever so many fans turn out at the track this gives me an additional motivation boost.”
Teammate and 2016 World Champion, Mattias Ekström, is also a fan of the French track saying:
“Traveling to Lohéac is a great honour every time. “The many enthusiastic spectators there make us drivers feel like rock stars.”
A jump with a carry of some 22 metres is an added attraction for spectators
In 2013, his teammate Bakkerud, won a round of the FIA European Rallycross Championship at the track
Last year Ekström finished third at the French track which is roughly one kilometre long with more than 60 percent of the surface dirt. The fast Turn 5 is his favourite part of the challenging track:
“There, you drift in third or fourth gear, constantly keeping the car’s nose very close to the wall,” he says. “Very special as well is the Joker Lap (a secondary route, usually slower than the main track that each driver must take at least once each race) itself with a jump when you enter the corner.”
In 2013, his teammate Bakkerud, won a round of the FIA European Rallycross Championship at Lohéac, while in 2016, he took second in the World RX round.
“I’ve always done well on this track,” says the Norwegian. “Following my misfortune in Canada, I definitely want to be back on the podium.”
EKS Audi Sport tested at Lohéac in early March in what was the first public appearance of the revised Audi S1 EKS RX quattro having undergone considerable changes for the 2018 season. To date this season, Bakkerud and Ekström have clinched four podium finishes to sit in fourth and sixth respectively going in to Round 8.
Racing will be live streamed through the World Rallycross Championship site over the weekend.
Want to ensure you always receive the latest news and features from Audi? Subscribe now to the Audi Magazine newsletter.