Mattias Ekström will return to the World Rallycross Championship at the season opener at Höljes with JC Raceteknik, replacing Janis Baumanis.
The 2016 World RX champion will race alongside Robin Larsson, making his first rallycross outing since the RallyX Nordic finale at Tierp last season.
Baumanis’ has run into COVID-19 related funding problems and is therefore unable to complete a full World RX season.
“It’s always fun to compete. Rallycross has, and has always had, fast and fun cars that I enjoy driving,” said Ekstrom.
“So competing with Joel and JC again feels good, especially after the final round of RallyX Nordic at Tierp last season where I had the opportunity to give Robin some support. Robin has already won an event at Holjes this year, so is already in the groove.
“My biggest priority this weekend is to have as much fun as possible. But of course, the day I do not dream of winning is the day I stop competing. “The goal is always a trophy, but then we will see what is realistic according to the conditions. Holjes is always special, but this year it will be something completely unique without the fans. It’s a strange feeling, but still exciting.”
Ekström, who will test at Dalarna this week ahead of the race weekend, hasn’t competed full-time in World RX since Audi pulled its factory support from his own EKS team at the end of 2018. He did however make a one-off appearance for JC Raceteknik at the inaugural Spa-Franchorchamps round last year, driving his 2016 title-winning car.
“Since we have a vacant Audi S1 EKS Supercar for Holjes, I contacted Mattias. He has been a guest driver in the team twice before and thought, just like us, that it would be great fun to drive in his home race,” said JC Raceteknik team principal Joel Christoffersson.
“Mattias will be a strong addition to KYB Team JC. He is a driver with many tips and tricks and if there is anyone who knows these cars, it’s him. It will definitely be an advantage for both Robin and us as a team to have him with us.
“It’s sad that Janis won’t race in the full World Championship with KYB Team JC this year, I and the whole team had really looked forward to this collaboration. But given the situation around COVID-19, I think everyone understands that something like this could happen and I hope we can take up the collaboration with him again.”
With Monster Energy RX’s Cartel’s decision to team up with Renault privateer GCK for 2020, the JC Raceteknik Audis are set to be the only S1s on the World RX grid this season.