World RX: Audi and EKS want to rock Riga

Last year, Riga celebrated a brilliant premiere in the World RX. In spite of torrential rain falling some of the time, the enthusiastic fans stuck it out and provided the World Championship with a worthy setting. Subsequently, the event was recognized as the best in the 2016 World RX. “The track is fantastic and was good to drive even in rain,” says Ekström who came second behind Sébastien Loeb in the final. “This year, we already tested in Riga and will give our all to reduce our gap to the competition a little more. France was a step in the right direction. In qualifying, I’m shooting for the top spot and want to start from pole position in the semi-finals.”

The track is part of the tradition-steeped Biķernieki Sports Complex and was built from scratch last year. The surface in the gravel sections is about as hard as that in Lohéac, France, resulting in a mix of fast tarmac sections and treacherous corners on both surfaces. Uniquely, the normal circuit and the joker section are completely parallel, both featuring a jump.

For local hero Reinis Nitišs, this is a very special race: “Riga is my home round, so that’s maximum motivation,” says the Latvian. His teammate Toomas Heikkinen, after finishing ninth overall last year, is aiming for the next final. “The track suits me and I know that I’ve got what it takes to finish in the top six,” says the Finn. Nico Müller is going to do another stint in the Audi S1 EKS RX quattro. The Audi DTM driver delivered a much-noticed premiere in the most recent round in France and would like to gather additional rallycross experience. His aim: the semi-finals as a minimum.