Mattias Ekström, Andreas Bakkerud Battle At World RX Of South Africa

With the drivers’ crown already clinched by Johan Kristofferson, all eyes will be on the battle for second place in the points standings this weekend when the FIA World Rallycross Championship heads to South Africa to conclude the 2018 season.

Kristofferson, who secured the drivers’ crown in September, heads to South Africa having won eight consecutive races this season and is the clear favorite to pick up the win at Killarney International Raceway this weekend. 

Kristofferson held off fellow Swedes Timmy Hansen and Mattias Ekström in the inaugural race around Killarney’s 1.067-kilometer circuit last season to record his eighth victory of the 2017 season.

Ekström, who is the youngest driver in the battle for the runner-up position, is currently second in the standings with 228 points but is only ahead of Norway’s Andreas Bakkerud by a mere four points.

Ekström finished second last month in Germany, finishing 1.849 seconds behind the race winner Kristofferson, while Bakkerud managed to secure his sixth podium of the season, finishing third and 1.233 seconds behind Ekström.

“We have been fair all season long,” Bakkerud said of battling Ekström. “We have been hard like we have always been to each other, and we go down to South Africa open-minded to go flat out. We will do like we always do and let the best Audi win.”

Petter Solberg enters the weekend fourth in the standings but is just seven points from second place.

Solberg, a Volkswagen driver, was almost forced to hang up his racing gloves for the entire 2018 season due to an illness, however, the Norway native fought through adversity and has not missed a race this season.

Solberg, 44, has reached the podium five times this season and is coming off a fifth-place finish in Germany last month. 

Sébastien Loeb is the fourth driver in the race for second place, sitting 23 points behind Ekström.

Loeb will need plenty of help if he wants to finish the season second in the standings, but regardless of how he places this weekend, the Frenchman still has a reason to be proud of his performance this season, as he was able to record a win earlier this season in Belgium. 

Watch the World RX of South Africa LIVE on FloRacing Sunday at 7 am CT.

--By Colton Wood

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