Audi has given its backing to Mattias Ekstrom to compete for the FIA World Rallycross title at the Estering and therefore skip the final round of the DTM championship with Rene Rast filling in at Hockenheim.
Audi has released Ekstrom from his DTM commitment in the final round in order to give the Swedish driver full focus on his World Rallycross title challenger, which he currently leads by 10 points with three rounds remaining.
The Team Abt Audi driver, who has two DTM titles to his name during his 16-year career, will miss his first DTM race weekend since 2001 in order to compete at the penultimate round of World Rallycross at Estering which clashes with Hockenheim on the same weekend.
As Ekstrom is competing in an Audi machine, Dieter Gass, head of DTM at Audi, feels it only appropriate to release the Swedish driver to maximise his opportunity to claim a world title.
“There are two hearts beating in my chest,” Gass, said. “Obviously, it's not easy to do without one of our best drivers in the DTM finale at Hockenheim of all events. But Mattias Ekström has the chance of winning the world championship title in rallycross in an Audi.”
As a result, Rene Rast – who filled in for Adrien Tambay at Audi Sport Team Rosberg for race one at Zandvoort – will return to DTM to take up Ekstrom's race seat for the final round at Hockenheim on the 15-16 October.