Ekstrom hobbled by steering

DTM champion Mattias Ekstrom saw his chances of scoring WRC points for Skoda ruined by a power steering failure on leg two of the Swedish Rally

Ekstrom hobbled by steering

Ekstrom had been battling in the lower top ten for the duration of the event and had invariably been quicker than Skoda team-mates Jani Paasonen and Janne Tuohino. Then he lost the use of his power steering during SS12 and struggled to drag the Fabia through the final two and a half stages.

"Now I can understand what Marcus (Gronholm) is talking about when he loses power steering," said Ekstrom. "It is so, so hard. Unbelievable.

"I'm using two hands to pull down on the wheel to get it through the corners. There was no way we could do more than walking speed in the corners and give it some throttle on the straights."

With usual lead Skoda driver Armin Schwarz sidelined by an arm injury, Ekstrom had been nominated to score manufacturers' championship points for the Czech team in Sweden. Having lost over three minutes and fallen to 16th while grappling with his car, it now seems highly unlikely that he will be able to get amongst the points on his home rally.

"I'm happy that I've shown the speed, but this makes it very difficult to get any result," he admitted.

At present the Swedish Rally will be Ekstrom's only WRC event for Skoda, as he concentrates on defending his DTM title for sister manufacturer Audi for the rest of the year, although another rally outing after the touring car season ends is a possibility.

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