Around the Outside: Heading Back to Epic Estering
Mention Germany’s Estering to anybody involved in rallycross – indeed, motorsport in general, given how viral this particular move went – and chances are, five words will come to mind. Kevin Eriksson around the outside.
The popular and traditional Estering circuit – located just outside of Buxtehude, near the major German port city of Hamburg – appeared on the original FIA World Rallycross Championship calendar in 2014 and remained there until 2019, becoming a European-only event in its final season on the schedule.
Two-time champion Petter Solberg was the first winner there, pipping future title-holder Mattias Ekström by the hair’s breadth margin of just five thousandths-of-a-second as the Norwegian power-slid out the joker on the last lap and his Swedish rival raced towards the finish line on the regular course. The result remains the closest in World RX history.
Frenchman Davy Jeanney secured the first of his two World RX victories at the Estering in 2015, before that performance by Kevin Eriksson the following year.
In a final featuring the likes of Solberg, Ekström, Johan Kristoffersson and Andreas Bakkerud, few would have put money on the Olsbergs MSE driver making it to the top step of the podium – but by dint of throwing his Ford Fiesta boldly around the outside of his adversaries in the first corner from fourth on the grid to snatch a lead he would not subsequently relinquish, that is precisely what the plucky Swede did.
“Aside from all the good races that have taken place there, my favourite memory from the Estering is that pass from Kevin Eriksson,” recalls 2019 world champion Timmy Hansen, a spectator that autumn afternoon, having been knocked out at the semi-final stage. “That was an epic rallycross move!”
2017 saw Ekström exact his revenge over Solberg for three years earlier, finding himself narrowly pipped to the top spot by his fellow champion in the heats before producing a dominant display to clinch his tenth career victory.
Jānis Baumanis has similarly triumphed there – at Super1600 (now Euro RX3) level in 2014 – and counts three consecutive semi-final appearances to his credit at the Estering in World RX. It is a circuit the Latvian remembers fondly.
“I would say it’s one of the top three tracks that has ever been in the World Championship – super-narrow, a super-cool first corner where you can go in on the outside and come out leading, a very quick straight and generally just a lot of fun to drive,” enthused the former European champion. “I’m really looking forward to going back to Buxtehude. The fans are very friendly and enthusiastic and there’s always a great vibe. I have only good memories of racing there.”