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Ekström : ’joker’ lap is one of the best things in motorsport

He praises the rule used in World RX

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By Emmanuel Touzot

10 December 2016 - 16:36
Ekström : 'joker' lap is one (...)

FIA World Rallycross champion Mattias Ekström believes his counterparts in the FIA World Touring Car Championship will be in for a treat when ‘joker’ laps are introduced in 2017.

The FIA World Motor Sport Council gave the all-clear for World RX-style ‘joker’ laps to be written into the WTCC’s sporting regulations subject to the approval of the FIA’s Safety and Circuit commissions.

Aimed primarily at spicing up the action during the street races in Marrakech and Vila Real, ‘joker’ laps cannot be taken until the third lap of a race and their addition at events will be subject to a full safety inspection being completed.

Speaking during the FIA Champions’ Press Conference in Vienna recently, Ekström said: “The ‘joker’ lap is one of the best things for modern motorsport as the time difference, especially at the top, is so small. If you’re a tenth a lap faster, you can’t really show that off. If you have a ‘joker’ lap, you can take it, have at least a chance to attack without having to launch a physical attack in the corner. It adds a bit more spice, you can use it as a defending tool – to ‘joker’ early and try to cover – and you can also use it another way and stay out".

“I definitely think that this is something that motorsport in general, not just WTCC, has to look into. People who come to me, who are no rallycross experts, they find this format interesting. It’s something natural that is happening. It’s something that could work for other categories as well, not only rallycross or WTCC.”

‘Joker’ laps could be used in the WTCC for the first time when the championship visits Marrakech for WTCC Race of Morocco from 7-9 April, 2017.

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