Tue 22 Feb 2022

Bakkerud: Rallycross is getting its mojo back

Reigning Euro RX1 Champion Andreas Bakkerud believes ‘the buzz is coming back’ to rallycross on the eve of the World Championship’s electric switch in 2022, as he revealed he is ‘working hard every day’ to return to the highest level.

Reigning Euro RX1 Champion Andreas Bakkerud believes ‘the buzz is coming back’ to rallycross on the eve of the World Championship’s electric switch in 2022, as he revealed he is ‘working hard every day’ to return to the highest level.

Following seven consecutive seasons competing at the international pinnacle of the dual-surface discipline – yielding multiple event wins and a trio of top three championship finishes – Bakkerud found himself without a drive as the 2021 campaign approached.

With just days remaining before the Euro RX1 curtain-raiser at Höljes, he managed to put together a single-round deal with Lithuanian outfit ESmotorsport – and, well, the rest is history.

On the podium in Sweden, the Norwegian would have won in France but for an engine issue in the final. Following a disappointing weekend in Latvia – which ended at the semi-final stage due to a first corner collision with Peter Hedström – Bakkerud responded magnificently in Belgium, taking a maximum points haul to clinch the crown on the day of his 30th birthday at the iconic Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps. It was the stuff fairytales are made of.

“It was pretty awesome,” he recollected, as he received his champion’s trophy at last weekend’s annual FIA Off-Road Prize-Giving Ceremony in Zurich. “ESmotorsport called me just two weeks before the Euro RX1 season began – maybe even less – and we managed to put a deal together to enter the first round.

“That went pretty well, so then we extended the agreement for France, where we came so close to winning – and all of a sudden, we were leading the standings! One thing led to another, and we ended up doing the full championship!

“It was a great battle with Jānis [Baumanis], the Paillers, the Dubourgs, [Anton] Marklund, [Thomas] Bryntesson and others – there were a lot of very fast drivers up there fighting at the front. There were many good races and some spectacular action, and I had so much fun being part of it all.

“It was amazing and really cool to win the championship on my 30th birthday, and it was the first weekend I’d really been able to welcome my #BakkerudBlue fans from Norway too, so that made it even more special.”

Bakkerud’s focus is now turned firmly towards 2022, as he evaluates the next step in his career. He has made no secret of his desire to return to World RX should the opportunity present itself – and he is palpably excited about the possibilities ahead as the championship goes fully electric for the first time.

“We’re working hard every day to try to find the funds,” he acknowledged. “One thing I must say is that I really have the feeling that the buzz is coming back to rallycross. Things are looking brighter again, and it seems like we’re on the right path back to what the championship was a few years ago.

“Electric will be something brand new, with spectacular cars and very promising kit from Kreisel. Everybody knows this sport has huge potential – and we’re all eager to see what the future has in store...”

Latvia
Starts: Thursday, July 18, 2024 at 4:31:00 AM
Italy
Starts: Friday, July 26, 2024 at 7:00:00 AM
Hungary
Starts: Saturday, July 27, 2024 at 6:00:00 AM