Thu 06 Apr 2023

The driver aiming to paint Hungary’s ‘Red Cauldron’ blue...

A former champion is aiming to paint Hungary’s famous ‘Red Cauldron’ blue later this month – ‘Bakkerud Blue’, to be precise – after Andreas Bakkerud concluded an unexpected last-minute deal to join the grid for the 2023 FIA European Rallycross Championship curtain-raiser on 29-30 April.

A former champion is aiming to paint Hungary’s famous ‘Red Cauldron’ blue later this month – ‘Bakkerud Blue’, to be precise – after Andreas Bakkerud concluded an unexpected last-minute deal to join the grid for the 2023 FIA European Rallycross Championship curtain-raiser on 29-30 April.

Bakkerud lodged his entry for the event with just hours to spare before Monday’s midnight deadline, but earlier that day, his focus had been entirely on using the benefit of his experience to help Euro RX1 regular Tamás Kárai to develop his Audi S1 during a test session at Nyirád Racing Center, where the forthcoming season-opener will take place.

“Nobody else had ever driven his car except for him,” the Norwegian explains. “They wanted someone to give them some external feedback, evaluate the Audi’s strong and weak points and try to make it a little bit faster so they can take a step forward. I was supposed to do it last year, but we could never find a time that suited us both, and then they asked if I could come to Nyirád this week and it worked.

“It was the first time I’d been there since 2013. It’s such a cool, old-school track with a great vibe. The only time I raced there in a Supercar, I had issues with the power steering which meant I couldn’t enjoy it fully, so it was good to get some proper laps under my belt during the test.

“We then began talking at the end of the day, things moved pretty quickly and before long I was signing up to take part in the race weekend!”

With Kárai building a new car for himself for this year, his current machine was available – and Bakkerud admits that he did not require much persuasion to return to action at a circuit where he triumphed in 2012 en route to that season’s Super1600 (now Euro RX3) crown.

He will be part of a high-calibre field that includes the likes of defending champion Anton Marklund, former Super1600 title-winner Jānis Baumanis, talented young gun Patrick O’Donovan and giant-killing duo Sivert Svardal and Ulrik Linnemann, not to mention home hero Kárai himself – but he insists his primary motivation is to continue to help the team and have some fun along the way.

“Kárai Motorsport Sportegyesület might be a small, family-run team but they’re very professional with it and have been fighting towards the front of the European Championship for several years now,” opines the 2021 Euro RX1 champion.

“They’ve done a fine job to develop the Audi themselves, and hopefully we managed to develop it a little bit more during the test. There are clearly still some areas that can be improved, but overall, I was very happy with the progress we made.

“It’s a good car in a good team with a good dynamic. It feels right, and if I can help Tamás to get closer to the podium, it will be mission accomplished. It will also be interesting to see how close we can get to the ex-World Championship cars, which have had millions spent on them over the years.

“There are a lot of top drivers and cars on the grid so it’s unquestionably going to be a tough weekend, but I’m excited to get out there and to race one of these awesome cars again for the first time since Hell last summer. I feel I don’t have anything to prove personally, so the weekend isn’t so much about the end result, but at the same time, I only know one way to drive – flat-out – and I’ll obviously be giving it everything I have.

“Right now, I don’t have any further plans in Euro RX this season, but let’s see what happens. For the time being, I’m just super-pumped to be racing in Hungary. There’s a strong rallycross culture at Nyirád, and I’m hoping that will translate into a really big crowd...”

Latvia
Starts: Thursday, July 18, 2024 at 4:31:00 AM
Italy
Starts: Friday, July 26, 2024 at 8:30:00 AM
Hungary
Starts: Saturday, July 27, 2024 at 9:30:00 AM