Hot on the heels of his sensational return to action in the FIA European Rallycross Championship curtain-raiser at Höljes just over a week ago, Andreas Bakkerud has confirmed his participation with ESMotorsport in Bretagne World RX of Lohéac this weekend (3-5 September).
Bakkerud was an 11th-hour addition to the high-calibre Euro RX1 entry list in Sweden, but the third-quickest time in Q2 behind the wheel of ES’ Škoda Fabia proved that any race-rustiness was swiftly being scrubbed off. A driveshaft failure in Q3 left the popular Norwegian on the back foot, but he immediately bounced back with another top three run in Q4 to secure seventh spot in the intermediate classification.
From there, Bakkerud battled his way into the all-important final, where a demon launch from the back row of the grid vaulted him immediately into podium contention. Had it not been for time lost tucked up behind the Peugeot of Jonathan Pailler, the seven-time World RX event-winner might very well have been vying for an 11th career Euro RX triumph, with the fastest lap of the race serving to underscore his potential.
Now, he is eager to build upon that momentum in round two of the campaign at Lohéac – scene of two prior rostrum finishes at World Championship level and Euro RX victories in 2012 and 2013 – while also targeting a return to the pinnacle of the discipline later on in the campaign...
“I’m stoked to be back in Euro RX1 again for Lohéac!” enthused the 29-year-old, who will take Aleš Fučík’s place in the event. “It was awesome to return to racing at Höljes. I don’t like things being so last-minute like that, but I would always rather be a last-minute entry than staying at home on my sofa watching on the TV – that was a horrible feeling during the Barcelona weekend.
“I’m so thankful to ESMotorsport and all of my partners for making that happen – and now for Lohéac and Riga too. And in any case, my sofa is sold now so I guess I can’t stay home anymore...
“We took some big steps forward before the final in Sweden, and I think that showed with third place and fastest lap, which is really encouraging going forward – and we certainly need to be absolutely on top of our game, because the level in Euro RX1 this year is extremely high.
“I’ve raced against Thomas Bryntesson since back in our karting days, and he is one of the best drivers I’ve ever known. Unfortunately, he’s never had the budget to compete in the World Championship, but he’s definitely got the pace to do so. The same can be said for the Dubourgs – the effort DA Racing puts in and the professionalism of that team is really impressive. Then there are the Pailler brothers – every time I jump into esports to do some laps, they’re always there getting some extra practice in!
“From my experience of working with them so far, ESMotorsport is similarly a top team and one with great potential for the future. With that in mind, I’m keen to test the Škoda against the World Championship guys at some stage this season as well – maybe Portugal could be a possibility – but first, let’s focus on Lohéac. I really missed the Bakkerud Blue fans in France last year, so I’m definitely going to put on a spectacular show for them all this weekend.”
ESMotorsport Team Manager Robertas Maneikis is similarly delighted to have extended the relationship, as the Lithuanian outfit increasingly establishes itself as a force to be reckoned with in international competition.
“Everything came together at the last minute – and a few things in almost the last seconds – ahead of Höljes,” he reflected, “but Andreas achieving ESMotorsport’s first podium in Euro RX1 has only motivated the team to work even harder.
“The whole team has been lifted by Andreas’ result, but we are well aware that it will not be easy moving forward and we still keep finding small details on the car to improve its pace. We hope that we can complete the whole Euro RX1 season with Andreas to find even more synergy with the team for a bigger future next year.”
Racing is set to begin at 1100 CET on Saturday, 4 September, with all of the action across the board to be livestreamed in glorious HD quality via the cutting-edge new RX+ broadcast platform. This premium production will grant subscribers unparalleled and unprecedented access anytime, anywhere and on any device, offering a choice of viewing angles, in-depth expert analysis, special behind-the-scenes features and exclusive interviews.
The Full Season Pass is on offer for the special price of €19,99, representing a 60% discount on the regular price of €49,99 and guaranteeing access until the end of the year. The Event Pass for Bretagne World RX of Lohéac is available for €7,99. For more information or to subscribe, click here