Friday | 01 Jul 2022

Bakkerud: I’m not planning to save any bumpers…

Andreas Bakkerud has promised to give Johan Kristoffersson ‘a run for his money’ at Höljes this weekend (2-3 July), as the Norwegian predicts ‘a hectic last lap’ should the pair be running first and second in the all-important final.

Andreas Bakkerud has promised to give Johan Kristoffersson ‘a run for his money’ at Höljes this weekend (2-3 July), as the Norwegian predicts ‘a hectic last lap’ should the pair be running first and second in the all-important final.

As a four-time FIA World Rallycross Champion and the reigning European Champion in the headlining Euro RX1 category respectively, Kristoffersson and Bakkerud are arguably the hottest tips for victory at the legendary ‘Magic Weekend’, with the latter reunited with the same car that he raced to within an ace of the World RX crown three years ago.

Indeed, over two seasons in the Audi S1 in 2018 and 2019, Bakkerud piloted the German hatch to 12 podium finishes including a win in Canada, ultimately missing out on the title to Timmy Hansen on countback in a tense Cape Town finale in the second of those campaigns.

Last year, behind the wheel of the same car, Kristoffersson avenged that narrow defeat by prevailing in another dead heat tie with Hansen at the Nürburgring to secure his fourth Drivers’ trophy. Fast forward seven months, and Bakkerud forecasts a similarly nail-biting battle for glory between two of the sport’s biggest box office stars.

“I have tonnes of great memories with the Audi,” reflected the 30-year-old, who has also rejoined forces with 2016 World Champion Mattias Ekström’s EKS outfit for the iconic Swedish event. “I had tonnes of great battles in it, particularly with Timmy in 2019. It’s a special car for me and one with a lot of history.

“I tested it recently at my home track of Hell. For me, it’s normal to jump from one car to another, but my most recent tests and races have been in quite a different type of car. That meant it took me a few sessions to get back up-to-speed in the Audi, but by the end of the day, it felt great and it’s awesome to be back in Euro RX1.

“It’s going to be very hard this weekend, because there are so many great drivers in the field. Obviously I’ve had many battles with Johan. I feel like for a few years, he was in a very competitive car. He’s absolutely one of the greatest – probably the greatest – rallycross driver of all time, but this time I feel like I’m in a competitive car as well, so I’m going to give him a run for his money!

“If we are first and second in the final, it’s going to be a hectic last lap, I can promise you that. Mattias [Ekström] told me, ‘you don’t need to save any bumpers’ – we’re going for the win!”