MONTALEGRE, Portugal (May 5, 2014) — Olsbergs MSE Ford drivers Andreas Bakkerud and Reinis Nitiss scored a pair of podiums this weekend in the first round of the new FIA World Rallycross Championship at the Montalegre circuit in Portugal. The Olsbergs MSE Ford squad now leads the series’ team standings.
Fans packed into the sold-out venue for two days of racing action Saturday and Sunday as the duo of young drivers saw a strong debut outing with the team. The pair set consistently fast times in their Olsbergs MSE Ford Fiesta ST rallycross cars.
Bakkerud shot to the front on every start on his way to a second-place overall finish, and earned the Monster Energy Super Charge Award. He said the result in Portugal shows the strength of the team’s off-season development strategy. “We are eating them for breakfast in the starts and we showed a good pace,” said Bakkerud. “This winter we had some tests but today was the big exam — and we proved ourselves.”
The 22-year-old driver, who moved to Olsbergs MSE this year for his second full season of Supercars competition following a rookie 2013 year that saw him take two outright wins, said he’s pleased with his podium finish but knows he can do even better. “Second overall in the first-ever FIA World Rallycross Championship is a great result, but second is also first-loser, and I need to push a little more at the next round in three weeks at Lydden Hill,” said Bakkerud.
Teammate Nitiss scored third place in his World RX debut with Olsbergs MSE. Last year’s Super 1600 champion, the 18-year-old Nitiss is embarking on his first season in rallycross Supercars and said he’s excited to have made the move to the top category this season. “The whole team did a brilliant job. It’s a really big step for me to move to Supercars and after this weekend I know I can drive fast in this competitive field.”
Following strong performances in their respective opening heat races, both drivers found themselves lined up together in the same six-car semi-final — each needing to finish in the top-three in order to secure a spot in the main race. Nitiss and Bakkerud drove flawlessly to advance to the final contest where both drivers shot off the start and were within a car-length of each other for the entire six-lap race to the podium.
Team owner Andreas Eriksson emerged from the World RX opener feeling optimistic about the season ahead. “It’s good to know where the field is. The level of competition in this championship is really high; there is no single team that is massively better than everybody else out there,” he said. “Our Olsbergs MSE Ford Fiesta ST rallycross cars are strong, and we have even more we can get out of them as the season progresses.”
The overall win this weekend went to 2003 World Rally Champion Petter Solberg.
Nearly 50 cars across the Supercar, Super 1600 and TouringCar categories battled it out this weekend in Portugal. In addition, 10 Olsbergs MSE-built RX Lites competed in their first-ever outing in support of the new World Championship. Drivers Sebastian Eriksson and Kevin Eriksson scored a one-two finish in their Olsbergs MSE RX Lites.
Olsbergs MSE will next appear with Global Rallycross Championship drivers Patrik Sandell and Joni Wiman at the opening round of that series May 17-18 at Top Gear Festival Barbados. Drivers Bakkerud and Nitiss will be back in action, alongside guest driver Andrew Jordan, in the World RX of Great Britain at the Lydden Hill Race Circuit on May 24 and 25.
ABOUT WORLD RX:
ABOUT OLSBERGS MSE:
Olsbergs MSE designs, builds and operates winning competition cars for motorsport. It is recognized as the global authority in the growing sport of rallycross.
OMSE is a Ford Racing technical partner, developing the Ford Fiesta platform for international competition. Together, Ford and OMSE have earned an astonishing 19 X Games medals, including podium sweeps at the world’s leading action sports contest (Los Angeles, 2011; Brazil 2013). The team has also scored every rallycross championship in the United States since the sport debuted in that country in 2010, and its drivers are podium regulars in European competition.
Founded in 2009, the organization represents a partnership between historic Swedish industrial company Olsbergs and rallycross specialists Motor Sport Evolution. In 2013, the company expanded its operations into the United States and now has dual headquarters with operations in both Nynäshamn, Sweden, and Huntington Beach, Calif.
In 2014, OMSE campaigns leading cars in World RX, the Global Rallycross Championship, and the Rallycross Supercar Scandinavia championship.
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