BUXTEHUDE, Germany (September 22, 2014) – Olsbergs MSE drivers Andreas Bakkerud and Reinis Nitiss battled through a tough two days of racing this weekend as the FIA World Rallycross Championship traveled to the storied Estering circuit in northern Germany for Round 9.
Bakkerud opened the weekend with a heart-stopping on-track incident when a rear suspension failure at 150 kilometers per hour saw him cut a high-speed figure eight through rallycross traffic.
“The car started dancing everywhere and I didn’t have any control,” said Bakkerud. “It was fine as long as I kept the throttle in but when I had to brake for the hairpin it was a big problem: I saw the fence, I saw the wall, and then I saw every car in the race coming straight for me.”
Remarkably, the Norwegian slipped through the field without making contact and was able to restart the car and soldier on to the finish in an effort to maximize his points. It was a popular move among the estimated 10,000 spectators who packed into the track for two days of racing this weekend.
“I didn’t hit the fence, I didn’t hit the wall, and nobody hit me. It was just a perfect little spin for YouTube,” he said, adding: “I saved it — like a boss.”
But Bakkerud finished the first day a disappointing 27th after starting his second heat on a slick and freshly watered track that made it virtually impossible to set a top time in the 40-car field.
“It became about coming back into competition on Sunday with a clear head and motivation,” said Bakkerud. “I knew it wouldn’t be a walk in the park but I was able to make a comeback and I’m proud of that.”
Bakkerud was able to set the fastest time in his third heat and climb 20 positions to secure a spot in the semifinal.
The Estering track is a traditional stop on the rallycross circuit. It is narrow, with few passing opportunities, and a high speed straightaway that sees cars hit their top speeds. A good start is critical as contact is virtually unavoidable through the narrow first turn, while drivers must also be cautious of close trackside walls.
A back-row starting position for Bakkerud made it an uphill battle to advance from the semifinal and he narrowly missed out on a spot in the final. Even so, the enthusiastic driver said he’s leaving Germany in a positive frame of mind.
“I’m really excited for the next race,” said Bakkerud, who has earned four podium results so far this season — including a win at World RX of Great Britain. “We set some great times and I’m happy with how everything works with the car and the team. I can’t wait to get to Italy and be on the podium.”
Teammate Nitiss also suffered misfortune this weekend. After setting solid results in Saturday’s opening heats, he battled mechanical issues on Sunday that saw him finish outside of contention for the semifinal round. It was the first time this season that he did not achieve the semifinal.
“It wasn’t our best weekend but I’m happy with our pace and the capabilities we’ve shown as a team,” said Nitiss. “Now is the moment when we need to be strong. We’re in a good position in the team championship and the Supercars standings. That’s a good feeling.”
With three rounds remaining in the World RX championship, the Olsbergs MSE Ford squad remains in the lead of the teams championship — 10 points clear of closest rival Marklund Motorsport. For the World RX title, Nitiss is narrowly in third, trailing second-place Toomas Heikkinen and leader Petter Solberg. Bakkerud is fourth.
Nitiss and Bakkerud will return to competition next weekend for Round 10 of the FIA World Rallycross Championship at Franciacorta in Brescia, Italy (September 27-28). They will be joined by wildcard entry Gigi Galli, the rally driver known for his spectacular driving style, and Swedish touring car driver Richard Göransson.
ABOUT WORLD RX:
The FIA World Rallycross Championship presented by Monster Energy combines all the best aspects of motor racing in one. It’s fast, competitive and spectacular. It’s bold, authentic and relatable. Within it are all the elements of four-wheel racing that you love. The race action is broadcast in more than 100 countries with a combined household reach of 816 million homes. The championship is made up of 12 rounds: Portugal, Great Britain, Norway, Finland, Sweden, Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Turkey and Argentina.
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 20 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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