ROSARIO, Argentina (November 29, 2015) – Olsbergs MSE concluded another successful FIA World Rallycross charge at the season ender in Argentina on Sunday, chalking up a final tally of five podiums and a runner-up result in the teams championship as the 2015 season wrapped up in South America.
In 13 rounds of intense competition, there was an OMSE Ford Fiesta ST in the Final in all but three races, and the three team drivers landed in the Top 10 in the championship standings.
“We know this team can put a car on top of the podium, so hopefully we can be back and win the championship next year,” said driver Andreas Bakkerud, who climbed the podium this season. The Norwegian driver earned a third-place result at the World RX of Sweden, second place at the World RX of Turkey, and took a win at the World RX of Italy.
Teammate Reinis Nitiss, from Latvia, earned a pair of trophies: taking second at World RX of Hockenheim and third at World RX of Belgium.
“I’m really proud of the whole team,” said Bakkerud. “After some struggles in the summer everyone did a great job of getting back on track and getting on the podium again. I felt like I could be very aggressive with this car, which is where you need to be in this series.”
Russian Timur Timerzyanov, who raced this season as an independent driver under the NAMUS OMSE banner, delighted fans with his no-holds-barred driving style and climbed into podium contention twice — working his Red Bull / Viatti Ford Fiesta ST into the Final at the championship stops in Norway and Italy.
At this weekend’s season finale at Autódromo Rosario, Bakkerud led the field in early racing as the fastest driver in the first heat and runner-up in the second. He topped the standings at the Intermediate points tally, and started on the front row for his Semifinal. There, his luck changed when contact in a rough-and-tumble start pushed him to the rear of the pack and he found himself in a cloud of thick dust. A spin off course in the joker lap ended his day.
“I would have loved to have finished the season in the top three overall but today’s result just wasn’t good enough,” said Bakkerud, who scored a fourth-place result in the 2015 championship. “We got pole for the Semifinal, but there was a bit of a mess-up with the way the organizers ran the communication at the start, and I came off the line fourth and couldn’t see for anything once we were in the dust. I was on my way into the joker lap to try to get clear of it but hit the barrier in the middle and my race was over. I’m definitely feeling frustrated, because a better start in the Semifinal might have made the difference.”
Meanwhile, Nitiss struggled in the difficult conditions in Argentina, which saw racing postponed for course work after blinding dust halted early sessions on the track. During a condensed second day of competition, he battled for position in every race and just missed the cut for the Semifinal round.
Also this weekend, youngster Kevin Hansen joined the team as a guest driver. He scored an impressive fifth-place result in his Supercars debut, showcasing the OMSE-built RX Lites racer as an able development vehicle for young talent. His top finish in the RX Lites Cup support series won him the chance to drive the Olsbergs MSE Supercar at the season finale.
Nitiss joined Bakkerud in the Top 10 with a seventh-place result in the 2015 FIA World Rallycross Championship. Timerzyanov finished 10th.
The World RX results complemented a strong season of Global Rallycross competition for the team, which is the only organization in the world racing at the top of both international championships. In Red Bull GRC, young driver Sebastian Eriksson sealed the Rookie of the Year title and finished runner-up in the points, and a season of solid results by Eriksson and teammate Joni Wiman helped technical partner Ford to its fifth-consecutive Manufacturer’s Championship.