METTET, Belgium (July 13, 2014) – The leading Olsbergs MSE Ford team is looking ahead to the first-ever Canadian round of the FIA World Rallycross Championship after a tough weekend in Belgium.
“With six races and six different winners, it shows how strong the championship is,” said rookie Olsbergs MSE Ford driver Reinis Nitiss. “Everybody is good in World RX and everybody wants the win. We’re looking forward to the next round in Canada.”
The sixth race in the 12-round World RX series didn’t go as planned for the team when mechanical trouble and a big crash saw both drivers out of contention early in the weekend. Even so, Olsbergs MSE leads the team standings. This weekend marked the first time this season that there wasn’t an Olsbergs MSE driver on the podium.
“We’ve been fortunate this season with very few problems and we will work and be ready for the next round, where I feel confident we will do well,” said team owner Andreas Eriksson. “We take this championship race by race.”
Nitiss was on pace early in the weekend at the new track in Belgium, but a collision with rival Henning Solberg in his second heat Saturday saw his Ford Fiesta ST sustain major suspension damage.
“I was on the main lap as Henning was coming out of the Joker. We were side-by-side, but I couldn’t see him and he couldn’t see me so we crashed,” said Nitiss. “It was unfortunate for both of us.”
Olsbergs MSE mechanics worked overnight to repair the car and Nitiss opened the day on Sunday with a win in the third heat and a strong finish in the fourth to advance to the Semifinal round. It was a tight competition and the young driver finished fifth, missing out on a spot in the Final.
“I had a great group of Latvian fans here with me, waving flags and singing the whole time,” said Nitiss. “After a not-so-lucky race, it’s great to feel their support.”
Nitiss’ Olsbergs MSE Ford teammate Andreas Bakkerud also had an uncharacteristically difficult weekend in Belgium. After setting leading times in the opening practice sessions, he was optimistic about his chances. But, at the launch of his first heat on Saturday, engine issues emerged. Bakkerud was unable to finish the day of racing while team mechanics made repairs.
With the car restored to full power the following day, the pressure was on for Bakkerud to win both of his remaining heat races in order to reach the Final. He drove flat out, but huge air over one of the circuit’s jumps saw him take a hard landing and ended his podium hopes in Belgium.
“I pushed as hard as I could and just went over the limit,” said Bakkerud. “I still have a smile on my face, though. I felt like we had good starts and a good pace but unfortunately our results don’t match the potential we showed here.”
With only a day to work on the cars before they ship out to the next round in Canada, the team is feeling confident. Both Olsbergs MSE Ford Fiesta ST rallycross cars are in top fighting shape and will unload overseas in ready-to-race condition.
“We run our cars at the limit all the time. Our engines have more than 600 hp and 900 nm of torque. We expect them to work well but sometimes things happen when you’re pushing that hard,” said Eriksson. “It’s always tough when a weekend like this happens, but it happens to everyone at some point, and this was our turn. Now it’s up to us to make sure it doesn’t happen again.”
With six rounds remaining in the 2014 FIA World Rallycross Championship, both Olsbergs MSE drivers remain at the top of the standings. Nitiss is in second — and trailing former World Rally Champion Petter Solberg by only three points — while Bakkerud, in fourth, is also in title contention. Olsbergs MSE Ford retains a comfortable lead in the team standings over the rival Marklund Motorsports Volkswagen team.
After back-to-back-to-back race weekends in Europe, the Olsbergs MSE World RX team now has a much-deserved three-week break before returning to competition in Canada August 7 and 8 at the Grand Prix de Trois-Rivieres. The seventh World RX round will be the first time that many teams visit North America to compete but Olsbergs MSE, which has operations in both Sweden and the United States, hopes to have something of a home-field advantage.
Before the next World RX round, Olsbergs MSE’s Red Bull Global Rallycross drivers Patrik Sandell and Joni Wiman will take on back-to-back U.S. races in New York, July 19, and Charlotte on July 25.
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.
OLSBERGS MSE IS POWERED BY: