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Andreas Bakkerud on the podium at the 2016 World RX of Argentina
NEWS

Bakkerud blasts to victory at World RX 2016 Final

Nov 282016

From thunderstorms to blistering sunshine, and mud to dust; in a championship of total extremes, only an edge-of-the-seat and totally unpredictable season final would do. The 2016 FIA Rallycross World Championship wrapped in Rosario, Argentina this weekend, in absolute awesome style.

While it was Petter Solberg who stole the show in the qualifying races, with a perfect run of four wins from Q1 through to Q4, the final flag and trophy belonged to Andreas Bakkerud, who romped away from his pole position grid slot to take a dominant win.

Andreas Bakkerud – 1st:
“I was speechless for a couple of minutes in parc-ferme. I first heard we were fourth overall in the championship, before our third place was confirmed. I didn’t know what to think. I was relieved that we had won the event; I put myself under a lot of pressure, and pushed as hard as I could. Throughout my career, each race has been a stepping-stone to the next – through Karting, Super1600, Supercar European Championship, and now the World Championship. I’m so grateful for the support that I’ve received, and all the hard work that the team have put in this year. We had decided that this season would be a development year. It’s been a big challenge to take the Ford Focus RS RX from a concept to a fully working rallycross car, and we didn’t expect to enjoy these amazing and consistent results. Winning three events and getting another three podiums has been an unbelievable experience. I was a little worried Petter was going to take away my record I set in Norway – winning all the races in a weekend with a perfect score, but in the end he got very unlucky. As a Norwegian I must say, it’s hard to get beaten by two Swedish guys in the championship [laughs], but seriously, thank you so much to Ken, the entire team and all our partners for their support and work, I’m incredibly proud to be here!”

 

Petter Solberg – 7th:
“I felt very confident coming into this weekend. Our car was working so well and I was really up for this one. I really wanted to sign the season off with a win. When the rain came, the organisers had no choice: they had to postpone most of the qualifying until Sunday. There was so much mud around after the rain, but then the conditions started to dry and the track got quicker. I was really pleased that, through these dramatically changing conditions, we were fastest. I had real confidence that we could pull off the perfect weekend here; I honestly thought we were on to win the semi and the final. In the semi, we were alongside [Mattias] Ekström, but he already had a jump-start, so I knew we didn’t need to worry about him, he would have to take two joker laps as a penalty. My start wasn’t so aggressive, knowing I could follow him [Ekström] and I did that. I turned into the right-hander right behind him. I saw [Janis] Baumanis coming around the outside what I thought was quite a brave move. When I turned in for the left-hander, Baumanis was on my inside and there was some contact. It was OK. But then… bang! Out of nowhere, Timerzyanov flew into Baumanis and he came into me. He hit the front left of my car and immediately I could feel the steering was broken. I did a couple of laps with the steering just about working and then I had four laps with the front wheels pointing in different directions. On the penultimate lap the steering arm broke off completely and I barely made it to the line. It was almost impossible to drive the car like this, but I had to finish. It took some effort, but I made it across the line. It’s enough to say this was not the way I wanted to finish the season.”

 

Ken Block – 15th:
“This track was really fun, the car felt good and we were very fast. I was 6th overall in Q1, and third fastest in practice today [Sunday]. Unfortunately I was pushed out in the third turn during Q2 and ended up out in the mud. It basically just ruined the rest of the race for me. As the track got progressively better through the qualifiers, I had to start in the first race, which meant I had the worst conditions for every qualifier, and I couldn’t move up. It’s really one of the downsides of this championship format – once you get knocked out, it’s very hard to recover. It took things from what should have been a really good weekend – to join Andreas in the final – to not making the semis at all. We had the right car and setup this weekend, but unfortunately it just took one push and my weekend was over. Reflecting on the season as a whole – the team has done exceptionally well to bring the car up to where it is. Andreas has been able to put in three wins and three more podiums, which we did not expect. We are getting ready for testing now, and to make the car even better. There are still lots to be done, but we are very happy with the way it sits now – being able to hold out against cars that have already been developed for the past three years. So long as my luck comes back too – we should be up there racing for the wins together. In terms of luck I think this is the worst racing season I’ve had – it’s not for sake of trying or talent or team – we have all of those. I’ve proven what I can do, and I’m going to come back stronger next season. Thankyou again to all our fans, partners and team members for their support!”

 

Full results from the World RX of Argentina are available here, while the championship standings from the 2016 FIA World Rallycross Championship presented by Monster Energy are available, here.

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