Andreas Bakkerud takes the World RX victory at Lydden Hill and Piotrek Magdziarz has the race recap
The World Rallycross Championship came back to the cradle of the discipline – the Kent-based Lydden Hill Circuit where the very first ever rallycross race was held back in 1967 – for round two of the series.
Adding up the European Championship contenders and wild card entries to the mix elevated the field of Supercars to a monstrous number of 37. Quantity went along with quality and with names that have experience in such disciplines as Formula 1, NASCAR and touring cars. It was arguably the most star-packed line up the venue ever saw during a single event.
It turned out that the dominant forces over the course of the weekend were the very same ones who shone in the Portugese season-opening round, plus a few new faces who joined the series for its British round.
The entire Olsbergs MSE team was up front from the word go and all three made it to the final. However, Reinis Nitiss was unable to start and his grid spot was inherited by Tanner Foust.
Petter Solberg was also amongst the frontrunners all weekend, but the ones who made the biggest impact were absent in Portugal. Robin Larrson in his brand new Audi A1, as well as local ace and reigning BTCC Champion Andrew Jordan. Both were a match for the series regulars and both delivered stellar performances rewarded with a podium finish. Meanwhile, Solberg finished last as he ended up in the gravel whilst trying to overtake Tanner Foust.
This is a dream come true,” gushed an emotional Bakkerud, whose team-mate Reinis Nitiss lost his place in the final due to an electrical problem with his car. “We didn’t make a mistake, we had a clean run and it was a close fight until the end. I even won the Monster Energy Super Charge Award and to have two trophies feels good! But now I’m concerned… I promised Norway’s biggest broadcaster that I would grow a moustache for my home round in Hell next month if I was leading the Championship after Lydden so now I must stick to my promise and grow a moustache!”
Sweden’s Larsson – who makes the transition from TouringCar to Supercar in 2014 - was bewildered at the end of day press conference. “I’m actually very surprised to be here and in second place,” said Larsson whose Audi A1 Supercar made its international debut in Britain this weekend. “The car has been fantastic and apart from a broken gearbox, it’s gone perfectly. We had a good start in the final and I couldn’t believe I was leading for most of the race. It’s been an awesome weekend!”
Englishman Andrew Jordan joined Larsson and Bakkerud on the podium to round off what had been a near-perfect weekend for the newly-turned 25-year-old. “If you’d told me at the start of the weekend that I’d be on the podium today then I would have been smiling from ear to ear. I was driving like a bit of an idiot in the heats and then I had to reign it in. I started off the back of the grid for the finals but then I had a good, clean race. I couldn’t have asked for anything more."
Martin Anayi, World RX Managing Director for IMG Motorsport, concluded: “It’s been a terrific weekend at Lydden: the sun has shone, the racing has been action-packed and we’ve had huge numbers of spectators over the course of the weekend. Andreas drove a fantastic race and all credit to Ford Olsbergs MSE for another win in the teams’ championship. Only six points separate the top four drivers now and with two Norwegians at the top of the drivers standings, the scene is set for an exciting battle when the Championship resumes in Norway in just over three weeks time.”
Round three of the Championship, World RX of Norway, will take place at Hell from 14-15 June