Argentina WRX: Bakkerud takes lights-to-flag win in season finale

Ford driver Andreas Bakkerud led the final from lights to flag at the last round of the World Rallycross Championship in Argentina to claim his third victory of the season, while Mattias Ekstrom’s EKS team secured the Teams’ Championship title.

Bakkerud and points-rival Johan Kristoffersson ran first and second throughout the final, Volkswagen RX Sweden driver Kristoffersson doing enough by finishing second to claim second position in the drivers’ championship by a single point over Bakkerud, behind title-winner Ekstrom.

Ekstrom himself was forced to take two joker laps in his semi-final having jumped the start, but still made it through to the final having escaped first chicane contact in the first knock-out race.

The Swede started on the second row of the grid alongside fellow double DTM champion Timo Scheider, who qualified for his first World RX final in Rosario, but it was Ekstrom’s teammate Toomas Heikkinen who climbed to third at the first corner, as the DTM duo fought over fourth out of the second corner.

Scheider and Swedish privateer Robin Larsson took their joker laps at the first opportunity, as Bakkerud up front pulled out all the stops in his Ford Focus RS RX and set the fastest lap of the day on the second tour.

Ekstrom took his joker from fourth on lap two and maintained track position, before challenging team mate Heikkinen for third when the Finn took his joker on the fourth lap and returned to the main circuit just ahead of the EKS team owner.

A determined Ekstrom tried passing Heikkinen around the outside heading into the first chicane at the start of lap five, but despite drawing side-by-side couldn’t climb a position. The 2016 champion then ran wide on the long loose right-hander and lost the position to DTM rival Scheider.

Bakkerud and Kristoffersson took their compulsory jokers from the front on the final lap as Heikkinen held onto third. Larsson finished sixth.

Ekstrom’s and Heikkinen’s accumulated points mean the EKS pair secured the Teams’ Championship to accompany Ekstrom’s drivers’ title.

Having dominated the weekend up to the semi-finals, Petter Solberg dropped behind Ekstrom at the start of semi-final one and was then caught up in contact when World RX Team Austria driver Janis Baumanis was hit in the rear by team mate Timur Timerzyanov.

Solberg continued in the race but with broken steering on his Citroen DS3 he hit a tyre wall on lap five, destroying the front of the car, before dragging his double title-winning stead to the finish line for the very last time

Solberg’s former World Rally Championship rival Sebastien Loeb also failed to make it into the semi-finals, he finished fourth on track in semi-final two but was dropped to fifth after receiving a five-second penalty.

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About this article
Series World Rallycross
Event Argentina
Track Circuito de Rosario
Article type Race report