Team maintains lead in teams championship.
BUXTEHUDE, Germany (September 22, 2014) - Olsbergs MSE drivers Andreas Bakkerud and Reinis Nitiss battled through a tough two days of racing this weekend as the FIA World Rallycross Championship traveled to the storied Estering circuit in northern Germany for Round 9.
Bakkerud opened the weekend with a heart-stopping on-track incident when a rear suspension failure at 150 kilometers per hour saw him cut a high-speed figure eight through rallycross traffic.
"The car started dancing everywhere and I didn't have any control," said Bakkerud. "It was fine as long as I kept the throttle in but when I had to brake for the hairpin it was a big problem: I saw the fence, I saw the wall, and then I saw every car in the race coming straight for me."
Remarkably, the Norwegian slipped through the field without making contact and was able to restart the car and soldier on to the finish in an effort to maximize his points. It was a popular move among the estimated 10,000 spectators who packed into the track for two days of racing this weekend.
We set some great times and I'm happy with how everything works with the car and the team. I can't wait to get to Italy and be on the podium.
"I didn't hit the fence, I didn't hit the wall, and nobody hit me. It was just a perfect little spin for YouTube," he said, adding: "I saved it -- like a boss."
But Bakkerud finished the first day a disappointing 27th after starting his second heat on a slick and freshly watered track that made it virtually impossible to set a top time in the 40-car field.
"It became about coming back into competition on Sunday with a clear head and motivation," said Bakkerud. "I knew it wouldn't be a walk in the park but I was able to make a comeback and I'm proud of that."
Bakkerud was able to set the fastest time in his third heat and climb 20 positions to secure a spot in the semifinal.
The Estering track is a traditional stop on the rallycross circuit. It is narrow, with few passing opportunities, and a high speed straightaway that sees cars hit their top speeds. A good start is critical as contact is virtually unavoidable through the narrow first turn, while drivers must also be cautious of close trackside walls.
A back-row starting position for Bakkerud made it an uphill battle to advance from the semifinal and he narrowly missed out on a spot in the final. Even so, the enthusiastic driver said he's leaving Germany in a positive frame of mind.
"I'm really excited for the next race," said Bakkerud, who has earned four podium results so far this season -- including a win at World RX of Great Britain. "We set some great times and I'm happy with how everything works with the car and the team. I can't wait to get to Italy and be on the podium."
Teammate Nitiss also suffered misfortune this weekend. After setting solid results in Saturday's opening heats, he battled mechanical issues on Sunday that saw him finish outside of contention for the semifinal round. It was the first time this season that he did not achieve the semifinal.
"It wasn't our best weekend but I'm happy with our pace and the capabilities we've shown as a team," said Nitiss. "Now is the moment when we need to be strong. We're in a good position in the team championship and the Supercars standings. That's a good feeling."
With three rounds remaining in the World RX championship, the Olsbergs MSE Ford squad remains in the lead of the teams championship -- 10 points clear of closest rival Marklund Motorsport. For the World RX title, Nitiss is narrowly in third, trailing second-place Toomas Heikkinen and leader Petter Solberg. Bakkerud is fourth.
Nitiss and Bakkerud will return to competition next weekend for Round 10 of the FIA World Rallycross Championship at Franciacorta in Brescia, Italy (September 27-28). They will be joined by wildcard entry Gigi Galli, the rally driver known for his spectacular driving style, and Swedish touring car driver Richard Göransson.
Olsbergs MSE Ford