Andreas Bakkerud says he will likely pursue a switch to WRC2 in 2018 if he's unable to secure a top-line drive in the World Rallycross Championship.
Bakkerud had expected to remain with Ken Block’s Ford Performance-backed Hoonigan Racing team for a third term next year, but was left without a seat when the outfit announced it was withdrawing from World RX last month, ahead of the season finale in South Africa.
The Norwegian driver is eyeing a season in WRC2 to hone his skills if his rallycross plans do not come through.
Bakkerud has scored six World RX wins over the last four years, and says that while his focus remains fixed on becoming World Rallycross champion, diversifying into rallying to embellish his skills with additional seat time could be a good part-time solution in 2018.
“I’ve spoken with almost every team [in World RX], and not many of them know what they are doing next year yet,” Bakkerud told Motorsport.com.
“We’re still in November, next season doesn’t start until April, so it’s still a little early to get anything signed or ready, but we are definitely working on it. I’m looking at everything, and looking at myself and what I can improve.”
“For me, fighting against [Sebastien] Loeb, Petter [Solberg] and Mattias [Ekstrom] in World RX, they are not only great drivers but they are very good at setting up cars.
"I’ve actually been wondering about calling [M-Sport boss] Malcolm Wilson to speak about doing a full season of WRC2 next year and wait for the right time for me in rallycross. I’m considering everything right now.”
Bakkerud sampled a Ford Fiesta R5 for the first time at Castle Combe’s Rally Day in September. “Rallying would be good because of the seat time, to help me get better on my weaker sides,” he said.
“But staying in rallycross is my main aim; I want to drive in the full world championship, but it needs to be on certain terms. I need to find a winning team that has the same goals and targets as me, and also be looking to electric rallycross too.”
The former European Super1600 champion believes he is yet to have the best car at his disposal in World RX, and had been talking about a long-term deal with Block’s Ford-supported team, before it withdrew.
“I haven’t been in a 100% winning car, yet. I think we had a very good car with Olsbergs MSE back in 2014, but I wasn’t ready. Driving a lot of cars that haven’t been 100% ready, I’ve learnt a bunch and I think that’s one of my strong sides, that I can drive a car that’s not 100% to its limits very quickly.
"It’s a shame [Ford withdrew] really because I think it’s small stuff we could have done to be able to win, but we just didn’t have enough time to improve and to show it, but I think the base is very good.”
“Me and Ken were speaking about five-to-ten years, we spoke about a long-term contract. I really want to stay in rallycross, so it was a big disappointment that I’m not going to continue with Ken Block.”