The 2020 World Rallycross Championship was always going to be an uphill challenge for Andreas Bakkerud (the 2019 vice-champion) having switched from EKS run Audi's to GC Kompetition.
PHOTO CREDIT: GC Kompetition.
Having tested the Renault Megane R.S. RX in Cape Town in 2018, he might have had an idea of its performance, but it always takes time to learn the new machinery. But straight off the bat, Bakkerud claimed some good results and even progressed to the finals on two occasions but never truly had the ability to challenge for a win or even a podium due to a lack of performance and mechanical issues with the Megane.
But things would soon take a turn for the better following a test after a Latvian double-header in France, which saw Bakkerud return for form in Barcelona. Whilst Saturday (round 7) wasn't the easiest for the Norwegian, he did however make the final, but was hampered by power steering issues and ended the day in sixth overall.
On Sunday morning, Andreas registered the ninth-fastest time in the morning warm-up session ahead of Q1, where he would finish behind Mattias Ekstrom and conclude the session in fifth overall.
And, as the day progressed the Monster Energy GCK RX Cartel driver just got faster and faster. Q2 saw the Norwegian hold off Johan Kristoffersson to win the heat and claim a third-place finish overall.
That's not all folks, Andreas went on to beat the likes of Mattias Ekstrom, Johan Kristoffersson, and the Hansen brothers in Q3, which saw him leap-frog Timmy Hansen and seal pole position in the semi-final. Guess what? He won semi-final 2 by 0.478 seconds ahead of Timmy Hansen.
Whilst Johan Kristoffersson won the other semi-final from the second row of the grid, he would line-up alongside Andreas for the final.
Both Andreas and Johan started the final with two new front tyres and as the lights went out Johan appeared to have a better start. While Andreas inched closer heading into turn one. Thinking he was clear, Kristoffersson cut in front of Bakkerud sending him into the tyre barrier, he spun around and was hit quite hard by Robin Larsson who had nowhere to go, his race was over from there.
It's a question of what could have been? But Andreas is quite pleased with his results in Barcelona despite the first corner exit in the final.
"Generally, I’m really, really happy about the result this weekend," he said. "Who would’ve thought after the difficulties we faced at the start of the season that we would be here today, on pole position in the final ahead of Johan Kristofferson."
"We even had Johan on reaction time at the start of the final! The squeeze came really suddenly and Robin had nowhere to go but that’s the way it goes sometimes."
Yet to win a race this season, Andreas admits that he really wanted to win in Barcelona, but won't give up on his pursuit of glory in the GCK prepared Renault Megane R.S. RX.
"I wanted this win really badly and I’m not giving up now," Bakkerud adds. "We did everything we could this weekend and I’m really proud of the entire team and everyone involved both here and back at home. Thank you!"
Written By - Junaid Samodien.