The 29-year-old looked destined to miss the 2021 season after struggling to put the necessary budget together, but when the opportunity presented itself to drive the ESMotorsport’s second Škoda Fabia at Höljes alongside Jānis Baumanis – he explains that he did not need to think too hard...
"Having to watch one more race weekend from the sofa would just have been unthinkable," Bakkerud said, “and especially Höljes – my stomach wouldn’t have stood for that! I really enjoyed the new RX+ broadcast in Barcelona and all the onboard camera angles are really cool, but the bottom line is that I’m a racer and I want to be out there racing!
"I’m over the moon to be back on the grid, and this is such a special circuit for me. I went to school in Torsby when I was growing up, so I’m very familiar with the area around Höljes and it really feels like a home track."
"There has been a huge amount of hard work behind-the-scenes with my partners and the team to get to this point, and now it’s time to enjoy it and go racing!" he said.
The Norwegian is one of the biggest names in international motorsport having claimed two FIA European Rallycross Championship in Super1600, then taking the step up to the World Championship stage in 2014.
Bakkerud's livery for the Höljes Euro RX1 outing.
Andreas has triumphed on seven occasions and finished inside the top three in the title standings in 2016, 2018, and 2019 – in the last of those seasons, tying on points with eventual champion Timmy Hansen.
Bakkerud’s past form at Höljes is certainly impressive, with five straight podium finishes there in the World Championship from 2014 to 2018.
"My expectations are always high – whenever my name is on the entry list, I’m there to win – but I also need to be realistic given that I haven’t done many laps in the Fabia. Results come over time, so I can’t expect to go out there and be the fastest straightaway, but this is a great opportunity to get to know the team and car," Bakkerud adds.
"Höljes is a one-off for now, but I’ve definitely got one eye on the future and I’ve always regarded ESMotorsport as a team with real potential in rallycross. Who knows, maybe I can be the driver who breaks the ice and steps onto the podium with them..."