Olsbergs MSE Ford made a strong start to their 2014 FIA World Rallycross Championship campaign this weekend in Montalegre, Portugal as they took second and third in the Supercar final; the result also secured first place in the team standings.
Andreas Bakkerud was quick from the start of the weekend taking victory in his first race by nearly 2 seconds and setting a time good enough for third place in the opening heat. A third place in race two would place him fifth in heat two. Things didn’t go so well in the third heat as he was forced to retire after just one lap, but for heat four he would be back on form taking victory in the race by nearly seven seconds.
Team-mate Reinis Nitiss started the weekend with a fourth place in his first race followed by victory in race two, a time that would be good enough to take second in heat two. Race three finished a second behind winner Timur Timerzyanov who seemed unstoppable. Race four Nitiss bagged a fourth place and moved on to the semi-finals.
The semi-finals were all about Osbergs MSE as they took a one-two on the way to the final, ahead of Anton Marklund who also grabbed a place to the final ahead of Timerzyanov.
Petter Solberg was unstoppable in the final but Bakkerud gained the Monster Energy Super Charge Award as a result of his stunning starts in to the first corner. Both Olsbergs MSE Ford’s took their joker lap at the start of the race, this would prove valuable as when the two VW’s took theirs they slotted ahead of Toomas Heikkinen and Anton Marklund to take a two-three result as Bakkerud lead home Nittis.
“We are eating them for breakfast in the starts and we showed a good pace,” said Bakkerud. “This winter we had some tests but today was the big exam — and we proved ourselves.
“Second overall in the first-ever FIA World Rallycross Championship is a great result, but second is also first-loser, and I need to push a little more at the next round in three weeks at Lydden Hill,” he added.
Teammate Nitiss scored third place in his World RX debut with Olsbergs MSE. “The whole team did a brilliant job. It’s a really big step for me to move to Supercars and after this weekend I know I can drive fast in this competitive field.” explained Nitiss.
Team owner Andreas Eriksson was happy with his teams first weekend in World Rallycross “It’s good to know where the field is. The level of competition in this championship is really high; there is no single team that is massively better than everybody else out there,” he said. “Our Olsbergs MSE Ford Fiesta ST rallycross cars are strong, and we have even more we can get out of them as the season progresses.”