OlsbergsMSE Endures Mixed Fortunes at Montalegre

by Phil Kinch

The Ford OlsbergsMSE Squad enjoyed a weekend of mixed fortunes at the opening round of the 2015 FIA World Rallycross Championship in Portugal.

Andreas Bakkerud hit the ground running at Montalegre in his Ford Fiesta, finishing second overall in heat one before going on to be fastest in heat two and take the overnight lead. As the conditions deteriorated on day two, Bakkerud was again fastest in heat three, but starting issues dropped him down the order in heat four. He went on to qualify for the Semi-Finals and then to finish fifth in the Final.

His younger team-mate Reinis Nitiss had a more difficult weekend at Montalegre. Despite learning to adjust to the difficult conditions, the Latvian driver only managed to finish at the bottom end of the top twelve in heats one and two. However setup changes overnight helped improve his pace on day two as he took a second place finish in his heat three race before winning his heat four race. This meant he qualified for the Semi-Final, but fifth place ended his running in the event.

Former double European Rallycross Champion Timur Timerzyanov has joined the team in 2015, with his entry being run by Namus OMSE and he progressed quietly through the WorldRX event as he learnt about his new Ford Fiesta for this season. Despite starting issues in the heat stages, Timerzyanov finished in tenth place after heat four, qualifying for the Semi-Final. However like Nitiss, he went on to finish in fifth place, being knocked out of the running for the final.

Bakkerud explained how he was happy with to be back in WorldRX action again.

“When it started raining, I just couldn’t get into the rhythm. Nothing I tried to do was working,” said Bakkerud. “It was an awesome time. It feels so great to get back out and racing again. To be back having all the feelings you get when you race: it’s the nerves and the drama and the adrenaline; the highs and the lows. It’s unbelievable how I miss those things in the off-season.”

Nitiss took positives from his performance at Montalegre and from the experience gained in the tricky conditions.

“I don’t have much experience with the weather the way it was changing all the time,” said Nitiss. “It was a good learning weekend for me with the Olsbergs MSE team. Knowing I have the right people around me who can help me and teach me reminds me that an experience like this weekend prepares me for the future.”

Timerzyanov is learning to get to know his mount and is looking forward to getting further miles under his belt.

“With the weather being so inconsistent I can’t say I was feeling 100 percent at home sitting in the car,” said Timerzyanov. “I’m looking forward to a dry condition track to get a real feel for the car in competition.”

All three Ford Fiesta drivers will be in action again this weekend as WorldRX heads to Hockenheim for the second round of its 2015 calendar.

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