FIA World Rallycross

World RX Team Preview: Monster Energy GCK RX Cartel

3 Mins read
Credit: GCK

Andreas Bakkerud and Liam Doran are back once again with Monster Energy RX Cartel, but this time they will be in a pair of Renault Megane‘s run by GC Kompetition.

The FIA World Rallycross Championship is in good stead with them on board and they promise to bring the same excitement that both drivers have produced in recent years.

The two men can’t wait to get back on the track after Bakkerud agonisingly finished runner-up to Timmy Hansen following the most dramatic of finales in South Africa last November.

Can Bakkerud get his redemption? 2020 could be tougher for the Norwegian but he’ll be hoping that he’ll get another shot at the title.

But, Bakkerud could face similar fortune to Felipe Massa in Formula 1 when he lost the championship in 2008 on the last lap of the last corner and never got a chance to win the title again.

Audi and Bakkerud have been a good match in recent seasons, so adapting to and understanding the Renault Megane will be a challenge for last year’s runner up.

Credit: FIA World RX

They might not be on the pace straight away and with four rounds in the space of eight days to start the season, being quick out of the box will be pivotal.

However, Bakkerud’s time with Hoonigan Racing Division will give him a lot of confidence that he can adapt to a new car and have strong pace early in the season. His 2016 campaign was arguably his best in the World RX with six podiums and three wins including a clean sweep, the first driver to complete that feat.

Last year, Bakkerud did not quite have the ultimate pace at least not on a consistent basis compared to Timmy Hansen and Team Hansen.

One win all season shows that, and it seemed as if Monster Energy RX Cartel were very strong in the early part of the weekend but the rest of the field would catch up come the crucial stages of the event, the semi-finals and the final.

Bad luck may have cost him the championship but he will need genuine pace at every event to be a championship contender this year especially with Johan Kristoffersson returning to the series.

With the experience of fighting for the championship under his belt, Bakkerud is in a significantly stronger position to not make the same mistakes he made in 2019.

Credit: IMG / FIA World RX

Teammate Doran was unable to help Bakkerud and be there when the Norwegian faltered. This will be key for the team if they are to mount a title challenge in 2020.

It was a strong start to the year with a maiden World RX podium and he was on to win his first event in Hell in the torrential rain until his car lost drive in the final.

Apart from those moments though, Doran simply lacked raw pace and his unique driving style seemed to not suit the Audi S1.

With Monster Energy RX Cartel joining forces with GCK, Doran returns to driving a Megane having competed with GCK at the back end of the 2018 championship.

Credit: IMG / FIA World RX

Immediately the ‘British Bomb’ was on the pace as he sent the car around the outside of Johan Kristoffersson at Loheac at turn one and traded paint with the dominant Swede showing that he has no fear and loves a rallycross battle, even when it was his first race back in the sport.

At 33, Doran is at the peak of his career so 2020 is his biggest year yet. He is a driver who relies on confidence and therefore needs a few good results early on to really get going.

Especially with his flamboyant style Doran needs the confidence to really throw the car into the corner and stand in the loud pedal whilst the car is sliding.

Doran is in a similar position to GRX Taneco‘s Timur Timerzyanov and needs to find that extra gear and consistency to match his teammate.

Prediction

Andreas Bakkerud: 4th

Liam Doran: 10th

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