European Rallycross

Bakkerud Delights Home Fans By Winning In Hell

3 Mins read
Credit: World @ Red Bull Content Pool

Championship leader Anton Marklund‘s unbeaten run in this year’s FIA European Rallycross Championship has come to an end after Andreas Bakkerud secured a very popular home win at Lånkebanen in Hell.

A highly entertaining weekend was brought to a close with a scintillating final. Marklund lined up on pole alongside defending champion Bakkerud. Jamaican star Fraser McConnell, who has been delighting fans all weekend with his aggressive, no holds barred racing, started in the middle of the line, with the man currently in second place in the championship, Jānis Baumanis alongside, and finally another Norwegian, Sondre Evjen, who has had a distinctly mixed weekend, completing the grid. The crowd were expecting fireworks, and the drivers certainly delivered.

McConnell sadly got left on the line and had to retire straightaway with technical issues. Baumanis squeezed Bakkerud and Marklund on the run down to turn one, forcing Marklund off the track and over a curb, puncturing his front right tyre and causing a steering issue which dropped him out of contention. Baumanis put in a valiant effort, throwing his #YellowSquad Peugeot 208 around the track in the hunt for second place. But out front, it was all about the home favourites. Andreas Bakkerud, winner of the first ever World Rallycross Championship Grand Slam at hell back in 2016, led his compatriot Evjen home for a Norway 1-2, throwing their cars into a series of doughnuts to the delight of their fans.

Bakkerud leads the pack in Hell. Credit: @World / Red Bull Content Pool

For Marklund, there will be a sense of “what might have been.” The Swedish driver looked like the man to beat all weekend, setting the pace in all three Heats, and winning his Progression Race and cruising to an easy win in his Semi-Final, despite that race ending in chaos. The flag didn’t drop after five laps had been completed, so, as Marklund slowed down, Evjen stormed past and rocketed away, leaving Marklund to give chase. Once the mistake was found, however, the race win was rightly handed back to the championship leader.

If it hadn’t been for that opening lap contact, Marklund would surely have taken the fight to Bakkerud right to the line. However, as always with rallycross, it isn’t over until the checkered flag drops, meaning the Swede finishes off the podium for the first time in 2022. A strong performance as well from Baumanis will give the #YellowSquad team a boost. However, due to points now only being awarded based on finishing position in the final, the Latvian has only clawed back one point from his rival, meaning the gap to the leader is still a formidable 17 points.

Elsewhere in the field, Belgian driver Enzo Ide suffered a disappointing end to his weekend. Having been right among the main contenders, he suffered a puncture in his semi-final after contact with Anders Michelak, forcing both drivers to retire. Michelak was also involved in a big crash in his progression race with Frank Valle in his Ford Fiesta. Valle, having elected to start right on the outside of the grid, threw his car into a mighty move around the outside of turn one, attempted to send it with full power around the entire field, which would have been the move of the weekend, had he pulled it off. Unfortunately, he tagged the rear left of Michelak’s Volkswagen Polo and sent both of them into the wall hard.

Bakkerud’s win sees him rise to third in the championship. Unfortunately, however, he is unlikely to stay there, as he has now completed the two events he is scheduled to compete in this year. The 2021 champion, now with 12 event wins to his name, does not appear to have any plans to compete in any more rounds, pleading straight after the race: “I’ll see you guys next year. I hope to be back. Give me a car! I’ll race!” Hopefully EKS team boss Matthias Ekström was listening and we will see more of the charismatic Norwegian in the near future.

Out front, Marklund’s lead has come down a little, but Baumanis will rue the missed opportunity to shrink that gap even more. As things stand, everything still looks very good for Marklund to claim his third EuroRX title.

POS.NAT.DRIVERCARTEAMPOINTS
1SWEAnton MARKLUNDHyundai i20SET Promotion52
2LVAJānis BAUMANISPeugeot 208#YellowSquad35
3NORAndreas BAKKERUDAudi S1EKS33
4NORSivert SVARDALVolkswagen PoloSivert Svardal24
5BELEnzo IDEAudi S1EKS22
6SWEAnders MICHALAKVolkswagen PoloCarexperience AB22
7NORSondre EVJENAudi S1JC Raceteknik20
8HUNTamás KÁRAIAudi S1Kárai Motorsport Sportegyesület20
9FRAJean Baptiste DUBOURGPeugeot 208Jean Baptiste Dubourg18
10DNKUlrik LINNEMANNFord FiestaLinnemann Promotion13
11SWEJohan KRISTOFFERSSONVolkswagen PoloKristoffersson Motorsport12
12SWEOliver SOLBERGHyundai i20Hedströms Motorsport11
13JAMFraser McCONNELLHyundai i20Betomik Racing Team11
14POLMarcin GAGACKIFord FiestaOponeo11
15CZEAleš FUČIKVolkswagen PoloKRTZ Motorsport ACCR Czech Team10
16SWELinus ÖSTLUNDVolkswagen PoloLinus Östlund10
17HUNAttila MÓZERFord FiestaNyirád Motorsport KFT9
18NORFrank VALLEFord FiestaFrank Valle8
19NOROle Christian VEIBYAudi S1JC Raceteknik8
20DEUMandie AUGUSTSEAT IbizaALL-INKL.COM Muennich Motorsport7
21GBRPatrick O’DONOVANFord FiestaPatrick O’Donovan6
22NORDavid NORDGAARDFord FiestaDavid Nordgaard4
23HUNMárk MÓZERPeugeot 208Nyirád Motorsport KFT4
24HUNLászló KISSPeugeot 208László Kiss3
25IRLOliver O’DONOVANProton IrizOliver O’Donovan2
26POLDariusz TOPOLEWSKIFord FiestaOponeo1
Championship standings after Round 3 of the FIA European Rallycross Championship
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