Second Super1600 crown is stepping stone to top class
Norwegian Super1600 driver, Andreas Bakkerud, is concentrating on the two remaining events in the 2012 European Rallycross Championship, but the 20-year old driver also has an eye on the future. “First I have battle it out with my Danish rival Ulrik Linneman. We both are in the race for the Super1600-title and because of that my focus and preparation is currently at the races in Finland and Germany. In the past weeks I have done some testing in Finland and I believe Ulrik has done the same in Germany. I think we are both ready to race for the championship,” said Bakkerud.
With a second Super1600 crown almost in his grasp, Bakkerud is also looking to the future and is excited by the changes ahead for 2013. “With the new championship coming up next year, and all the media backing and marketing support from IMG, there are now possibilities for me, that I can hopefully make the step up to the Supercars and become a professional racer,” said Bakkerud who failed to graduate from Super1600 after winning the 2011 title. “I could not find the complete budget to race a Supercar this year. It’s always difficult to find budget, but with more and better media coverage and a complete professional team behind the Rallycross championship, it can help drivers like me open doors to big companies. IMG is very serious when it speaks about the media coverage, marketing and branding Rallycross. The new championship gives me, as a driver, more value in commercial and marketing terms. It’s all down to me now; first I need to win the Super1600title and then I have to work very hard to make the step to become a professional Supercar driver.”
Now close to the end of his second year with Set Promotion, Bakkerud feels he has achieved a lot under the tutelage of team boss Jussi Pinomäki. “This year I have learned a lot again and grown as a racing driver. We have managed to get the Twingo into the A final at every event and now I must hope that I can become European champion.”
Playing his cards close to his chest and disclosing no secrets, Bakkerud is chasing every possible option to drive a Supercar in 2013 and is excited about the challenge of a new championship. “The current system is sometimes difficult to explain to people who are new to Rallycross. The new system is easier to understand and that’s important. It will ask something from the teams because they have to rethink the technical process and prepare the cars for more races and during the race, the tactics will be important for the driver because every heat counts for the championship. To me the 2013 FIA rallycross Championship sounds fantastic. Like I said, the new championship with backing of IMG gives us as drivers opportunities and chances. It’s just like in Rallycross: when there is a chance you go for it!”
Bakkerud’s enthusiasm for Rallycross is infectious and comes from a lifelong interest and passion to follow his childhood heroes. “When I was a kid I watched a lot of Rallycross videos with Martin Schanche, Olle Arnesson, Matti Alamäki and all those other big names. I thought ‘I want to do that’. Being able to race a Supercar will be a dream come true, but then I will want to battle with the big boys and race against Timerzyanov, Foust and the rest of the gang.”