MONTALEGRE, PORTUGAL — Building upon his successes during Day 1 of World Rallycross Portugal — initially holding the fastest lap in open practice, winning his Qualifying 1 race (which also happened to be the first-ever competitive outing for the Focus RS RX) and finishing out the day 4th overall in the standings — Hoonigan Racing Division’s Andreas Bakkerud returned to the track in Portugal on Day 2 with the straightforward goal: make it to the final in his brand-new Ford Focus RS RX rallycross car. As it would turn out, he did one better than that, making it all the way to the final where he finished 4th overall.
Bakkerud nabbed P3 in both of Sunday’s qualifiers, which placed him on the front row of Semi-Final 2. After an intense 6 lap battle and some very strategic driving, Bakkerud finished the Semi-Final in 3rd place, advancing himself to the Final.
Starting on the back row of the final, Bakkerud fought his way as best he could to get to the front of the pack, eventually coming away with a 4th overall finish on the event and coming away from the weekend with 20 championship points, which puts him in a tie for 4th overall in the championship after one round.
“I’m extremely proud of Andreas and his driving this weekend,” said teammate and HRD team boss Ken Block. “Ford Performance and M-Sport have delivered us an incredible racecar in the Focus RS RX and while we are still very early in the program, Andreas has gone out there and proven that it’s a highly capable machine despite being so early along in the development process. We still need some time to do more testing, work on different setups and log more seat time, but so far, so good. While I didn’t have as strong of an outing as I would have liked due to some engine programming glitches on Saturday, it feels great to have our team overall still have a good weekend and to see the early capabilities of these new cars. We’re both really looking forward to getting back behind the wheel in three weeks at Hockenheim!”
While a recurring engine programming glitch that kept his throttle at 100% open when he’d let off the gas hijacked Block’s weekend, he still managed to demonstrate the potential of the new Focus RS RX by putting up both a second and third place Qualifying race finish over the course of the weekend. Unfortunately, Block missed the final due to having to run in the first group out during the Qualification 4 races when the track was the slowest — a result of slower qualifying times in the earlier Qualification races due to his programming glitch and slower track conditions.
Both Block and Bakkerud will now get ready for Round 2 of the 2016 FIA World Rallycross Championship, taking place in Hockenheim, Germany, the weekend of May 7.