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12 Oct 2014

WRX: BabyBlue makes it two

Category: News, WRX Posted 12.10.14 23:00 by

After Timmy Hansen dominated most of the Turkish event it was eventually Andreas ‘BabyBlue’ Bakkerud who claimed his second victory of the season in the all-decisive Final that was run without World Champion Petter Solberg.

 

Of the twelve rounds counting for the inaugural FIA World Rallycross Championship a total of nine have been done in Europe. After North America saw its event in August in Canada the all-new series went to Asia this weekend where the former F1 venue Istanbul Park hosted Round 11, before the WRX Finale will take place in the South American state of Argentina. Petter Solberg has claimed the drivers title already in Italy, but the decision about the teams championship is now postponed till WorldRX of San Juan.

After the two American superstars Ken Block and Tanner Foust had pulled out from WorldRX of Istanbul the 20 entries strong SuperCars field shrinked to 18 starters. Both Block and Foust claimed vague ‘personal reasons’ for their decision to withdraw from the event, but the current situation in Turkey is an all but inviting one for US citizens and is widely seen as the cause of the absence. Therefore, most people have no problem with the decision of the Ford and the Volkswagen driver, especially many of their compatriots posting comments on Facebook to express understanding for the withdrawal.

 

Norwegian Andreas 'BabyBlue' Bakkerud scored his second 2014 WorldRX round victory. © JKR/ERC24

Norwegian Andreas ‘BabyBlue’ Bakkerud scored his second 2014 WorldRX round victory. © JKR/ERC24

 

After his overall victory Bakkerud was hugged by his team-mate Reinis Nitišs who got stuck in his Semi-Final. © JKR/ERC24

After his overall victory Bakkerud was hugged by his team-mate Reinis Nitišs who got stuck in his Semi-Final. © JKR/ERC24

 

Ford OlsbergsMSE driver Norwegian Andreas Bakkerud has won this weekend’s WorldRX of Turkey, the penultimate round of the first ever FIA World Rallycross Championship. Team Peugeot-Hansen driver Swede Timmy Hansen and Volkswagen Marklund’s Finn Toomas ‘Topi’ Heikkinen finished second and third respectively. With Ford [355 points], Peugeot [335 points] and Volkswagen [359 points] all represented on the podium, the fight for the first Teams’ Championship will now be decided in Argentina’s San Juan by the end of November.

Turkey RX also formed the final round of the supporting RX Lites Cup, which saw Swede Kevin Eriksson crowned as the inaugural Champion. Fellow-countryman Sebastian Eriksson was awarded the RX Lites race win this weekend, with compatriot Kevin Hansen – the younger brother of Timmy – taking second. Super1600 event winner Latvian Jānis Baumanis clinched the third podium spot.

 

Finn Toomas 'Topi' Heikkinen drove his VW Polo Mk5 SuperCar to third place. © JKR/ERC24

Finn Toomas ‘Topi’ Heikkinen drove his VW Polo Mk5 SuperCar to third place. © JKR/ERC24

 

The SuperCar winners podium with (from left) runner-up Timmy Hansen, winner Andreas Bakkerud and third Toomas Heikkinen. © JKR/ERC24

The SC winners podium with (from left) runner-up Timmy Hansen, winner Andreas Bakkerud and third Toomas Heikkinen. © JKR/ERC24

 

Bakkerud, who celebrated his 23rd birthday on Friday, was delighted with his win at the Intercity Istanbul Park – the former Formula One venue which staged the Turkish F1 race from 2005 till 2011. “This has been a great birthday present,” beamed Bakkerud who also becomes the first driver to win an FIA Rallycross event in Asia.“We have been struggling slightly in the last couple of races, but today everything came together and the car has been working perfectly. The final race was just crazy – Timmy was really close to me, it could have gone either way, but I was really pushing after the semis and I was hungry for the victory.”

Arguably the most impressive drive of the weekend, however, was that of Timmy Hansen who won three heats, Semi-Final 1 and the Monster Energy Super Charge Award. “I had the pace to win the Final, but I made a small mistake and Andreas jumped on the opportunity. We had some close racing with Andreas, ‘Topi’ and Henning and then after I took the Joker, all I heard on the radio was that I had to push. I didn’t quite manage it, but I’m happy with how the weekend has gone.”

 

Brothers in arms: Henning Solberg eventually made it to fifth and Petter Solberg to sixth place overall. © JKR/ERC24

Brothers in arms: Henning Solberg eventually made it to fifth and Petter Solberg to sixth place overall. © JKR/ERC24

 

Heikkinen’s third place in Turkey sees the Finn remain second in the overall drivers’ standings, 50 points behind Petter Solberg who has already secured the Championship title after accruing enough points at the previous round in Italy. “Volkswagen Marklund are now leading the Teams’ standings by four points – we’ve been tied at the top on two separate occasions this year, but now we are leading it by ourselves,” explained Heikkinen whose team-mate Anton Marklund finished one place behind in fourth. “My driving hasn’t been perfect this weekend, I made a few small mistakes, but I’m happy to have got some crucial points for the team.”

Rounding off the top five in Turkey was Monster Energy World RX Team’s stand-in Henning Solberg who claimed his best finish of the season so far in the Citroën DS3 SuperCar of Liam Doran. His younger brother Petter Solberg joined him on the back row of the Final, but both siblings retired.

“I’ve been really pleased with the car this weekend, the handling and power has got better and better, and the team have worked very hard,” explained Henning. “We changed some small settings with the differentials and now the car really is so fast. It was a shame we weren’t allowed to re-fuel because of a time limit before the finals, because this cost us a podium for sure, but it has still been a great day.”

 

Per-Gunnar Andersson drove a second, a fourth and an eighth fastest time, but just missed the finals in 13th place. © JKR/ERC24

Per-Gunnar Andersson drove a second, a fourth and an eighth fastest time, but just missed the finals in 13th place. © JKR/ERC24

 

Mattias Ekström's EKS Audi Team is determined to play a leading role in the 2015 WorldRX series. © JKR/ERC24

Mattias Ekström’s EKS Audi Team is determined to play a leading role in the 2015 WorldRX series. © JKR/ERC24

 

EKS RX had a weekend of mixed fortunes with former WRC star ‘P-G’ Andersson showing flashes of speed, but unable to reach the semis due to missing Heat 1 on Saturday following an engine change on his Audi A1 SuperCar. Team-mate Edward Sandström consistently challenged the WorldRX front-runners this weekend and the GT racer was rewarded with his first Semi-Final place. However, Sandström was later disqualified after it was discovered that his car was underweight.

 

Swede Sebastian Eriksson is leading the RX Lites Final sixpack into the first lap. © JKR/ERC24

Swede Sebastian Eriksson is leading the RX Lites Final sixpack into the first lap. © JKR/ERC24

 

The RX Lites rostrum (from left): Runner-up Kevin Hansen, winner Sebastian Eriksson and third Jānis Baumanis. © JKR/ERC24

The RX Lites rostrum (from left): Runner-up Kevin Hansen, winner Sebastian Eriksson and third Jānis Baumanis. © JKR/ERC24

 

In the RX Lites Cup Swede Sebastian Eriksson was top qualifier overnight and continued his run of good form today to take the final RX Lites Cup win of the season. “It’s been a perfect weekend and it’s great to have won the first RX race of the season and now the last. This track really suits the RX Lites, especially with being so technical.  Congratulations to Kevin [Eriksson] for winning the RX Lites Cup – he’s been consistent all year.” Kevin Hansen was awarded the RX Lites Cup runners-up spot, as well as finishing second in Turkey this weekend. “We’ve missed two races this year so second in the Championship is a great result for us.”

 

Final results of the SuperCars to be found here.

Final results of the RX Lites to be found here.

 

For more images please visit our Flickr gallery here.

 

Top photo: Hansen leading the Final into corner 1 while Petter Solberg remains helpless at the starting grid. © JKR/ERC24