The 22-year-old Norwegian rallycross driver, Andreas Bakkerud, has signed a factory contract with Ford Motor Company technical partner, Swedish Olsbergs MSE.
“This is an incredible opportunity,” said Bakkerud. “My dream has become a reality and I am ready to face the, already increased, pressure to reach new goals driving for a champion team like Olsbergs MSE. We will fight to the end for the first-ever World Rallycross Championship.”
The two-year contact signed today establishes Bakkerud as one of two Olsbergs MSE drivers that will campaign two FIA World Rallycross Championship (WRX) seasons in a Ford Fiesta ST Supercar.
“The team has many powerful and important resources available, but the most important for me is Jussi Pinomäki my team manager,” said Bakkerud.
"I'm excited to continue to work with Andreas,” said Jussi Pinomäki who has led Bakkerud to two European Championship gold medals in Super1600. “He is an athlete that we really believe in that, in turn, puts faith into our work methods and our development plans for him.”
In addition to Bakkerud’s sponsorship with Ford and Olsbergs MSE, many faithful partners are committed to support, and make possible, a full campaign in WRX.
“I have nearly 20 local Bergen partners that have stuck with me throughout my racing career and they have each stretched their limits a little bit further to make this season possible. The fact that those who have been with me since the first season continue to give me the opportunity to develop my career is huge for me. I am eternally grateful,” Bakkerud humbly added.
Bakkerud joins Olsbergs MSE “2014 Global Supercar Roster” as the team announces its commitment and focus to championships in three rallycross series.
“Andreas performs tremendously well under pressure which makes him unique and in my eyes a future world champion,” said Andreas Eriksson, Olsbergs MSE Team Owner and Manager.
In addition to WRX, Olsbergs MSE will aim for its fourth-straight championship in the U.S.-based Global Rallycross series and the new Scandinavian series RallyX with STCC.
“The Olsbergs MSE team is one of the real big leaders in the sport of rallycross,” said Bakkerud. “Team Owner Andreas Eriksson has always been a role model to me in the way he works. How they now push the sport forward is just simply impressive and I am proud to on their 2014 Global Supercar Roster.”
Olsbergs MSE will campaign two factory drivers in all three series and will be trained by two-time WRC champion, Marcus Grönholm, and BTCC champion, Andrew Jordan, the teams leading developers and test drivers.
“We are a very young team and how they work with us young drivers is unique,” said Bakkerud who is the second to youngest driver on the team. “Now I really have the opportunity for a lot of seat time so I can develop my performance and become a better driver.
“I expect this year's WRX season to be the toughest and most challenging for me yet. There is only a small margin that separates the top performers in the sport from the bottom but as a true Bergen, I want nothing more than a world champion title and I will work hard to use this great opportunity to become a top driver.
“Last season, I overcame significant pressure in Sweden and France and won both races. The pressure to perform this year is no less, so I will go for victory,” added Bakkerud.
The FIA World Rallycross Championship season begins May 3-4, 2014 in Portugal, Montalegre