Andreas Bakkerud wins silver medal

FIA World Rallycross Championship

Andreas Bakkerud

Bakkerud behind the wheel when he tied for the FIA World Rallycross Championship.

Jo Christian Weldingh

After a dramatic finish, Norwegian rallycross driver Andreas Bakkerud, 28, had to settle for silver in the overall FIA World Rallycross Championship. Both Bakkerud and Timmy Hansen, 27, from Sweden, ended up with 211 points, but Hansen stole the victory because of more individual races won.

The final in Cape Town, South Africa, on Nov. 10 was not without controversy. A mid-race collision between Bakkerud and Hansen delayed Hansen’s victory celebration, while the jury discussed the incident, which took three hours to resolve. In the end, though, to Bakkerud’s dismay, Hansen was deemed the lawful victor and got to keep the championship.

“Suddenly he hits me,” Bakkerud said in his post-race interview. “I lose three places. It feels like I’m pushed away from the World Championship. I would never have ended up in the wall if Timmy didn’t enter the corner as fast as he did.”

Entering the final, Hansen, son of rallycross legend Kenneth Hansen, held a two-point lead over Bakkerud, with his brother Kevin Hansen a further 11 points behind. Timmy Hansen started in pole position and Bakkerud in the second-best position. If the Norwegian had won the final, he would have won the FIA World Rallycross Championship as well.

Bakkerud, driving an Audi S1, got off to a good start and took the lead, with Timmy Hansen, driving a Peugeot 208, in second place. Then, both got in trouble after Bakkerud miscalculated a corner. Hansen tried to take advantage of Bakkerud’s miscalculation, but ended up colliding with the Norwegian, causing both to lose time and position.

The event was called “One of the most dramatic moments in World Championship motorsports history” on FIA World Rallycross Championship’s Twitter account.

Andreas Bakkerud

Bakkerud behind the wheel when he tied for the FIA World Rallycross Championship.

Niclas Grönholm of Finland won the final, Bakkerud came in second, while Timmy Hansen came in fourth. This meant that Bakkerud closed a two-point gap, but with more individual races won, Hansen won the overall FIA World Rallycross Championship.

Hansen was in tears when he was congratulated by his younger brother, Kevin, after the race.

“I’m in shock,” he said in the official post-race interview.

Bakkerud looked disappointed when standing on the podium after the race. Timmy Hansen was cheering wildly, but the Norwegian just stood there, expressionless. He was handed a champagne bottle, then left the podium without a word.

“It feels very bad. So close and yet, so far,” he said to VG after the race.

Petter Solberg is the only Norwegian to ever win a world championship in any motorsport. He won the FIA World Rally Championship in 2003, and then the individual FIA World Rallycross Championship in 2014 and 2015. Bakkerud worked as an apprentice in Solberg’s shop eight years ago. He beat Solberg at the finish line in 2016 to earn World Cup bronze and repeated that in 2018.

This article originally appeared in the November 29, 2019, issue of The Norwegian American.

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The Norwegian American

The Norwegian American is North America's oldest and only Norwegian newspaper, published since May 17, 1889.