Hoonigan Racing Division’s Andreas Bakkerud was honored last weekend in Vienna, Switzerland, during the 2016 FIA Awards Ceremony dinner. Bakkerud finished third overall in the 2016 World Rallycross Championship, securing the placement by winning the final round of the race calendar only a weekend earlier in Rosario, Argentina.

The win in Argentina was crucial in Bakkerud’s fight to finish the season third overall. A continuous battle the entire season, he fought hard and drove well all season to enable himself to be in a position to finish the year strong.

Going into the race weekend, only 11 championship points were separating three different drivers fighting for 2nd and 3rd overall. The fight between Bakkerud, last year’s Champion Petter Solberg and Johan Kristoffersson was decided first in the Semi-Finals of Argentina when some bad luck ended Solberg’s chances of advancing to the Final, and then in the Final with Bakkerud finishing the race 1st and Kristofferson 2nd. This put Kristoffersson in 2nd overall for the Championship and Bakkerud tied in points for 3rd with Solberg. But, because Bakkerud won more races than Solberg (3 wins to 2) the tie went to Andreas and thus he took 3rd overall in the Championship.

The placement is impressive on its own, but more so when one considers that 2016 was just the debut season for the racecar that Bakkerud piloted to the podium of the championship: the Ford Focus RS RX—a vehicle that had only had one proper race track test prior to entering Round 1 this year. With three race wins and four other podiums, Bakkerud and his teammate/team boss, Ken Block, proved that the car was competitive right away.

“As his teammate and team boss, I couldn’t be happier for Andreas,” said Block. “What he was able to do with our brand new, barely tested racecar is unbelievably impressive. It’s a testament not only to his driving ability, but also to the engineering prowess that Ford Performance had when designing the Focus RS RX for us to go racing in this season. We were starting from a very challenging place this year, going against competition that had established programs, vehicles and track knowledge in this series. With the help of Ford Performance, M-Sport, my team and of course, Andreas, we were able to prove that we’re serious contenders in this Championship already and we’re only going to improve and get better as we continue. Andreas has made all of us at Hoonigan Racing Division extremely proud this season and I speak for all of us when I say we’re stoked that he was able to represent us so well in Switzerland when gathering his award. With a bit of luck, I’m hopeful that both of us will be there next December!”