LYDDEN HILL, UNITED KINGDOM — A third of the way through the 2016 FIA World Rallycross Championship, the combined efforts of the HRD duo of Ken Block and Andreas Bakkerud have managed to place the all-new Ford Focus RS RX into a final three out of four rounds; an impressive feat for a brand-new racecar that’s still in development.
On Saturday, both Block and Bakkerud were fast in practice, with Block being second fastest in Practice 1, while Bakkerud was fastest overall in Practice for the day. During Qualifying 2 on Saturday, Bakkerud also managed to set the fastest lap of the day. Both drivers had a solid Saturday. Bakkerud finished the day 3rd overall and Block finished 10th overall, heading into Sunday’s racing in position to advance to the Semi Finals if things went well in Q3 and Q4.
Unfortunately things didn't go according to plan for Block. Block was jammed up in traffic during his Q3 race, which ended up hurting his positioning for making it into the Semi Finals. Bakkerud had similar issues in his Q3. However, both drivers had excellent Q4 races with Block taking 2nd in his and Bakkerud taking 1st in his. For Bakkerud it was good enough to advance to the Semi Finals and put him on Pole Position for Semi Final 2, unfortunately for Block, the slower Q3 race ended up contributing to keeping him just out of the Semi Finals.
In Semi Final 2, Bakkerud drove an excellent race, finishing 2nd and barely missing 1st. This set him up with Position 3 on the starting grid for the Final, which would have been an excellent place to be had he not suffered a mechanical issue off of the line, which kept him from being competitive for the remainder of the final.
“Overall I had a very good weekend,” said Bakkerud. “Sure I’m disappointed to have suffered a mechanical in the final, but I had a great weekend up until that point and had been driving well. The car felt great here at Lydden and was extremely competitive versus the rest of the field. I think we had made some very good improvements to the setup and I think the car overall surprised a lot of other teams here! But, I’m happy that I was able to make it to the final. It’s good proof of what this Focus RS RX is capable of and I think we’ll definitely be able to get it back onto the podium at one of the next races.”
Both Block and Bakkerud now have a weekend off before heading to Hell, Norway, for Round 5 of the FIA World Rallycross Championship. Hell is in Bakkerud’s home country of Norway and is the track where Block made his World RX debut back in 2014 (an event where he took 3rd overall). Be sure to tune in and see how the HRD duo performs in Hell.