Andreas Bakkerud will miss a round of the World Rallycross Championship for the first time after failing to strike a deal to contest the new season.
Ever a popular figure within the World RX community, Bakkerud announced on his YouTube channel on Thursday morning that budget issues as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic meant that he was unable to sign a deal with any team in the championship.
“This is my first year where I haven’t signed any deal, with any team, in any championship,” Bakkerud said.
“For me personally, that’s a big bummer. I would definitely have loved to be entered into a championship, especially the FIA World Rallycross Championship which I’m trying to win desperately every year and I still haven’t achieved it.
“So, it’s a big bummer to sit here and explain to you that I’m missing out on the championship, I’ve been working flat-out to manage to make it happen, but I have finally decided that I will not do it.
“It is due to the economy, due to budget,” he added. “If we had a big budget, we would definitely look into it, but my feeling was that I didn’t want to take a bigger risk than I can.”
Bakkerud is a seven-time World RX event winner and has previously driven for Ken Block’s Hoonigan Racing Team in a Ford Focus RS RX, Mattias Ekström’s EKS Audi squad and latterly with the Guerlain Chicherit-run GCK outfit in a Renault Mégane.
He narrowly missed out on the 2019 title to Timmy Hansen at the final round in South Africa on countback after finishing tied on points.
Despite not contesting a full season for the first time in 11 years, Bakkerud says he hopes to appear in one-off World RX rounds at some point this year, although it is understood that discussions are yet to take place.
“I always have the belief that when one door closes, another one opens, so who knows what will happen next year,” Bakkerud explained.
“Maybe I’m doing Dakar next year, maybe I’m coming back to rallycross.
“I am going to try and do some rallycross this year, hopefully some single-event entries but so far, I haven’t signed anything with any championship so I’m very open.
“If anyone out there has a team, put me in it and I’ll probably come and race.”
Bakkerud’s absence from the grid this year means that Timmy Hansen will be the only driver to have started every World RX round since the inaugural season in 2014. Both Bakkerud and Timur Timerzyanov – who has entered the opening round in Barcelona as a one-off – had been an intrinsic part of the championship’s history but will break that run this season.