At the Stade de France, Trophée Andros welcomed back a great international talent. Norwegian rallycross ace Andreas Bakkerud shared the Motul Exagon EV car with Nico Prost, showing the mainly French drivers roster how a proper Scandinavian flick is done. We sat down with him just before the final race.
Andreas, coming from a rallycross background how does the Trophée Andros differ from Rallycross?
The Trophée Andros is weird (laughs). There’s no time to learn in these races, you just put your foot down. Before I came here, I did fifteen laps in the car at a previous event, and this event is very different to the one I did before. You’re learning all the time and driving flat out using just your instinct and gut feeling. Everything is very different, especially the braking. Last year I drove with Jean Baptiste Dubourg in Andorra and in one lap I used the brake 23 times, because in rallycross you brake hard and late. JB only kissed the brake very gently a total of three times. In most motorsports when you slide the car, you’ll lose time, but here you have to slide to be fast. It’s all about positioning the car. It’s a hilarious sport - just look at the fact that the cars have wipers on the side windows…
Last year you raced a petrol Andros car, now you’re racing an EV. They go just as fast when you look at the timetable, but I guess they are totally different when it comes to driving?
Totally different. When I was driving the “Thermique” Andros car last year, the clutch was my best friend. You push it and it opens up the gears and the differential, so you can rotate the car. But the electric car doesn’t have a clutch, so you have to work the weight and steering a lot more to make it rotate.
What’s your take on this oval track at the Stade de France?
It helps a little bit but in the end all the drivers here are top-level drivers. Look at the top five here. You have Sébastién Loeb, Panis, Nico Prost, JB Dubourg – these guys know what it’s like to race on ice as well.
You have some big audiences in World RX, like in Holjes, but the audience here in Stade de France really something else. What does that mean to you as a driver?
The Trophée Andros is more like a TV show, it’s on a totally different scale. There’s lot of waiting around for commercials and so on but I don’t mind. The audience in the stadium is huge but there’s also an even bigger audience watching on TV. As Colin McRae once told Ken Block, and Ken told me: “At the end of the day we’re all entertainers and without the fans watching we’d be nothing.” And for me that’s the only thing that matters.
Rallycross is looking to make the switch to EV in the future and what you’re driving now is basically an electric rallycross car with studs. What do you think about RX going electric after this experience?
I think it’s a great idea. The cars are perfect for it. I’m also learning a lot from it, which I can take away and bring to the table if I’m offered a seat in an electric RX car in the future. The EV RX cars won’t have a clutch either, so the experience I’m gaining here could be very useful.
A lot of athletes are using social media more and more. You vlog yourself, so what does this media side mean for you?
I like to show motorsport as it really is. It tells a story. I believe that nowadays you can do a lot of your own media and communication and create a fan base much more actively than in the past. And my sponsors like it, so I look forward to taking this to the next level. Who knows what impact it might have on sponsorships and the business model behind motorsport…?
Pictures: © Frederik Herregods