Extreme E announces Andreas Bakkerud and Tamara Molinaro as 2023 Championship Drivers

Extreme E announces Andreas Bakkerud and Tamara Molinaro as 2023 Championship Drivers

06.03.2023: Extreme E, the innovative electric off-road racing series, has announced rallycross ace Andreas Bakkerud and previous Extreme E podium finisher Tamara Molinaro, as its Championship Drivers for the 2023 season, which kicks off this weekend (11-12 March) at


Extreme E, the innovative electric off-road racing series, has announced rallycross ace Andreas Bakkerud and previous Extreme E podium finisher Tamara Molinaro, as its Championship Drivers for the 2023 season, which kicks off this weekend (11-12 March) at the Desert X Prix in NEOM, Saudi Arabia.



In their role of Championship Drivers, Bakkerud and Molinaro will perform both an advisory role, testing and helping finalise the race courses, and also being on hand as an all-important back-up driver should any of the teams require a replacement during any of the five X Prix weekends.



Bakkerud has a long and successful career as a rallycross driver, with his first titles coming in 2011 and 2012 when he clinched back-to-back Super1600 (now Euro RX3) crowns. The Norwegian went on to win seven times along the way. In 2014, Bakkerud stepped up to the World Championship stage, and two years later, following a switch to Hoonigan Racing Division, he achieved three wins resulting in third place in the overall standings.
 



Bakkerud returned to Euro RX in 2021 and lifted his third European Championship trophy. He also took on Nitro Rallycross in 2021, securing a podium in his inaugural campaign with third place. Building on this performance in 2022, he achieved three podiums and a maiden victory within the first five races for Group E in the Nitro Rallycross calendar. He also experienced the ODYSSEY 21 back during pre-season testing at Chateau de Lastours, France, in 2020.



“I was pumped to get the call to be Championship Driver”, says Andreas Bakkerud. “I’ve tested the car before but coming to a race and seeing the craziness of it all blew my mind. It’s absolutely like nothing else I’ve experienced in motorsport before. I think it’s going to be awesome.



“The course is very different for me as I have never raced on sand before. To race on the beach, next to the ocean, is very different. The course here has some complex features and the drivers are going to have to be smart and manage their desire to go flat out, with some tight turns and gates, as the soft sand can rutt up quite a lot. The new Continental tyres have very good side support but if drivers risk too much, we could end up seeing some rolls.



“It’s also great to be working with Tamara, who has extensive experience in Extreme E. I’ve been learning a lot from her and everyone has made me feel very welcome in the paddock. I can’t wait to see it all unfold.”
 




Italian Molinaro began her racing career at the age of 11. In 2017, she took the Ladies European Rally Champion title, becoming the second-youngest after Andretti ALTAWKILAT Extreme E's Catie Munnings, as she won four of the eight rounds and to top the table.


In 2019, Molinaro dovetailed a second season on the WRC support bill with a Titans RX Rallycross Championship campaign, where she was the only female in the series, winning several qualification races and finishing fifth overall.



Last season, Molinaro raced for XITE ENERGY Racing, achieving the team's best result of second place at the NEOM Island X Prix I alongside Timo Scheider.



“It’s always nice to be back with the Extreme E family, of course I’d like to be competing but being Championship Driver is a great role and I’m looking forward to an action packed season”, says Tamara Molinaro. "The course here in NEOM is completely different from last season but I think its super fun and I’ve really enjoyed driving it during the testing. I think it will be very interesting for the drivers.”
 





James Taylor, Chief Championship Officer Extreme E, said: “
We are delighted to welcome Andreas and Tamara as Extreme E’s Championship Drivers for Season 3.  Both of them are seasoned off-road professionals with invaluable experience and, not only that, but Tamara has been a podium finisher in our series when she made her incredible race debut last year in NEOM.



“The role of Championship Drivers in our series are vital ones. Not only do we rely on their vast racing expertise when we are designing our challenging off-road corses, they are invalualbe to the teams when they may need a replacement driver.”



Building on the success of its first two seasons, Extreme E’s Season 3 promises to be the best yet. With a new championship format including double-headers at each of the five rounds, the pioneering off-road series promises to captivate on and off track on a whole new level, whilst delivering on its overall purpose to tackle climate change through sport, starting with the Desert X Prix in NEOM, Saudi Arabia, 11-12 March.





Josh Bell- photos Extreme E

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06.03.2023 / MaP

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