Two podium finishes for Jessica Bäckman at Sachsenring in TCR Germany
Swedish driver Jessica Bäckman battled hard and adapted quickly to the new team and car at the Sachsenring round of ADAC TCR Germany; while she couldn't keep the title chances alive, she still finished twice on the podium, continuing an extremely positive season.
A sunny weekend greeted the drivers of ADAC TCR Germany at the German Sachsenring, as Martin Andersen had his first match ball to win the 2022 championship title. But Swedish touring car star Jessica Bäckman was ready to put on a fight, as she challenged him to keep her title chances alive. With a new team and a new car, though, Bäckman had extra work to do, as she switched from Hyundai to Audi machinery on the eve of the sixth and penultimate round of the championship.
It wasn't an easy start for Jessica Bäckman (Comtoyou Racing) in Race 1; having started from second place, after a small mistake at the start she dropped down to fifth. Meanwhile, Andersen (LIQUI MOLY Team Engstler) converted his pole position into the race lead and pulled away quickly to never look back.
Behind him, Szymon Ladniak (LIQUI MOLY Team Engstler) and René Kircher (ROJA Motorsport by ASL Lichtblau) battled for second place and ultimately made contact which cost them a few positions. Jessica Bäckman had a good pace and could benefit from the incident to recover up to P3. Andersen took the chequered flag with an over 12 second gap, ahead of Niels Langeveld (Maurer Motorsport) and Jessica Bäckman, who was still in the championship fight with a podium finish - albeit chances were small.
“I had a good start, but after that I made a mistake and lost positions" - she said. "Nonetheless, I'm very happy with the podium. But I was also a bit lucky that the drivers in front of me fought so hard."
"The championship isn't really open anymore", she continued. "A lot would have to happen for me to still have a chance.”
It would be Sunday's race to eventually decide the championship battle: Andersen started from pole and kept the lead in front of Jessica Bäckman, who had a great start, jumped from third to second and tried to stay on the tail of her Danish rival.
But Andersen kept his cool and won again at the Sachsenring, preceding a very solid Jessica Bäckmann and Jonas Karklys (NordPass). Andersen was then crowned 2022 champion after he stood on the podium in all 12 races this season so far. At Sachsenring he was fastest in all six weekend sessions.
Jessica Bäckman, who changed to a new car and team this weekend, was the closest challenger to the title; despite a streak of victories in the first half of the year and then consistent podium finishes, a few DNFs and technical issues cost her a shot to the title, but was the protagonist of an outstanding campaign, as she now focuses on the last round of the season at Hockenheimring in three weeks' time.
“I had a much better race than yesterday. I am very happy with my result" - Jessica said. "Martin is having a very consistent season and was a bit better than me in the second half of the season. He really deserves the championship title.”
At Hockenheimring from 21st to 23rd October, it will be all about securing second in the championship for the Swedish National Team driver: mathematically, Ladniak and Karklys can still challenge her for the runner up spot, with 70 points to score each weekend.
But Jessica Bäckman currently holds a 38 point gap over Ladniak and a 66 point advantage over Karklys.
"Big improvements all over the weekend and getting more and more used to my new office." - Bäckman concluded. "Bring on the season finale at Hockenheimring in a few weeks."