July 2015

Second At Pembrey Keeps Scott In Contention For Title

Pembrey, Wales (UK) — Sunday 19 July 2015; Andy Scott took second place in the British Rallycross Championship round at Pembrey this weekend to keep himself and Albatec Racing in the title hunt. Fastest overall in timed practice, and with it a valuable additional championship point, Andy didn’t have the best of heats but still managed to secure a crucial front row position for the all-important final.

His main championship rival, four-time British champion Julian Godfrey starting from pole, got the perfect line into the first corner, and despite a stirring drive from the Dumfries racer, that included posting the fastest lap of the race, he was unable to capitalise on the Peugeot 208 RX Supercar’s 600bhp and find a way past.

Finishing runner-up for the second time this season, added to two victories earlier in the year, puts the Albatec Racing Team Principal second overall with two rounds remaining.

There was drama aplenty for rapid Finn Kristian Sohlberg on his British RX debut. Quickest overall on his very first competitive run around the 1.46 mile track in untimed practice, the former WRC driver showed all the flair of a seasoned rallycross contender with a stunning display of car control.

Lining up on pole for his first qualifying race, the 37 year-old was quickly challenging for the lead after a poor start, moving ahead on lap two, which he held to the flag. Overnight rain meant the track was still damp in places, and the subsequent faster heat relegated Kristian to fifth overall, amid a small but quality field.

Heat two pitched Kristian against the experienced Godfrey, and a sterling performance allowed the rallycross newcomer to chase down the race leader for the opening two laps, despite smoke from a cracked manifold seeping into his car. On lap three, with smoke now billowing around the interior making visibility impossible, Kristian had no alternative but to stop, where fire marshals attended to the stricken Konttorityö-backed car.

After a precautionary check-up by paramedics at the track for smoke inhalation, Kristian was transferred to the Prince Phillip Hospital, Llanelli, for further assessment but later released. Returning to the track with the intention of taking up his position alongside his team-mate in the final, discussion with his engineer and mechanics led to the decision not to take the start, as it was felt that the issue had not been completely resolved.

Double and reigning British RX150 champion Marc Scott also had an eventful day in Wales, that saw his joint lead at the head of the tables disappear after finishing fourth in the Final. A cracking performance in practice put the Lochmaben racer sixth quickest overall in his 1000cc buggy.

However a series of lowly heat results, by his standard, put him on the outside of the front row for the final. A good start to the race was brought to a finish with a spin that dropped him down the order, recovering to finish fourth.

Andy Scott, Albatec Racing Team Principal and driver :

“The heats didn’t really go particularly well, but nevertheless we managed to get a front row start for the final. I knew Julian being on pole would be difficult to beat, I tried to go round the outside at the first corner but he drove a perfect corner and had that line covered. I lost a bit of time on the first lap because of the dust, it was otherwise a good race, just not good enough.

“It’s really disappointing for Kristian, we had some issues with his car, without that I’m sure he’d have been challenging for the win in the final. The man’s got speed and amazing car control and he demonstrated that today in practice and the other heats. I hope we see him back in the British championship.

“It’s not been Marc’s day today either. He was obviously quick as he always is, made too many mistakes, and just couldn’t string together consistent heats and final. But we’ll all come back fighting for the next round at Lydden Hill.”

Kristian Sohlberg :

“I’ve really enjoyed the day, obviously the championship is full of good drivers, and it’s been a really good learning day, and that’s what I need to do, to drive different tracks. I know the speed was there today, I was fast in all the practices but the mechanical problems we had, including the fire, didn’t help! Just before the final I decided not to start as the car didn’t sound right, so it was my call not to risk any damage to the engine or the car.

“I’m disappointed of course as I wanted to put on a good show for the spectators. I’ve really enjoyed working with Albatec, it feels like home, I have good engineers and mechanics and they’ve been spot on, it’s really important to build a team around you. I’ve been really happy with the car, OK we had some technical issues but that’s motorsport. I’m very happy to be part of the Albatec team and I hope we can build on this for Turkey and have some really good results together.”

Marc Scott :

“From start to finish it’s been a pretty terrible day to be honest. The first heat was a mixture of spins, small mistakes, which cost me valuable time and positions and it was the same throughout the day. The morale of the day is there isn’t any room for error, if you make a mistake you’re going to get penalised and you’re going to lose places.

“I think it’s been a mixture of things, the track conditions, playing catch-up in the heats, and a bit of red mist. I was just trying too hard to get back to the position I want to be in. The speed was there, the lap times have been there all day I just haven’t managed to string them together four in a row to get a good race time. But I feel more determined than ever to turn it all around at Lydden Hill.”

Albatec Heads To Pembrey British RX Intent On Victory

Dumfries, Scotland (UK) — Friday 17 July 2015; Just a week after dominating the French Rallycross Championship round at Pont De Ruan with Julien Fébreau at the wheel, Albatec Racing heads to Wales this weekend for round six of the British Rallycross Championship in association with the Shannon Group, looking to continue its race-winning form.

The leaders of the FIA European Rallycross Championship presented by Monster Energy, will field its pair of Peugeot 208 RX Supercars for Dumfries rallycross racer Andy Scott and Flying Finn Kristian Sohlberg.

For Andy it marks a return to the track on which he finished second earlier in the year, to maintain his series lead over four-time champion Julian Godfrey. A rather disappointing result by Andy’s standards in the following double-header Mondello Park rounds, in which contact in both finals ended his bid for victory, handed the series lead to Godfrey. Now the experienced rallycross racer will be looking for a return to the top step of the podium aboard his MacDuff/Motis/Rock Oil-backed machine to overcome the 10-point deficit and keep his championship title hopes firmly on track.

Joining the Team Principal in the Supercar line-up is rapid ex-WRC rally driver Kristian, who made such an impressive rallycross debut in Pont de Ruan last weekend. Second fastest in practice amid an ultra-competitive French RX field, the 37 year-old quickly got to grips with the 600bhp powerhouse, winning his first heat race, and consistently running in the qualifying positions. A hit in the semi final ended his chances of progressing, however the Konttorityö-backed racer has high expectations for Sunday, ahead of his World RX debut in Rallycross of Turkey in October.

Completing the line-up is double and reigning RX150 British Champion Marc Scott. A triple race winner already this season, Marc is currently tied on points with long-term rival Chrissy Palmer, the only other winner in buggies this year. Heading to Wales on the back of a double podium in Ireland, the Lochmaben racer will be looking to put the disappointment of spinning away a certain victory last time out at the Welsh track firmly behind him, with the intention of leaving Pembrey topping the leaderboard.

Three rounds remain of the resurgent British RX and with plenty of points available the title battle is hotting up for Albatec, which recently confirmed its entry into World Rallycross of Lohéac with four-time World Touring Car Champion and 10-time Andros Trophy winner Yvan Muller. Amongst a busy 2015, the team will resume its bid for Euro RX honours in World Rallycross of Norway at Hell next month, which pitches series leader Jérôme Grosset-Janin and ex-British rally star James Grint against the cream of Europe.

Track action in Pembrey on Sunday July 19 gets underway with practice at 09.00 followed by the first of three heats at 10.15, and the Finals from 14.00. Details of live timing and live streaming are available from the official series website at www.rallycrossbrx.com

Andy Scott, Albatec Racing Team Principal and driver :

“I go into this weekend with nothing short of victory in my mind. We had a disappointing result in Mondello Park, despite proving once again that we have the speed. Now we need to continue to convert that speed into results, starting with Pembrey, to get my championship bid back on track.

“It’s a fast track and I’m looking forward to getting back behind the wheel and also excited to be bringing Kristian into the British championship. He had a good weekend in France and he’s had a week to reflect on it, and I’m confident that he’ll be right up there at the front. I’m certain the fast Pembrey circuit will suit his flamboyant driving style.”

Kristian Sohlberg :

“Pont de Ruan was mostly as I expected, but the track was quite slow and I needed to change totally my driving style. Every lap it felt better and we also managed to improve the car set-up. It was a positive start even if we didn’t get the result I wanted, but the most important thing was to get my first feeling of rallycross and learn, which I certainly did.

“There were many challenges; the track was slow, and racing against other drivers was also totally different, but I had big help from Andy as he was spotting for me, the next race will surely be easier. The power of the car is amazing, in any gear, at nearly any moment and you just have massive power. It takes time to learn to use the power the correct way, and drive the correct way when someone is close behind.

“I’m really looking forward to the weekend, I’ve been watching a lot of in-car footage, trying to learn the track and its key points. It’s going to be interesting to see the level of competition. From what I have seen there are some really good drivers. Also to race against Andy is going to be fun. Hopefully there are no team orders, or I might just switch the radio off! I’m also looking forward to try and further improve the car’s set-up, to find more speed and hopefully help Jérôme and James in their coming events.”

Marc Scott :

“I’m really looking forward to getting back to Pembrey, it’s a fantastic track and after the results at Mondello Park, which see me tying at the top of the leaderboard, I’ve really got the bit between my teeth now and am determined to come away from Wales back on top.

“We made a small error at Pembrey last time out with our decision not to put on new tyres, but we won’t be making that mistake again! I’m really fired up and ready to get back leading the way.”

Albatec Racing’s Julien Fébreau Wins In Style At Pont De Ruan

Pont de Ruan, (France) — Sunday 12 July 2015; Frenchman Julien Fébreau dominated round six of the French Rallycross Championship at Pont de Ruan this weekend, to give Albatec Racing it’s third different championship victory. The Canal+ F1 TV presenter was quickest in practice and won all four heats, semi final and the Final, and secured fastest lap in every race.

The remarkable achievement means that the Dumfries team has now won races in European, British and French rallycross championships this year, with its pair of 600bhp Peugeot 208 RX Supercars.

Making a return to the track on which he secured his first ever Supercar victory, Julien never put a wheel wrong all weekend. Just missing out on a podium at Faleyras last time out, the experienced rallycross racer was determined to redress the balance, and started the event in fine style, topping the time sheets after Saturday practice.

Two heat wins later in the day saw him lead the overnight intermediate standings ahead of Sunday’s final two qualifying heats. Another trouble-free run in both heats today allowed him to further extend his advantage, earning pole for both semi final and Final, from where he took a momentous outright win.

During an incredibly busy season for the Andy Scott-led team, Julien was joined in France by Finnish rally ace Kristian Sohlberg, making his rallycross debut this weekend. A successful first ever test on Thursday saw the 37 year-old quickly up to speed come Saturday’s official practice, with a consistent pace across both days promising great things.

Seventh in the opening two heats put the former WRC driver sixth overall at the overnight stage, but contact and a puncture in heat three caused damage which couldn’t be fixed in time for heat four. His results however were still enough to secure a place in the semi finals and a sterling job by the mechanics resulted in Kristian taking up his place on the back row.

Making a good start to gain places into turn one, contact at turn two saw the Espoo driver live up to the ‘Flying Finn’ tag, with his Konttorityö-backed Peugeot 208 launched up into the air. Despite a spirited drive over the remaining laps, Kristian was unable to take the necessary top four qualifying finish.

Albatec now heads to Wales for round six of the British Rallycross Championship, where Kristian will join Andy at Pembrey on Sunday 19 July.

Andy Scott, Albatec Racing Team Principal :

“Julien delivered an absolutely faultless performance this weekend, fastest in timed practice, winning all four heats, his semi final and the final. We always knew that he had the capability from the very first heat in Faleyras, and he’s a deserved winner today. I think he showed everybody that he’s a first class, top level rallycross driver and proved also that Albatec can deliver winners.”

“Kristian also showed great speed all weekend. It’s a big learning curve for him to come from rally to rallycross especially here in Pont de Ruan where the technique is so different to gravel rallies, but he did a very good job. The rallycross gods didn’t look too favourably on him, he had some bad luck along the way, but I think he showed good potential. The British drivers had better watch out when he comes to Pembrey next weekend!”

Julien Fébreau :

“For sure it’s been a fantastic weekend for me, for all the team, for Albatec, for all the guys who work so hard. It’s crazy because now it’s over I realise that we won everything this weekend, it’s fantastic, it means that we did our homework well. The car was easy to handle, and when you have an easy car to drive you can go fast and I didn’t make too many mistakes, and in the end that paid off.

“It was such a great moment with the team, the spirit was fantastic, as in Faleyras, and although this weekend was a bit different with Kristian joining the team, he’s such a professional driver, he taught me a lot. For his first time in the car, he was very impressive, his driving style is huge! He just needs to adapt to rallycross, but everyone can see how good he is and it was a privilege for me to be with him this weekend.”

Kristian Sohlberg :

“That’s my first ever rallycross weekend done. It was a new experience but I enjoyed every minute. It’s obvious I need to learn a lot but after this weekend I know what I need to do for this kind of track. In general I’m happy but of course I’m disappointed not to make the final.

“We had some issues today with the car and I made a small mistake in heat three so I lost important positions. In the semi final we started sixth, and had quite a good start but it all nearly went badly wrong in the second corner. There were cars fighting for position, and I saw a window to push but a car hit me on the side and I got airborne. I went to the joker lap but lost a lot of time. After that it was all about pushing to the max. I tried really hard but I just went over the limit and could not get to fourth. Finally on the penultimate corner I got a puncture and dropped to sixth.

“All in all, it was a really positive weekend. I’m more than happy to work with Albatec, it’s a super professional team and we found good things to do to the car for the future and managed to do some development. I’m really pleased for Julien, who had a great weekend, with no mistakes and incredible speed. I’m really looking forward to next weekend in Pembrey!”

Racing Legend Yvan Muller Confirmed To Join Albatec At World RX Of France

Dumfries, Scotland (UK) — Saturday 11 July 2015; Legendary race ace Yvan Muller will contest World Rallycross of France at Lohéac with Albatec Racing in September. The four-time FIA World Touring Car Champion (WTCC), former British Touring Car Champion, and ten-time Andros Trophy winner will make his rallycross debut aboard one of the team’s 600bhp Peugeot 208 RX Supercars alongside current Euro RX championship leader, and fellow Frenchman Jérôme Grosset-Janin.

Team-mate to Sébastien Loeb in WTCC, who also contested the French classic two years ago, Muller has been released by Citroën to join the Dumfries–based team during a break in his schedule, and has already undergone a test with Albatec at Faleyras in France where he was immediately setting competitive times.

Yvan has also raced successfully in single-seaters and rallying, but Rallycross de Lohéac marks his first competitive outing in rallycross. His record-holding status in Andros Trophy looks likely to be a bonus for the 45 year-old, which similarly features a series of short, sharp, all-action heats and finals.

One of the most successful drivers in touring car history, Yvan will join Albatec at a second test at Lohéac in August, in preparation for round nine of the FIA World Rallycross Championship presented by Monster Energy, when he will join a world-class field of rallycross drivers including reigning World RX champion and 2013 World Rally Champion Petter Solberg, winner of last year’s event.

Arguably the best-attended event on the World RX schedule, Rallycross de Lohéac broke all records in 2013 when Loeb competed, and last year more than 70,000 fans witnessed the non-stop action at the track in Brittany. Yvan’s participation this year looks likely to add further buzz to the frantic atmosphere the event attracts, with tickets already on sale from https://www.weezevent.com/fia-world-rallycross-of-france-round-9-loheac-rx-2015

For Albatec Racing, which this season is contesting the full British and European series, as well as several French RX rounds, the event marks a welcome return to World RX action, following its Lydden Hill appearance in May, with numerous other events on its programme for 2015.

Andy Scott, Albatec Racing Team Principal :

“I’m very excited about Yvan joining us at arguably the biggest rallycross event on the 2015 schedule. We had a great result there last year, reaching the semi finals, while in 2013 Kris Meeke showed everybody the potential of our Peugeot 208 RX Supercar.

“We head to the event on the back of a very strong start to our season, leading Euro RX with Jérôme and having success in Britain, and although rallycross is very competitive across all the championships we’re contesting, I’m confident that Yvan will be right up there from the start on his home track.

“We had a very successful test with Yvan, he’s totally committed, and obviously an incredibly fast and professional driver, who will I’m certain fit in very well with the team and indeed rallycross. Having an all-French line-up, aboard French cars, at the biggest event on the French rallycross calendar will I’m sure contribute to the amazing atmosphere the event always attracts.”

Yvan Muller :

“I’ve wanted to do rallycross for a long time, it’s been on my mind for four or five years, but I didn’t have the opportunity, the good opportunity, or the time to do it. I’m really looking forward to doing Lohéac, firstly it’s very well known in France, and rallycross now is at a high level, so I think it’s just the right time to do it. So yes I’m very pleased and looking forward to it.

“I don’t think we can compare ice racing to rallycross too much, yes ice racing is four wheel drive, but also four wheel steer, and on ice the grip levels are naturally much lighter. Of course, the comparison is closer from ice racing to rallycross, than from say circuit racing like WTCC, but it’s still quite different, so there are things to learn.

“The test with Albatec in Faleyras was good, very nice. It was my first experience, so I learnt and saw much more how rallycross is, what it’s all about. The track was quite greasy, quite slippery when we started, because we had a spot of rain but it was great.

To see Yvan’s first experience of Albatec’s Peugeot 208 RX Supercar, click the link here https://youtu.be/w1v_FBhWXT0

Albatec Heads To France For Maiden Pont De Ruan Outing

Dumfries, Scotland (UK) — Monday 6 July 2015; Albatec Racing continues its busy schedule as it travels to France this week to contest round six of the French Rallycross Championship at Pont de Ruan (11&12 July). The Dumfries team’s pair of 600bhp Peugeot 208 RX Supercars have been re-prepped following their respective Mondello Park British RX and Goodwood Festival of Speed outings, ready for Julien Fébreau and Kristian Sohlberg to go up against the cream of French rallycrossers.

For Canal+ F1 TV presenter Julien, the event marks a return to the car in which he starred in Faleyras recently, with rapid lap times in the final, and narrowly missing a podium finish on his first competitive outing with Andy Scott’s team. With an already impressive record in rallycross, including a podium in RX Lites in Canada and victory in Pont de Ruan last season, the Frenchman recently returned from Silverstone’s British Grand Prix, will be keen to put his F1 test experience to good use, and reach the top spot once again.

The race marks the long-awaited rallycross debut of rally driver Kristian, the former Mitsubishi works driver returning to a race track for the first time in ten years. More used to the rally stages than the rallycross tracks, the Flying Finn enters his first ever RX event, and without the benefit of track knowledge. However a pre-race test should ease the 37 year–old into the two-litre 16v, four-wheel-drive Supercar, which accelerates faster than Lewis Hamilton’s race-winning Mercedes F1, as he looks to impress in his bid for a full-time seat in 2016.

For Albatec Racing, the race marks only its second outing in the French RX series. The current leaders of Euro RX, following Jerome Grosset-Janin’s first and second places in the opening two rounds, is dovetailing a campaign in British RX, together with select outings in the French and World RX series. Early leaders of the British series thanks to back-to-back wins and second place from Team Principal Andy, hopes are high of a return to the top step of the podium on Sunday.

Kristian Sohlberg :

“I’m very excited about this new challenge. I have no previous experience of a rallycross car, but I’m very quick to adapt and learn new things so I’m confident I’ll learn to handle the phenomenal acceleration of a Supercar. One of the biggest challenges will be to race with other cars on the track on the same time. I have done some circuit racing with endurance cars 10 years ago, but it’s still something very new to me.

“I’m looking forward to getting in the car in testing and start to learn and work with the team, and I’ll try to maximise my time in the car. I hope that my experience in rally development work will also benefit the team and allow me to give good feedback to the engineers, so that we can further improve the car.

“I don’t know the circuit at all, but I have watched some in-car videos, it looks good with some challenging places and I will try to prepare as best I can. My personal goal is to show my speed and skills in these few races with Albatec and earn a seat for 2016. There is a lot to learn but I have full confidence that with the team’s help and support it will be great.”

Julien Fébreau :

“I’m really looking forward to getting back on track at Pont de Ruan! I had a fantastic weekend in Faleyras with all the Albatec Racing team and I really want to live those emotions again. Now I know more about the team and the Peugeot 208 RX, I should have even more pleasure and fun!

“I will approach this weekend in the same manner as Faleyras, with the desire to do things well; quietly and cleanly. It will be only my third race driving a Supercar so I have still many steps to climb, but our performance in Faleyras, including my lap times in the final, make me think I’m going in the right direction. I found myself close to the podium there, a month ago, so you can imagine what my goal will be this weekend!

“I am very happy to drive alongside Kristian, he is a top racing driver who has a lot of experience of rallying and Supercars. It is a chance for me because I’ll try to learn as much as I can, by watching him and listening to his comments. As I said Faleyras was a great opportunity for me to work with a great team like Albatec Racing, because it is with professional people such as Andy and all the members of the team that I can improve myself as a racing driver.

“Pont de Ruan is very different to Faleyras. It is a track with low/medium speed corners that require you to keep a constant pace from the beginning to the end of the lap. You have to be very quiet on board the car and not over drive. Obviously I have a great memory of this circuit, since I won my first race in Supercar here last year. It is an extraordinary memory and it is to live great moments such as these, that I race in Rallycross!”