May 2016

Maloigne Wins For Albatec In French RX Thriller

Châteauroux, Indre (France) — Sunday 22 May, 2016; Albatec Racing with Philippe Maloigne overcame treacherous weather conditions to win round two of the French Rallycross Championship at Châteauroux on Sunday (22 May). Heading into the weekend looking for a podium finish, a solid start saw the pairing take the lead in the intermediate classification on Saturday and never look back, despite torrential rain at the French track on Sunday.

The event began with free practice on Saturday morning and saw the Frenchman take the wheel of his SamShield-backed Peugeot 208 RX Supercar for his first competitive laps around the 981m rallycross track. From the start he demonstrated his intentions, with a strong opening pace that ultimately netted the fourth fastest time.

Heading into the first of four qualifying heats, Philippe was immediately quick, second in his race and ending the overall standings in second place, and with it the fourth fastest race lap. The day’s second heat saw Philippe take a race win, and his first overall heat victory, setting the fastest lap along the way, and elevating him to the top of the intermediate classification.

Sunday saw torrential rain throughout, making driving conditions difficult for the Frenchman in only his third season in racing. In heat three, a fantastic race win in ever worsening weather conditions earnt Philippe the fourth overall fastest time. With the track now awash, heat four also proved challenging, and resulted in the fifth fastest time, but still enough to keep him at the top of the points standings.

For the semi-finals the series organiser took the decision to remove the joker lap, due to the incessant weather, where Philippe took third to guarantee a place in the Final. A superb drive by the former motocross racer, determined to achieve a first Supercar podium this weekend, saw him take the race victory in only his second race with the Dumfries team.

Andy Scott, Team Principal Albatec Racing :

“What can I say, it’s been a great weekend and I’m delighted for Philippe and the entire team who have worked so hard. On Saturday, in the dry, Philippe was consistently fast across practice and both heats to take an early lead which he never lost. Weather conditions today were particularly difficult, but he overcame them well and drove fantastic throughout the day.

“It’s great to see Philippe develop as a driver in such a prestigious championship. He continues to get stronger with every race, and now with that first Supercar win under his belt I’m sure he’ll soon be challenging for more outright wins.”

Philippe Maloigne, driver Albatec Racing :

“What a fantastic feeling. Day one was excellent in terms of results and my feeling with the car, the track, and the conditions. I was very happy to finish second in Q1 and then to win Q2 was a great feeling. The Peugeot 208 was great, we used the Mettet settings the team used so successfully in Euro RX, and it was perfect. There is room for improvement there I know, but I’m happy with my performance in only my third season in racing.

“Conditions were very difficult today, as it rained all day and in the opening heat it worsened dramatically just before my heat, giving me a slower time. Despite that I won my race, so I can’t be too disappointed. Overall there are a lot of positives from the weekend, I led the Intermediate classification from heat two onwards, and collected some good points for the championship.”

Maloigne and Albatec Target Podium In Châteauroux

Dumfries, Scotland (UK) — Friday 20 May, 2016; Just a week after securing a podium finish in Euro RX at Mettet, Albatec Racing returns to French RX action this weekend, in round two of the French Rallycross Championship at Châteauroux. Last time out Philippe Maloigne at the wheel of the #21 Peugeot 208 RX Supercar demonstrated his potential with a determined drive to sixth place in the final and posted the third fastest lap of the weekend.

The Frenchman is relatively inexperienced compared to the rest of the high quality entry, but on his first competitive run in the 600bhp two litre, 16v supercar posted the third fastest time in practice before overcoming difficult weather and track conditions to progress to his first Final.

This weekend the former motocross racer will be determined to continue that form into round two, as he hopes to steer his 600bhp Peugeot to a podium finish. One of the shortest rallycross tracks on the schedule, Châteauroux is just 981 metres long and features a 70%/30% split across gravel and tarmac.

For Albatec the event marks a rapid turnaround and re-preparation of the car following the opening race in Belgium, where a consistent performance netted four qualifying race wins, victory in the semi-final, and second place in the final, to take the joint championship lead.

Free practice in Châteauroux this weekend gets underway at 09.45-12.45 on Saturday, followed by the first and second qualifying races at 13.30 and 18.30. Sunday continues with warm-up at 08.00, with the third and fourth races at 09.00 and 12.00. The semi-finals and finals take place from 13.45. All times CEST.

Andy Scott, Team Principal Albatec Racing :

“We head to Châteauroux full of confidence after a very promising start to our Euro RX campaign, and very optimistic of helping Philippe to achieve his ambition of securing a podium finish this weekend. Last time out he showed great potential and speed, and by his own admission he’s learning all the time.

“I believe he will get stronger and stronger as the season progresses, and if the opening round is anything to go by, I fully expect he’ll be able to deliver the result both the car and Philippe are capable of. It’s been a busy time re-prepping the Peugeot since Belgium, but I have every faith in the team’s ability to produce a race-winning car, and in Philippe to underline his undoubted speed and ability and get a good result.”

Philippe Maloigne, driver Albatec Racing :

“We learned a lot during the first race in Essay, about my driving as well as the car set up so I feel that I will arrive stronger and more prepared for round two at Chateauroux. I will look to get a strong qualifying position, which we didn’t have in Essay, in order to target a podium finish.

“The team had a good result in the opening round of EuroRX, which proved that the car is capable of victory, but I never doubted that. Now the driver of the car in French RX needs to improve so the pairing can win in the future!

“I know the Châteauroux track, it’s quite small, perhaps a little bit too small to take advantage of our engine power, but most importantly it’s a track I like and appreciate.”

Grosset-Janin Nets Almost Perfect Score For Albatec In Euro RX Opener

Circuit Jules Tacheny, Mettet (Belgium) — Sunday 15 May, 2016; Albatec Racing began its bid for FIA European Rallycross Championship honours with a dominant performance this weekend, that netted all-bar the outright Euro RX victory. Reigning vice-champion Jérôme Grosset-Janin comfortably won all four Qualifying races and semi-final aboard his Poujoulat-backed Peugeot 208 RX Supercar, to set up a front row start for the final.

Returning to the scene of his and the team’s first International victory in last year’s Euro RX opener, it looked as though the Frenchman would deliver the Dumfries team a repeat performance. Taking the immediate lead in the six lap Final, Jérôme made his compulsory joker on lap five, and rejoined into the tightly bunched field, where he was just unable to retake the position, crossing the line 1.4 seconds adrift of the winner.

While Jérôme had a relatively trouble-free run to the Final, his new team-mate, reigning Euro RX champion Tommy Rustad had his share of problems on his first competitive outing with the team. Winning his opening Q1 race on Saturday, and with it the second fastest overall time behind Jérôme, set Tommy up well for an anticipated strong result come Sunday’s Final.

However, a slow getaway in Q2 resulted in contact from another car, where he sustained panel damage to his HTB Racing Peugeot 208, and a puncture. He recovered to finish fifth, but crucially his slower race time dropped him down the order, but still comfortably in the vital top 12 qualifying positions.

Heading into day two and the morning warm-up, the team made some set-up changes to Tommy’s car, which proved unsuccessful for the following Q3, causing oversteer for the Norwegian and a spin on the penultimate lap. Contact with another car in the Q4 meant his overall race time was compromised, although he recovered to take the race win, and finish seventh overall in the Intermediate standings.

Joining his team-mate in SF1, Tommy didn’t get the best start, dropping to sixth off the line. However, a sterling recovery by the experienced racer allowed him to gain three places during the joker lap to finish third, and secure a place on the back row of the Final. Another poor start prevented him from challenging for the win, and despite a determined effort to take two places, he brought his car home in fifth.

Albatec returns to Euro RX action for round two which takes place at Hell, Norway over the weekend of 11 & 12 June, where it’s hoped Andy Scott will take the wheel of the team’s third Peugeot 208 RX Supercar.

Andy Scott, Team Principal Albatec Racing :

“It’s certainly been a weekend of mixed emotions here in Belgium. Saturday started very well, P1 and P2 after the opening qualifying race was the best possible result. To follow that up with three further qualifying race wins and victory in the semi was just reward for all our hard work. We had a few issues to overcome over the weekend, which we’ve done, and the team has worked well together.

“Jérôme has driven superbly all weekend, he had great pace across all four qualifying races and the finals, it’s just disappointing for him and for us that we didn’t come away with the result we all deserved, but I think we showed once again that the potential is there.

“Tommy drove exceptionally well and considering his relative inexperience in the car was able to win two races, challenge for overall heat wins, and consistently be in a position to qualify for the final. Learning a new car takes time, but he adapted well, so it all bodes well for the remaining races.”

Jérôme Grosset-Janin, driver Albatec Racing #74 :

“It’s been a good weekend all round and I’m happy to have got some solid points from the opening round. We had good pace all weekend which allowed me to win all my qualifying races and the semi. I’m very happy with all of my race starts, I was matching everyone else, which gave me the confidence to know I had the potential to win. We knew Kevin [Hansen] had good pace and knew it would be tough, he’s a factory driver after all, but we’ve had to do very little to my car this weekend to be as competitive.

“We’ve had great team spirit again all weekend, across the mechanics, the engineers, everybody, and with Tommy everything has worked well together too. As a team that’s important for the championship and the coming races.”

Tommy Rustad, driver Albatec Racing #24 :

“It’s been a difficult weekend with mixed emotions, but overall I’m happy with the points. I won my opening race yesterday and finished second overall to Jérôme, but in the second I didn’t get away well and was hit by another car which caused some damage and a puncture dropping me down the order. The hard kerbs and jumps meant we changed our set-up for warm-up, but that didn’t really work well for today’s Q3 and I spun on the penultimate lap. I pushed hard to finish eighth overall ahead of the final race. I didn’t get a good start in that, and was involved in a start crash, but still managed to win to put me fourth overall and secure a place in the semi-finals.

“In the race again I didn’t get the best start, but managed to pick up three places on the joker lap, which gave me the last position for the Final. I tried a few moves to pass but didn’t succeed. I’m still learning the car; the engineers, the mechanics, the entire team has worked hard, and have done a great job with the car. It’s not been easy for our first event, but I think we have a great future with Albatec, and the opportunity to pick up more points, so I’m looking forward to the next race.”

Albatec Returns To Race-Winning Venue For Euro RX Opener

Dumfries, Scotland (UK) — Tuesday 10 May, 2016; Albatec Racing returns to the scene of its first international victory as it heads to the opening round of the FIA European Rallycross Championship at the Circuit Jules Tacheny, Mettet this weekend. Returning to the seat of the race-winning Poujoulat-backed Peugeot 208 RX Supercar is reigning vice-champion Jérôme Grosset-Janin, who took his and the team’s first international victory in Belgium last year.

The Frenchman will start as one of the favourites on a track he calls ‘a bit special’, but with 30 cars vying for Euro RX honours knows the competition will be fierce. His biggest challenger will arguably be his new team-mate for 2016. Taking up his place in the Dumfries-based squad’s second two-litre, 16v Peugeot 208 is the reigning champion Tommy Rustad, who with the continued support of HTB Racing will also be looking to start his season with a win. A strong contender at last year’s event, the Norwegian was sidelined in the final with broken suspension and will ultimately be the driver everyone wants to beat.

The pairing collectively won four of the five Euro RX rounds last year, making them among the strongest team line-up in Euro RX, which for 2016 features a revised qualifying system. For the first time, Euro RX competitors will race separately in the qualifying stages of the events, adding to the existing split in the semi-finals and finals, meaning that drivers will compete directly against their closest rivals in the same championship.

Amid a record-breaking 49-strong Supercar entry, of which more than half are battling to wrest the Euro RX crown from Tommy, Mettet is renowned as one of the most technical tracks on the five-round European calendar. The 1.149km track throws everything at the drivers, with its unique combination of corners high and low speed, chicanes, hairpins and jumps over crests.

The four timed qualifying rounds, previously known as heats, that determine each driver’s position at the Intermediate Classification of events will now be called Qualifying, to fall in line with other FIA World Championships. The four rounds will be called Q1, Q2, Q3 and Q4, while names for the Intermediate Classification, semi-finals and finals will remain the same.

Plans to field three cars for 2016 for Jérôme, Tommy and Albatec Team Principal Andy Scott have had to be shelved for Mettet, as key suppliers were not able to supply in time for Belgium. However, it is expected that three cars will be ready to tackle round two, at Hell, Norway over the weekend of 11&12 June.

Andy Scott, Team Principal Albatec Racing :

“I’m really looking forward to the opening round of Euro RX at Mettet, and incredibly proud to have both the reigning champion and vice-champion with us for 2016, as well as the well-established Poujoulat and HTB Racing joining us. Both Tommy and Jérôme, and both Peugeot 208s have the potential to win, but we all know in rallycross that isn’t always enough.

“The team has worked hard to prepare two cars capable of delivering the results, and I know both drivers have been working extremely hard too to ensure they are mentally and physically prepared for the opening round. It’s an incredibly strong field this year in Supercars generally, and with 30 drivers in Euro RX I don’t expect an easy time, but with some luck on our side, we can certainly be strong challengers for victory.”

Tommy Rustad, driver Albatec Racing #24 :

“I am very excited and motivated, and looking forward to working with Albatec this year. I really like Mettet, it’s a technical track with a difficult first corner and a blind jump. It has all sorts of corners from a hairpin to a fast chicane. I have mixed emotions from last year’s event, securing pole position in the semi-final but unfortunately had to retire with broken suspension in the final.  My target is certainly to win, but a podium finish would be a great start to the season with a new team. It’s important to get into the final to be in the hunt for the championship.

“I’m not thinking too much about going into the race as reigning champion, it’s a new year and I know I need to deliver, but nobody puts more pressure on me than myself; I love to win. Having Jérôme as team mate is very good, he’s professional, and experienced with the car and the team.  If we can work together and push each other, then we will be very strong against our competitors. That make it easier for one of us to win the championship at end of the season.

“Unfortunately, the test we conducted recently in Faleyras was very wet, but it was still a good experience. I liked the Peugeot 208 straight away and through the day we made some set-up changes which gave me the answers for future working with both the car and the engineers.”

Jérôme Grosset-Janin, driver Albatec Racing #74 :

“I am feeling good ahead of the first round of 2016. I have prepared for this all winter, and I am in good shape. Mettet is a bit special for me as I won my first international race there last year and I will have the same plan this year to drive fast, and work to be among the top drivers. There are 30 drivers competing for Euro RX, and it will be a very tight competition.

‘It’s a very technical track, with rhythm changes, high speed and low speed corners, hard brakes, jumps, and corners over crests. We tested recently with the new Exe-tc dampers and with an engine upgrade from Oreca, collectively gives the car a bit more efficiency, and makes it easier to drive.

“When Andy asked me what I thought about Tommy joining us in the team, I answered immediately that it would be the best thing for Albatec. Competing in Euro RX will be very hard this year, but we will have more chance of winning the championship as we are two very ambitious drivers. Tommy has a lot of experience in motorsport, he is very smart, and we have shared our thoughts of the cars after our first test.

“I started my story with Albatec in early 2015, and I have to say that I am proud that what we have shown to the world of rallycross makes a European Champion look forward to driving for the team! On the sport side, it doesn’t change anything for me. To win the championship, I have to beat drivers like him.”

Albatec Takes Sixth And Third Fastest Lap In French RX Opener

Essay, Normandy (France) — Sunday 1 May 2016; Albatec Racing overcame changeable track conditions on the opening day of round one of the French Rallycross Championship at Essay this weekend, to take sixth place and the third fastest lap in Sunday’s Final. Former motocross racer Philippe Maloigne, starting only his third Supercar race and tenth event on four wheels, powered the #21 Peugeot 208 RX Supercar to the third fastest time in Saturday’s free practice.

In the opening four lap qualifying race the Frenchman had to contend with his first race in wet weather, and despite suffering a spin on the second lap, recovered to finish 14th. In the second race held in drying conditions, Philippe progressed to finish 11th, and finished the day 13th in the overnight standings.

Sunday morning warm-up offered additional dry track running ahead of the final two qualifying races, which again saw Philippe improve his results to post the ninth fastest overall race time. In the all-important final qualifier, he finished tenth to put him 12th overall in the intermediate standings and guarantee a place in the semi finals.

Lining up on row three, against a strong French RX contingent, Philippe finished fourth, a performance good enough to qualify for the seven lap final. Joining seven of the some of the best rallycross racers in France, Philippe drove a measured race to take sixth place, claim the third fastest lap, and finish as top Peugeot driver.

Round two of the French Rallycross Championship gets underway at Chateauroux over the weekend of 21 & 22 May.

Andy Scott, Team Principal Albatec Racing :

“I’m very satisfied with the results in Essay, the competition again was incredibly strong and Philippe drove very well across the whole event. It was a very impressive performance particularly considering his relative inexperience in rallycross, and against some of the best drivers in French RX.

“To be third fastest in practice in his first competitive run in the car and claim the third fastest lap in the Final,  was a remarkable achievement, throughout the course of the two days he improved with every race. He demonstrated a professional attitude and I’m confident that he will be a very strong driver in the races to come.”

Philippe Maloigne, driver Albatec Racing :

“I’m very happy to have reached the finals on my first event with Albatec and only my tenth car appearance. Free practice went well and I was happy with the third fastest time. In the first race, which was very wet, I had a spin on the second lap, which compromised the rest of the heats. I think if I’d been higher up in the first qualifying race, I could have made more progress through the other races and been in a better position for the semis and final.

“However I’m very pleased with the performance, the team worked well together and the car was faultless. It’s given me a lot of confidence going into the next round, where I’m sure we’ll continue to progress.”

Albatec Forced To Withdraw From Pembrey BRX

Pembrey, Wales (UK) — Sunday 1 May, 2016; Albatec Racing has been forced to withdraw from rounds three and four of the 2016 MSA British Rallycross Championship in association with Odyssey Battery at Pembrey this weekend. After a promising start in this morning’s free practice session, the #27 Peugeot 208 RX Supercar of James Grint sustained an engine problem and will take no further part in the event.

The team will return to British RX race action in round five, which takes place at Maasmechelen, Belgium over the weekend of 16 & 17 July.

Andy Scott, Team Principal Albatec Racing :

“Naturally we’re very disappointed that after all the hard work we’ve put in since our podium finish at Lydden Hill we have to withdraw from Pembrey. We sustained engine troubles after just two laps in practice, which despite our best efforts could not be rectified for the first qualifying race. It’s particularly disappointing after conducting a very successful test with James recently, the results of which I’m sure would have seen a return to the podium.”

James Grint, driver Albatec Racing :

“We had very positive vibes coming into this weekend, so it’s very disappointing to have a technical issue. The team has worked very hard to get the car ready, it’s by no means any fault of the team, the mechanics are fantastic at looking after the car. As a team, and on a positive note, the one solid lap I did with the new dampers, the new engine, everything was just the perfect set-up for the weekend, and had we had got through to the qualifying I think we’d have been very quick. The car felt amazing.

“I’m not the kind to give up though, so we’ll push on in Belgium and make sure we win some races because that’s what the car is capable of. We just need to re-align everything as the team deserves it, and I believe I deserve it too. I know the results are coming, I just wish they’d come sooner. We’ve got a great car, a great team, we’ll be back stronger than before so watch this space.”