September 2016

Albatec Racing trio heads to Baltic region for Euro RX finale

Dumfries, Scotland (UK) — Wednesday 28 September, 2016; Albatec Racing heads to a brand new track for the final round of the FIA European Rallycross Championship presented by Monster Energy this weekend (1&2 October). Once again fielding a trio of Peugeot 208 RX Supercars for Tommy Rustad, Jérôme Grosset-Janin and Andy Scott, they join a quality 25-strong Euro RX field at Neste World RX of Latvia at the Bikernieki National Sports Base close to the capital city of Riga.

Initially constructed in 1966, Bikernieki has held various motorsport events but in preparation for the Latvian RX round, a new state-of-the-art rallycross track has been built. Home to one third of Latvia’s population, Riga hosts the 1.295km track which features a variety of turns, three jumps within the gravel section and the joker at the end of the lap.

Last time out in Barcelona 2015 Euro RX Champion Tommy steered his HTB Racing Peugeot 208 to second place, while vice-champion Jérôme finished fourth in his similar Poujoulat-backed car. Although the Euro RX title has already been decided, the battle for the other places remains wide open. Both Tommy and Poujoulat-backed Jérôme are still in contention for third and fourth places, with Team Principal Andy, aboard the Motis/Rock Oil-backed motor, also a serious contender for honours.

The draw for the grid for Q1 gets underway at 16.00 on Friday. Track action begins on Saturday with open practice at 09:00-11.00 with the first of four qualifying races from 12:00 and the second from 14:30. Sunday starts with warm-up at 08:30, immediately followed by qualifying three and four at 09:30 and 11:45 before the semi-finals at 14:00 and Final at 15:00. All times CEST. Live timing will be available across the weekend from while live television coverage will once again be aired on Quest TV on Sunday 2 October. 

Andy Scott, Team Principal and driver Albatec Racing #26 :

“We head to a brand new track in Riga and I’m very much looking forward to the challenge of a new destination on the calendar. From what we’ve seen the race organisers have done a first class job in producing what looks like being a first class rallycross facility. On the back of a strong result in Barcelona I’m hoping for a good result, with the semi-finals the most obvious target to start with, but in rallycross anything can happen as long as I can find a good rhythm.

“I think we’ve proven the Peugeot’s reliability and going into the final round of Euro RX after winning last weekend in France with Philippe [Maloigne] underlines the competitiveness of our cars, so from a team perspective we’ll be looking for a strong result across the board.”

Tommy Rustad, driver Albatec Racing #24 :

“I’m very excited about racing at Riga, from what I’ve seen the organisers have done a great job. I learn new circuits very quickly so I’m looking forward to the challenge of racing on a brand new purpose-built track. In Barcelona we had the pace all weekend so there’s no reason why we shouldn’t be able to repeat that performance this weekend and be challenging for race victory.”

Jérôme Grosset-Janin, driver Albatec Racing #74 :

“We didn’t have the best outcome in Barcelona, certainly not the result we were capable of us but the last few races, in Europe and in France, show that the hard work by the team has paid off. Now we have a car that is capable of challenging for race wins so I’m very much looking forward to the weekend and racing on a brand new track.”

Albatec Racing steers Maloigne to race victory in Mayenne

Mayenne, Pays de la Loire (France) — Sunday 25 September 2016; Philippe Maloigne powered his SamShield-backed Albatec Peugeot 208 RX Supercar to his second French RX victory amid a quality entry in Mayenne on Sunday. The result moves Philippe and the Dumfries team closer to the top of the French Rallycross Championship with two rounds remaining.

Following a successful test at Mayenne in August, Philippe headed into the event confident of delivering a strong result aboard the two-litre, 16v motor. The weekend proved the reliability of the car once more, and cemented Philippe’s mounting reputation as a serious title contender following a string of consistent results across qualifying, semi-final and Final.

After open practice on Saturday morning, round seven of French RX kicked off with the first of four qualifying races where a strong performance allowed him to take his first race win of the weekend and set the fourth fastest overall time. Another consistent show by the former motocross racer in Q2 saw him third fastest, to lay fourth in the overnight intermediate standings.

Sunday got underway with warm-up, where Philippe made the best of the Peugeot 208’s powerhouse to take the top spot before heading into the first of the final two qualifying races. Q3 proved a close-fought race, and saw Philippe fifth overall with the third fastest race lap. However, he was later adjudged to have touched another car and had his time disallowed. Undeterred the Frenchman bounced back in the final qualifier, with a strong run into fourth to keep him comfortably in the top six ahead of the semi-finals.

Taking the start for the first of the two races Philippe produced another solid run to take a clear-cut victory. At the conclusion of the two races, he topped the times with the fastest overall race time and fastest race lap, to guarantee a front row start for the seven lap Final.

The eight car race provided the opportunity to demonstrate once again the capability and reliability of the Albatec 208 and the emergence of the Supercar rookie as a future champion. Starting from second, Philippe took the lead at turn two and after a perfectly judged joker lap drove a controlled and spirited race to take victory.

With two rounds remaining in French RX, Albatec Racing and Philippe are now placed fifth in the title standings and return to race action in the penultimate round at Dreux over the weekend of 8&9 October.

Andy Scott, Team Principal and driver Albatec Racing #26 :

“It’s been a great weekend for Albatec Racing and a fantastic result for Philippe; just reward for all his hard work during the season so far. His results this weekend underline his potential going forward and I think he’s proved himself as a real contender for the French RX championship title.

“Across the weekend, we proved once again the reliability of the Albatec Peugeot 208 and against a 21 car field we were consistently among the fastest on track. We now go into the final two rounds confident and more determined than ever.”

Philippe Maloigne, driver Albatec Racing #21 :

“It was a real pleasure to win this race. To have won in Chateauroux in the wet and now to win in the dry is a good confident boost as I know I can be fast regardless of the conditions. We had no problems all weekend. Mayenne is a tricky circuit, very unforgiving in places where the barriers are close to the track so there’s no room for error, but we came away with the car intact.

“Car reliability was fantastic all weekend and we were consistently fast across both days. It’s helped working with the team and Jérôme [Grosset-Janin], together we have worked to improve the set-up and each time we get into the car we can both feel the improvements each other has made, so that makes me proud to be contributing to the cars’ development.”

Albatec Racing claims second and fourth in Barcelona Euro RX

Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya (Spain) — Sunday 18 September, 2016; Albatec Racing finished second and fourth in round four of the FIA European Rallycross Championship presented by Monster Energy at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya this weekend. All three Peugeot 208 RX Supercars were comfortably in the qualifying positions, with reigning Champion Tommy Rustad steering his HTB Racing 208 to a podium position, and vice-champion Jérôme Grosset-Janin finishing fourth in his similar Poujoulat-backed car.

Team Principal Andy Scott, returning to the wheel of his Motis/Rock Oil-backed motor, also qualified for the semi-finals following three strong qualifying heats. He missed out on a place in the Final, his 12th place finish mirroring his result from Lohéac World RX.

From the start the trio underlined their intention with consistent times in practice ahead of the first of four qualifying races. Tommy stormed off the line with a lightening start in his opening race to claim a comfortable win and the third fastest time to kick-start his bid for honours. Jérôme took an equally impressive race win, and the fourth fastest time to secure a place alongside his 2015 rival in race two.

For Andy, the event marked his debut appearance at the Spanish track, but he didn’t take long to get to grips with it. Lining up alongside Jérôme for his first race, the double British vice-champion finished second, and posted the tenth fastest time.

Saturday’s second qualifying race proved a disaster from Tommy; the Norwegian pitched into a roll after hitting a tyre barrier on the opening lap, causing major damage to his car, and ensuring a long night ahead for the Albatec mechanics. A slow getaway for Jérôme in his second race meant he was unable to capitalise on the car’s pace, finishing ninth, while a clean run for Andy saw him finish tenth.

The team worked through the night to repair Tommy’s car, and Sunday warm-up proved fruitful with the fourth fastest time. Starting from the outside row in race one, he was held up initially and ultimately finished second with the fifth fastest overall time. Q3 marked a comfortable win for Jérôme, and the second fastest overall time to put him third overall after three races. Andy made a great start to place second over the opening lap, but he lost second on the exit of his joker lap and finished eighth to put him tenth overall.

Q4 showed more of the form that netted success for the 2015 title challengers; Jérôme finishing second and Tommy third, to seal their places in the 12-car semi-finals. A slower race left Andy in P16, but the strong results from the earlier races guaranteed him a place in the semis for the second successive event.

All three lined up together in the same semi-final which saw Jérôme take a commanding victory, with the fastest race time to secure pole position for the Final. Tommy finished second to give him a row two start, while Andy as a result of bent suspension sustained in contact, finished sixth.

The six lap final saw Jérôme make a great start from pole, but into turn two he suffered contact from another car, which pitched him off into the gravel and dropped him to sixth. That allowed Tommy some clear space to give chase and a carefully timed joker gave him the advantage, re-joining in second which he held to the flag. A great recovery by Jérôme allowed him to claim fourth, and sees him just five points adrift of second in the standings, with Tommy up to fourth.

Andy Scott, Team Principal and driver Albatec Racing #26 :

“What a weekend it’s been. I didn’t really know what to expect, but I was pretty sure a clean and tidy approach was needed and that proved correct. We had a few issues in practice but I was happy with my pace in Q1 and Q2, although starting from the right hand side both times meant they weren’t the easiest races. Q3 and Q4 weren’t so good as I felt I had the pace to be comfortably into the semi-finals rather than scraping through in twelfth. However, it’s great to qualify for the second race in succession. I didn’t get the best start from the back row but managed to get up to third, but then took a hit from another car which bent the suspension and compromised my performance.

“From a team perspective, it’s great to come away with second and fourth, but I’m sure Jérôme will leave Spain feeling disappointed as today, particularly, he showed real race-winning pace. He was very unlucky in the Final as he suffered some pretty harsh treatment from the others. Tommy started the weekend well but his small error in Q2 caused major damage and meant a long night for the boys. They did a great job though, and Tommy did amazingly over the final two qualifying races to progress. He had a slight handbrake problem which slowed his pace, but despite that he came through it to take a well-deserved second.”

Tommy Rustad, driver Albatec Racing #24 :

“It’s not often you can say that second place is as good as a win, but after the crash in Q2 finishing second today is like a victory – it’s certainly my best ever second place. All credit must go to Andy and the entire team who worked so incredibly hard to repair the damage we suffered; I made a small mistake and was very disappointed in myself, I just prayed that the car wasn’t too badly damaged and they did a great job to get us back on track.

“We had the pace pretty much all weekend, and today we were able to improve across the final two races to put us back into a qualifying position. The car was great all weekend, just a few small adjustments but overall I’m happy to be back challenging for race victory.”

Jérôme Grosset-Janin, driver Albatec Racing #74 :

“I’m very happy with the car, the team has worked hard since Sweden and Norway where we struggled a bit to find the pace, now we have a car that can challenge for race wins. The final didn’t go as I’d planned of course, but it was good to see we’ve got the potential so I’m happy about that.

“I’d like to say big congratulations to Tommy. After his roll yesterday the team worked hard overnight to rebuild the car and together they did a great job today to get a podium finish which he and they deserve.”

Barcelona RX next stop for Albatec with Scott joining Rustad and Grosset-Janin

Dumfries, Scotland (UK) — Wednesday 14 September, 2016; Albatec Racing will field three Peugeot 208 RX Supercars in round four of the FIA European Rallycross Championship at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya this weekend (17&18 September). Fresh from his 12th place finish in World RX of France, Andy Scott joins reigning champion, HTB Racing’s Tommy Rustad, and vice-champion Jérôme Grosset-Janin, who returns to his Poujoulat-backed motor for the first time since Sweden in July.

In the last round of Euro RX at Höljes, all three were comfortably in the top 12 throughout the four qualifying races, but a combination of difficult weather conditions and heavy contact meant only Tommy progressed to the Final, where he took a podium finish. Jérôme just missed on the final podium spot in his semi-final, while Andy dramatically rolled out of his following contact with Tommy.

Barcelona RX holds mixed emotions for the 2015 Euro RX protagonists; last year Tommy won the Final after a well-timed joker, but was excluded at post-race scrutineering when his car was deemed to be in breach of the regulations concerning driver aids. Jérôme was consistently fast too, winning two of the four qualifiers, and finishing second in another, but sustained broken rear suspension in the Final which left a massive dent in his championship bid.

This year’s race marks a first for Team Principal Andy, after guiding the team to a promising outing last year, he makes his first race appearance around the 1.133km track. Featuring an uphill start, a jump in the gravel section and grip levels similar to Lohéac, indications are that it will suit the Lochfoot multiple race winner and his Motis/Rock Oil-backed Peugeot 208 RX Supercar.

The draw for the grid for the first qualifying race gets underway at 16.00 on Friday. Track action begins on Saturday with open practice at 09:30-11.30 with the first of four qualifying races from 12:00 and the second from 15:15. Sunday sees warm-up at 09:15, followed by qualifying three and four at 10:00 and 12:25 before the semi-finals and Final from 14:00. All times CEST.

Andy Scott, Team Principal and driver Albatec Racing #26 :

“Barcelona is a new track for me as a driver and I’m looking forward to the challenge of racing there. It’s not a very forgiving circuit; last year a lot of cars suffered damage, including ours, so it will be important to drive clean and tidy to get good, consistent results.

“Jérôme had a very strong pace across the weekend last year, including the third fastest Supercar time in Q3, and Tommy crossed the line first in the Final, so there’s no doubting their potential on the track. That, together with my result in France last weekend means we head to Spain optimistic of coming away with a strong team result.”

Tommy Rustad, driver Albatec Racing #24 :

“I’m really looking forward to returning to Barcelona, it’s a track I like very much and one which suits me very well. I’ve raced in Barcelona many times in different formulae and it’s a special place for me. The first and second corner are fast, and the chicane is tight, and there’s no room for mistakes as the concrete walls are close to the track particularly in the last section.

“Last year wasn’t the best event for me result wise after the exclusion, but I’d say it was probably my best ever race, with good pace throughout the week, and a perfectly timed joker in the final. I think this year’s event will be more challenging as the forecast is for rain, which may make the gravel section more slippery, but I’m looking forward to the event.”

Jérôme Grosset-Janin, driver Albatec Racing #74 :

“I’m looking forward to returning to race in Barcelona, the organisers did a great job last year with a brand new track, which has a good combination of technical elements and very specific areas including fast corners, tight chicanes and the jump.

“Last year didn’t go according to plan, however this is a new year and we’ll approach it like any other weekend, with optimism and confidence. It’s been two months since I last raced, but the team has displayed some fast pace in the French, British and World RX events, so I’m confident that we can be challenging for race victory in Spain.”

Albatec’s Andy Scott takes 12th amid a quality World RX of France entry

Lohéac, Brittany (France) — Sunday 4 September, 2016; Albatec Racing’s Andy Scott led the team’s charge for honours in Bretagne World RX of France this weekend, the Dumfries racer finishing 12th amid a quality field in Lohéac. In arguably one of the biggest, most competitive entries of the season, round eight of the FIA World Rallycross Championship presented by Monster Energy saw the Lochfoot racer post the sixth fastest time in his Peugeot 208 RX Supercar in Q3, to ensure a well-earned place in the semi-finals.

Joining Andy in front of 75,000 excited French fans was reigning European Rallycross Champion Tommy Rustad, making his debut at the track known as the ‘Temple of Rallycross’. The Norwegian HTB Racing ace narrowly missed out on joining Albatec Team Principal Andy in the 12-car semi-final shoot out. Despite winning two races, he finished 13th after four qualifying races.

Completing the Albatec line-up was French Rallycross Championship title contender Philippe Maloigne aboard the SamShield-backed Peugeot 208 who returned to the French track where he secured a Super 1600 podium in 2014. Taking a race win and consistently matching the times of more experience opposition, the former motocross racer ended the weekend in 21st.

Andy Scott, Team Principal and driver Albatec Racing #26 :

“Before we arrived here my target was to reach the semi-finals once again and it was a near perfect weekend for me. The highlight being sixth fastest overall in Q3, and finishing the weekend as 12th fastest in a World RX event is by all accounts a great result.

“In Q1 we had good speed, and consistency throughout Saturday, but I knew we needed to up the game in Sunday’s final two qualifying races. The rain played into my hands a little, as I don’t mind the slippery conditions and we took a bit of a gamble on the strategy which paid off. It was particularly rewarding having such a great battle with Timmy [Hansen] in Q4 but into the semi-final I just didn’t get off the line well enough to capitalise on the pace and performance of our Peugeot 208.”

Tommy Rustad, driver Albatec Racing #24 :

“Of course I’m disappointed not to get into the semis, which was my target this weekend. We had the speed and everything was working well to be there, but it just wasn’t to be. Yesterday I made a good start in both races, but made a small mistake in the first. In the second race I took the lead and pushed hard and felt there was more to come from me, but also from the car to get it to turn in better in the mid corner sections.

“Today the conditions were not so good. I had a bad start from fourth on the grid in Q3, and was not able to find the windscreen washers so I had poor visibility. In Q4 I made an OK start to take the lead and pushed as hard as I could to win my race but the track was drying too quickly and the later races were faster, so I ended up in P11 which unfortunately gave me the position just outside the top 12 qualifiers.“

Philippe Maloigne, driver Albatec Racing #121 :

“I made a few mistakes this weekend but the overall feeling is that it has been a good learning session and I learnt a lot; not just on the track driving the car but also in the briefings and learning the set-up of the car, so I’m really happy despite the result.

“From the first qualifying race I was quite fast; consistently across the four qualifying races, which is very good news going into the final three rounds of French RX. I think this weekend will help me overall with my performance this year, as well as setting me up for next year, so I’m very excited about raising my level.”