Albatec and François Duval do battle with the big teams in Mettet World RX
Circuit Jules Tacheny, Mettet (Belgium) — Sunday 14 May: Albatec headed to Belgium for a rare outing in the FIA World Rallycross Championship presented by Monster Energy this weekend, with former WRC driver François Duval at the wheel of one of the team’s Peugeot 208 RX Supercars. Coyote World RX of Belgium, round four of World RX at Mettet, provided François with the opportunity to race in front of an enthusiastic home crowd, and left the Belgian happy with the pace of the 600bhp Supercar, but disappointed not to reach the semi-finals.
A short test at Chateauroux just before the weekend was François’s first opportunity to drive a Peugeot, but left him confident ahead of the first practice on Friday. Across practice and the four qualifying races, François demonstrated the pace and potential of the two-litre 16v Peugeot 208 RX Supercar, and the team leave Belgium as the highest placed privateer entry.
In the opening two qualifying races François steered the #67 Peugeot to second place in both races, and the 15th fastest overall time. Q3 on Sunday morning pitched him against an incredibly strong line-up, and he ended the session P12 to keep his chances of progressing very much alive. The day’s final race put him P15 overall after a slight stall at the start, and he ended the day just 12 points and three places off a qualifying position.
Andy Scott, Team Principal Albatec Racing:
“It’s been a real pleasure to work with François at his home event. He’s a very professional and fast driver, is very understanding about the Peugeot 208, and drove the car to its maximum potential. We were a little bit unlucky all weekend with our grid positions. Apart for the last heat, where we made a bad start, in the previous three heats we made a good start, but at Mettet it’s always difficult unless you’re on the inside and once you’re round the first corner it’s a very difficult track to come back from.
“The weekend has demonstrated to us that the level in the World Championship is very competitive and across a quality field we posted some really competitive lap times. Unfortunately, we just didn’t get the result to back up the speed and potential of the car and driver. We’re the top privateer European team and only a few seconds and points away from being in the semi-final, so we leave Belgium overall happy with our performance.”
François Duval, Driver Albatec Racing #67:
“The weekend has been pretty good. We tested car the for the very first time just before the weekend in Chateauroux for a few laps and that was quite good. The problem here is that the level of the big, permanent teams is now very, very high but I’m happy. It’s difficult for sure to not reach the semi-finals of course, but the car is quite good, the team is very good, the mechanics, everything, the team is perfect. I’m very happy to have driven with Albatec for the first time this weekend and I hope to drive with them again and try to reach the semi-finals.”
Albatec boss set for Sol Rally Barbados debut
Dumfries, Scotland (UK) — 6 May 2017: Albatec Racing Team Principal Andy Scott is set to make his Sol Rally Barbados (Sol RB17) debut at the wheel of a MkI Ford Escort later this month. The Dumfries team boss will pilot the car of Paul Horton, with experienced co-driver Rashid Philipps alongside him, in both the Flow King of the Hill on Sunday May 28, the seeding event, and Sol RB17 itself to be held on June 2-4.
With both the organising Barbados Rally Club (BRC) and Andy celebrating their 60th year this year, the opportunity to contest the event amid a 41-strong overseas entry, and get his 2017 competition season underway couldn’t have been timed better. For Andy, Sol RB17 marks a return to the driving seat of a rally car, having contested the Galloway Hills Rally in 2000 at the wheel of a Honda Civic where he finished 1st in class.
His outing in Barbados, in the Rock Oil and Motis supported car will be his first competitive appearance of the season as he juggles his role as Team Principal of FIA European Rallycross Championship pair Tommy Rustad and Jere Kalliokoski, and Rallycross France driver Philippe Maloigne.
The striking MkI Escort of Horton has been in Barbados since 2012, but prior to that was a class winner in the 2009 Targa Newfoundland Rally in North America. With Horton at the wheel it has three times claimed an overall finish in Rally Barbados, with its best overall finish, 14th in 2014.
Barbadian Philipps has also claimed an overall finish three times, with three different drivers, David Brewster, Paul Inniss and Rommel Martin. His best overall finish came in 2009 sitting alongside Brewster in his Peugeot 205GTi when he finished 38th.
Andy Scott, Team Principal Albatec Racing:
“I’m very excited about returning to the driving seat to compete on Rally Barbados. It’s been on my bucket list for a few years. Having listened to the stories from Kevin Procter for many years and during a holiday in Barbados in February I got chatting to Mark Hamilton and decided that as this year I celebrated my 60th birthday, now was a good time to do it.
“Previously it’s clashed with a rallycross event, but as Albatec is not competing at Lydden this year, I thought it was an ideal opportunity to return to competition in a country I really like and where I very much like the culture. I’ve done a couple of rallies before, but I’ll be relying heavily on my co-driver Rashid Philipps He has a tough job ahead of him!
“The biggest challenge is likely to be getting to grips with rear wheel drive (again). While I want to be competitive, this first time in the event is very much a learning exercise, a chance to have some fun, and to share it with some friends and family. My aim is to enjoy it, get to the finish and bring the car home in one piece.”
Albatec and Maloigne ruled out in Rallycross France Final in Essay
Circuit Des Ducs, Essay (France) — 3 May 2017: The opening round of Rallycross France didn’t go as planned for Albatec Racing and Philippe Maloigne, with a crash in the Final bringing the weekend to a dramatic close. The Circuit Des Ducs in Essay played host to round one and started well for the Dumfries team and French ace, but ended with substantial damage sustained to the SamShield-backed Peugeot 208 RX Supercar.
The weekend got off to a great start with a competitive pace across the morning practice putting the former motocross racer consistently at the top of the times. Electing to miss the last run, he consequently dropped to sixth quickest, but headed into the first qualifying race in confident mood. A strong performance netted a race win, the fifth fastest overall time and a best lap just six tenths off the fastest lap.
Starting Q2 from the outside position, Philippe took second, with the fourth fastest overall time and the second fastest race lap. Sunday got underway with morning warm-up where his strong performance continued with the second fastest time. After a great start in Q3 he was third going into turn three when he bumped into the car in front, and inadvertently passed him. Although he crossed the line second, after the race he was subsequently disqualified, dropping him down the order.
The final race was equally challenging, after rain interrupted proceedings just before the start. From the back row he missed the start, the rare error dropping him to ninth overall at the finish, but still good enough for a place in the semi-finals. Fourth in his semi allowed him to progress to the all-important Final, where he lined up on the back row.
Heading into turn three, an unsighted heavy crash in front left Philippe nowhere to go and he hit the damaged car of Christophe Jouet. Moments later Philippe’s 208 itself took a substantial hit from a following car. The race was red flagged to allow Jouet to be recovered from his stricken motor, but at the restart Philippe’s car was too badly damaged to continue.
Philippe and Albatec will return to race action in round two of Rallycross France at Faleyras on June 3-4.
Andy Scott, Team Principal Albatec Racing:
“It was a challenging event, but taking the positives Philippe once again showed incredible speed across the entire weekend. He was consistently fast in practice and the opening two races, but circumstances across the second two put him on the back foot. Despite those issues, he recovered well to qualify for the semis and could certainly have been on the podium in the Final. We join the Rallycross France community in wishing Christophe all the best for a good, fast recovery.”
Philippe Maloigne, Driver Albatec Racing:
“The weekend was a combination of good and bad. We had strong pace in practice and the first two races, and on Saturday night we were all in a very positive mood. The speed was there all weekend but the disqualification from Q3 compromised the rest of the day. In terms of results it wasn’t a good way to start the season as I was feeling very confident going into the weekend. But on a positive note we were on the pace right from the start, so I will put the weekend behind me, focus on the next test, and mentally prepare myself for the next race in Faleyras when I will fight again for the win. Before that, I wish Christophe a speedy recovery, it was a big crash and I hope to see him back racing with us soon.”