Albatec NCME and Mark Higgins Champions of British Rallycross
Silverstone, Northamptonshire (UK) — 4 November 2018:Albatec Racing and Mark Higgins are 2018 Toyo Tires MSA British Rallycross Champions after winning the season finale at Silverstone today (Sunday). Mark, piloting the #34 Eddie Stobart NCME-supported Peugeot 208 RX Supercar, was arguably the man on form, consistently the fastest on track and with excellent car reliability proved the most deserving of champions.
The day started well for the triple British Rally Champion posting the second fastest time in the morning free practice. The draw for the Q1 grid had Mark lining up dead last in sixth, with his two championship rivals Ollie O’Donovan and Julian Godfrey ahead. At the lights he didn’t get the best start and bogged down off the line. However, he quickly deposed of three cars ahead to get into third behind O’Donovan and Godfrey.
The superior power and handling of the Albatec Peugeot, coupled to Higgins’ masterful performance behind the wheel allowed the Manxman to pull a move on O’Donovan on lap two to take second, and he set about chasing down the leader Godfrey. He made his move on the next lap, with a superb pass on the five-time British champion and held on to take the win and the outright fastest lap.
The second qualifying race had Mark on pole and a great start allowed him to hold the lead approaching turn one. However, a rare mistake on the entry to the first corner when his foot slipped off the brake saw him spin off the track and drop to last. An excellent recovery, and another fastest individual lap time put him fourth overall and P4 on the grid for the final qualifying race.
Q3 started well with another good start catapulting him into third into turn one, passing for second place at the second corner which he held to the flag. The result kept him second overall, such was the pace of the race, and earnt him pole for the second semi-final. In that, a superb, dominant performance saw a race six seconds faster than SF1 and earnt Mark the all-important pole for the championship-deciding Final.
Mark didn’t put a wheel wrong in the final race of the year, leading from start to finish with a commanding performance. His third season victory was just reward for the efforts of Higgins and the entire Albatec NCME team putting them two points clear in the tables. The title marks a third decade of success for Mark; winning the BRC in 1997, twice in ‘05 and ‘06 and now in 2018. For Albatec it marks the first outright BRX crown returning to Dumfries; a title that team boss Andy Scott has twice come so close to clinching.
Andy Scott, Team Principal, Albatec Racing:
“It’s obviously great to finish the year off with a third win and the title. It’s been a really tough year with emotions running high throughout the paddock. Mark put together without a shadow of a doubt the drive of the year this weekend, he was totally in a class of his own and barring any disasters was always going to win. But of course, we needed Ollie to finish third or lower and it just wasn’t his day. We won the championship fair and square and ultimately, I believe it went to the most deserving team and driver. From Albatec’s side we’ve had pretty much 100% reliability, the car’s been good all year, and so has the driver. The championship has let us down at times, but I feel we’re worthy title holders, so it’s been worth all the effort.”
Mark Higgins, Driver #34, Albatec Racing:
“It’s been a highly emotional year with big highs, and very big lows but that’s motorsport as we know. We’ve been a strong team all season, and I’ve had great support from Albatec Racing. To have the support too from Eddie Stobart has been really important. Of course, working with the students from the University of Bolton has been a big challenge but they’ve all performed really well. It’s great to come away from a race that was clean and fair and to win that and the title, well, I’m over the moon.”
Dr Mark Busfield, Director, National Centre for Motorsport Engineering at University of Bolton:
“I think it’s fair to say the season has gone better than we ever expected. When we consider we started this whole programme with Andy to do just a few rounds to give the students some experience, it’s grown and grown to the entire season. We’d never have thought we could win the championship, it’s a fantastic reward for Andy’s commitment to help us this far and support us all the way. We’ve had masses of students here today, even those that weren’t working have come to support us at the end, which underlines their support and commitment to motorsport engineering.”