June 2017

Albatec hoping for ‘Magic Weekend’ in Höljes RX

Dumfries, Scotland (UK) — 30 June 2017: Albatec Racing resumes its bid for FIA European Rallycross Championship honours in Sweden this weekend (1&2 July) on the back of a strong result last time out. In Norway, former Champion Tommy Rustad put on an impressive display to top the intermediate points for much of the weekend only for suspension damage to end his Final. Jere Kalliokoski was equally impressive, not least because it was his first time racing in Hell, and in only his second competitive outing in the Albatec Peugeot 208 RX Supercar secured a place in the semi finals.

Now the action moves to the Holjes Motorstadion for World RX of Sweden, round three of Euro RX and round seven of the FIA World Rallycross Championship. Dubbed the ‘Magic Weekend’, the event is held amid a festival atmosphere with 40,000 spectators attending last year.

Located deep in the forests of Sweden’s Värmland region, Höljes is one of the fastest tracks on the schedule, and is a popular with drivers and fans alike. Tommy finished third for the team last year, overcoming difficult circumstances along the way that included heavy rain making driving condition challenging.

Tommy will pilot the HTB Racing Peugeot 208, which following extensive test and development over the winter months has resulted in a strong pace across the previous two rounds. Kalliokoski will be at the wheel of the similar SMA-backed two-litre, 16v 208, making his debut Supercar appearance following a Lites test in 2014.

Practice on Friday gets underway from 16.50, with the first of two qualifying races from 14.00 on Saturday. Warm-up on Sunday starts at 08.30, followed by Q3 & Q4 from 10.00, the semi finals from 12.00 and all-important Final from 15.00

Andy Scott, Team Principal Albatec Racing:

“Looking ahead to my favourite race, I’m naturally disappointed not to be racing myself, but I’m looking forward to being there, supporting Tommy and Jere. Jere has had a great start to the season. I’m really pleased to see the potential I could see in pre-season testing really come out, particularly in Norway where he had good pace and qualified for the semis. I believe there’s more to come and I’m sure at Höljes he’ll lift his game and come away with even better results.

“In Norway Tommy had a near perfect weekend, but sadly we had the small technical issue which prevented him from getting the result he and the car were capable of. We go to Sweden now very much focused on a win.”

Tommy Rustad, Driver Albatec Racing:

“I’m really looking forward to getting back to Höljes, I really like the track. All the corners are great, plus the jumps, and I’m sure it will suit the 2017-spec Albatec Peugeot. All the corners are challenging, it’s a track where you need to take every corner right as they all flow into the next one.

“The car is very good at the moment. The team has made some changes, the most significant being with the suspension which has made a dramatic difference in the tight corners making it easier to turn, which will be necessary in Sweden.

“Last year we had difficult conditions across the weekend. Several times it rained just before my race, where the possibility of tyre and set-up changes can add to the pressure before the start, but in those situations it’s important not to lose the focus and just concentrate on the driving.”

Jere Kalliokoski, Driver Albatec Racing:

“I’m feeling good about racing in Sweden, there will be a lot of Finnish fans there to support me. I’ve done a test in Höljes with Supercar Lites in 2014, and it’s a very technical and challenging track with ups and downs and camber corners.

“I was happy to reach the semi-final in Norway, from now on the target definitely needs to be first to reach the semis and then make it to the final. It will be very tough in Sweden but in order to progress you need to take each race step by step and not settle for targets you’ve already achieved.

“I feel very good with Albatec and being part of the team. The more mileage I get in the car the more comfortable I feel with it. The Peugeot 208 RX is very different compared to my Skoda so I need time and testing to get the maximum out of it. Euro RX is a very tough series this year, 30+ cars regularly competing makes it a challenge to be in the top 12 in every race. Consistency is the key word.”

Marc Scott bounces back to RX150 action with second at Pembrey BRX

Pembrey, Wales (UK) — 25 June 2017: Double British RX150 Champion Marc Scott bounced back to race action with second place in round three of the Toyo Tires British Rallycross Championship at Pembrey this weekend. The son of Albatec Team Principal Andy Scott, Marc set the early pace in practice aboard his Albatec Racing / Atlas Communications buggy, his first competitive outing in 12 months

The Dumfries racer began his bid for race honours with third place in the day’s opening qualifying race, his first time back at the Welsh track since 2015.  In Q2 a rare error from Marc saw him spin out of second on lap two, and drop back to seventh.

The final qualifying race also saw him start from the back row, and offered up second position for the 2013 and 2014 title winner after another solid run. His results put him fourth on the grid, for the all-important Final, where he lined up on row two.

A great start saw him make a move up the inside into turn one, where he claimed a position putting him into third. Going into Honda curves another cracking pass at the hairpin earnt him second place.

By then racer leader Chrissy Palmer was too far ahead to make any inroads, although Marc posted some competitive laps and maintained position to the flag to take second on his return to competition.

Andy Scott, Albatec Racing Team Principal:

“For Albatec I’m delighted we’ve come away from Pembrey with second place, to go with Philippe’s second in Rallycross France in Chateauroux. Marc put so much effort into the weekend so it’s great to see him back on the podium and rewarded with a strong result.

“He had a good Q1 and Q3, and but for the spin in Q2 he’d have been in a much better position on the grid in the Final to challenge for the win. But that’s rallycross, and you can’t dwell on what might have been. Hopefully we’ll see him back out again very soon.”

Marc Scott, Driver Albatec Racing:

“I’m really happy with the weekend’s results, and the pace we had after a year away. It’s good to be back. There were a lot of new drivers so it was good to race against new opposition while also renewing my rivalry with Chrissy [Palmer].

“I had two good solid races but made a small mistake in Q2 after getting past for second place, which dropped me down to seventh. That definitely affected my position on the grid for the Final; had it not been for that I think I could have challenged for the win.

“Despite starting from the second row in P4, I made a good start and moved into third into turn one, then passed for second at the Honda curves, but I was too far behind to make a move. However, I managed to maintain the gap to Chrissy, and he certainly wasn’t getting away.”

Marc Scott returns to RX150 action with Albatec at Pembrey BRX

Dumfries, Scotland (UK) — 22 June 2017: Double British RX150 Champion Marc Scott will make his long-awaited return to race action at Pembrey, Wales this weekend (25 June). The son of Albatec Team Principal Andy Scott, Marc will drive the Albatec Racing / Atlas Communications buggy in round three of the Toyo Tires British Rallycross Championship.

The Dumfries racer secured back-to-back titles in 2013 and 2014 in dominant style, winning many races along the way. He made a one-off appearance in the buggy alongside Albatec’s Peugeot 208 RX Supercar entry of James Grint at Maasmechelen in 2016, where he finished second.

Now Marc returns to the driving seat for the first time since his outing in Belgium, looking to resume his battle for race honours. This weekend the Scot has eyes only for the top step of the podium as he resumes his battle with Chrissy Palmer who narrowly pipped him to the 2015 title.

The RX150 championship is currently led by John Ward, the winner of round two at Lydden Hill who brought to a finish Palmer’s unbeaten run of victories and leads by nine points. The top five are all close though, and a win by Marc could certainly cause an upset.

Once again, the Pembrey circuit will run in reverse (anti-clockwise) direction to that traditionally used, something that was introduced for the first time so successfully last year. This will be a new departure for Marc, but one that doesn’t concern him as he returns to Wales for the first time since 2015.

Track action gets underway at Pembrey at 09.00 on Sunday 25 June.

Andy Scott, Albatec Racing Team Principal:

“I’m delighted to see Marc back out racing at Pembrey, where myself and the whole family will be there to support him. During his championship winning years he demonstrated his pace and ability on numerous occasions, and was quite simply unbeatable.

“Now with a full season out of the driving seat I know he’ll be as determined as ever to return to the top step of the podium. After all the hard work he’s put into rebuilding the RX150, I’m sure he’ll be able to give the series regulars a run for their money.”

Marc Scott, Driver Albatec Racing:

“I’m seriously looking forward to getting back out in the buggy in Pembrey. I’ve spent a good few hours in the workshop preparing it so I’m hoping for a good result.

“After a year away I’m hungry for success. I’ve followed the championship so far this season this season and really miss the competition, so I’m looking forward to renewing my rivalry with Chrissy [Palmer], but also the opportunity to compete against the others which make up a good entry. I know the traditional Pembrey but I’ve not raced there on the reverse track, and that’s a challenge I’m looking forward to.”

Albatec returns to scene of victory for French RX at Chateauroux

Dumfries, Scotland (UK) — 21 June 2017: Albatec Racing heads to Chateauroux this weekend for round three of Rallycross France, where Philippe Maloigne bids for his first win of the year. The Frenchman won the race there last year in his SamShield Peugeot 208 RX Supercar, after dominating from the second heat.

In practice Philippe was immediately on the pace around the 981m track, one of the shortest on the schedule, which features a 70%/30% split across gravel and tarmac. The second heat marked his first outright heat win and put him top of the intermediate standings where he stayed into the Final.

This weekend sees the former motocross racer head to head with the cream of French rallycross drivers, including 2014 French Champion Fabien Pailler, Florent Béduneau and Guerlain Chicherit. But with a full season under his belt, he starts as one of the favourites for overall victory among the 16-car field.

The Dumfries team showcased its Peugeot 208 RX Supercars in front of thousands of spectators in its latest event, Euro RX in Norway, with Tommy Rustad and Jere Kalliokoski impressively quick among a massive quality entry. Now with the development programme undertaken by the team, which netted second place for Rustad in Norway, they head back to France determined to take victory and kick start their bid for championship honours.

Free practice in Chateauroux gets underway at 09.45 on Saturday followed by the first two qualifying races at 13.30. Sunday starts with warm-up at 08.00, followed by heats three and four from 09.00, and the semi-finals and Final from 13.45 (all times CET).

Andy Scott, Albatec Racing Team Principal:

“We’ve been working hard to develop the cars and in Norway that came to fruition with some great pace across our Peugeot 208s. There’s no reason to think we can’t repeat that form in Chateauroux, where I’m sure Philippe will once again be able to reproduce the speed he’s shown in the first two rounds of Rallycross France.

“Going into the race on the back of a strong result in Norway gives the whole team confidence and I’m optimistic we can come away with a strong result.”

Philippe Maloigne, Driver Albatec Racing:

“The team did a superb job in Norway, to get both cars through to the semi finals in a huge 33 car field is fantastic, and that gives me confidence going into my next race in Chateauroux.

“Conditions on Sunday last year were incredibly difficult, but in both the dry and wet we were quick. On Saturday particularly I felt very confident with the car and the track and was able to produce my first outright heat win. When the weather changed it was difficult, but we dealt with it so whatever the weather this weekend we should be able to challenge for quick lap times and strong results.”

Albatec Peugeots show strong pace in Norway Euro RX

Lankebanen, Hell (Norway) — 11 June 2017: Albatec Racing showcased its Peugeot 208 RX Supercars with a strong performance in round two of the FIA European Rallycross Championship in Norway this weekend. Former Euro RX champion Tommy Rustad racing at his home event, took three race wins, an overall heat win, and secured victory in his semi-final, while newcomer Jere Kalliokoski achieved his aim of reaching the semi-finals.

Tommy’s bid for honours in front of an enthusiastic home crowd and sponsors, ended after a collision on lap one of the final. Starting from pole Tommy got the best start aboard his HTB Racing Peugeot 208 RX Supercar, to take the lead. Contact with the car of Anton Marklund into turn one however pushed him offline and into the gravel, allowing another car through and dropping Tommy to third.

For two laps Tommy battled on, but on lap three the #24 Peugeot succumbed to suspension damage, leaving Tommy no option but to retire.

The weekend proved a turning point for new signing Jere, who put on a great show in his SMA-backed two litre 16v Supercar. The teenager showed great pace over the weekend on his way to a semi-final qualifying position. For the young Finn in his first season with Albatec and Euro RX, the weekend also marked his first appearance in Hell.

A learning session in practice on Friday, subsequently saw the 18 year-old P16 of the 33-strong field on Saturday morning. To add to the challenge, practice was held in slippery track conditions due to heavy rain.

Jere’s first qualifying race saw him head to head with experienced local driver Peter Hedstrom, who he came close to passing on the last lap. Third in the race left him P14 overall. In Q2 and Q3 Jere didn’t get the best start and as a result was stuck behind a more experienced driver, twice finishing third and putting him 14th in the intermediate standings.

Going into his final qualifying race a superb race win and seventh fastest overall time moved him to 11th and into the semis. In that a good start allowed him to take a position, and he held third for the opening two laps before a collision with Robin Larsson ended his race.

The team returns to race action in round three at Höljes, Sweden in three weeks’ time.

Andy Scott, Albatec Racing Team Principal:

“The team has been working really hard and we had some great speed and improvements, particularly with Jere, who drove some really good races. To qualify for the semis in only his second Euro RX outing is fantastic. Unfortunately, his progress was halted with a small technical issue in the semi-final, otherwise he stood a chance to fight for a place in the final. I’m sure he’s going to be mentally faster and stronger going into Höljes. Jere should leave here with a lot of positives, I’ve certainly seen the potential we saw with him in pre-season testing, so I’m very happy about that.

“Tommy did everything right, just a small mistake in Q4 but still good enough to get pole for the semi. Winning the semi put him on pole for the Final and he made a great start, but took a hit at the first and second corners. I think something had broken on the car as we started to lose positions on the second lap, and ultimately had to retire with rear suspension damage. I thought we were really in with a chance of lifting the victory this weekend. It’s only made us stronger and more confident that we can win in Höljes. A lot of positives from the weekend, it just doesn’t necessarily feel like that at the moment.”

Tommy Rustad, Driver Albatec Racing:

“Saturday was very wet, but we had a good balance with the car although the conditions were difficult. In the first race, I was happy with the win, and speed, in Q2 I was a bit disappointed to end in P4 but could see the conditions were changing across the races and happy to lead overnight. I led Q3 from start to finish, and was second overall which kept me top. In Q4 I didn’t get the best start and was last off the start line, so dropped to second but with pole for my semi-final. I made a perfect start, had a good battle with [Thomas] Bryntesson, but managed to win with a good margin.

In the final, I made a very good start but at the first corner [Anton] Marklund made a pass, very tough, but no more than I would expect, and in the fight with him I lost a place to [Tamas] Pal Kiss. I could feel there was something wrong with the car, I went to the joker on lap two, and coming out behind [Robin] Larsson in P4 I could feel the rear suspension was broken, so that was it, game over. But the Albatec guys did a brilliant job all weekend, we’ve shown we have the speed to win races, and we’ll be coming back even stronger in Höljes.”

Jere Kalliokoski, Driver Albatec Racing:

“It’s been a challenging weekend, my first time in Hell. Practice was initially dry but then started to rain before the qualification races, so it was difficult particularly on a technical and tricky track. In Q3 I was eighth, and Q2 20th, which put me overnight in 14th so I knew Sunday’s races were important to keep me on track to reach my semi-final target.

“Sunday the conditions were better, and the pace was improved, in Q3 I was 13th, but had a problem on my joker lap. The last qualifying race was crucial. I knew had to beat [Henning] Solberg to reach the semi-finals. It was a great race, I was very happy to beat him and won the race which allowed me to progress. In the semi, I made a pretty good start and was running third but had contact with [Robin] Larsson which ended my race.

“Overall, it’s been a weekend of ups and downs, challenging, but overall very satisfying to reach the semi-finals which was my target. Now we head to Sweden, I’ve been there before for testing, not racing, so looking forward to racing there after a successful weekend in Norway.”

Rustad leads Albatec to Hell for Euro RX round two

Dumfries, Scotland (UK) — 8 June 2017: Albatec Racing returns to Euro RX action at Lankebanen, Norway this weekend, round five of the FIA World Rallycross Championship, Team Verksted World RX of Norway.

Former European champion Tommy Rustad hopes local knowledge of his home track will provide the boost required to claim his first win of the season in round two of the FIA European Rallycross Championship. Jere Kalliokoski continues his first season with the Dumfries team, the young Finn taking only his second start for the team.

Rustad will pilot the HTB Racing Peugeot 208 RX Supercar, while Kalliokoski will be at the wheel of the similar SMA-backed two-litre, 16v 208. 33 Supercars will battle for European honours in Norway, on a track well known for its twists, turns and first corner joker. Tommy will undoubtedly benefit from home support and testing ahead of the event for both should allow the team to demonstrate its potential and produce the result they deserve.

Practice on Saturday gets underway from 09.30, with the first of two qualifying races at 11.00. Warm-up on Sunday starts at 08.30, followed by Q3 & Q4 from 10.00, the semi finals from 13.40 and all-important Final at 15.00.

Tommy Rustad, Driver Albatec Racing:

“Racing on your home track is always a boost for a driver so racing here in Norway is one I always look forward to. I won here in my 2015 championship winning season, and this year I’m determined to repeat that. The team and car are better than the results showed in Spain, but due to a combination of factors we didn’t get the results we were capable of. We have conducted extensive testing in preparation for this weekend and I’d very much like to take my first win of the season at home.”

Jere Kalliokoski, Driver Albatec Racing:

“After the opening round of Euro RX in Barcelona, I took part in the opening round of the Finnish championship and was leading the race with some quick times, before spinning off. Up to then I was going well, so the target this weekend in Norway is to reach a semi final position.

“I’ve never been here before or even to Norway in fact, but from what I know the track is very technical. I have done some testing but the competition will be tough, there are over 30 cars racing this weekend, and the local entry is also very strong.”

Andy Scott pledges to return to Sol Rally Barbados after 2017 outing

Sol Rally Barbados, (Barbados) — Tuesday 6 June 2017: Albatec Racing Team Principal Andy Scott has vowed to return to Sol Rally Barbados (Sol RB17) next year after a successful debut appearance saw him run as high as third in class on the final day.

The rallycross racer swapped his 600bhp Peugeot 208 RX Supercar for a Paul Horton owned MkI Ford Escort for both the Flow King of the Hill last weekend, and Sol RB17, which finished on Sunday. With experienced local co-driver Rashid Philipps alongside him, Andy steadily improved stage times over the course of the three days, and was running third in class until a technical issue saw him crash out on the penultimate stage.

Despite the threat of rain on the opening day, the event was held in dry conditions over a mixture of day and night stages, which proved the biggest challenge for the double British rallycross vice-champion. Among a 44-strong overseas entry, the Dumfries racer also had to adapt to the challenging road conditions.

Leaving Barbados and heading straight to Norway for round two of the FIA European Rallycross Championship, Andy confirmed his intention to tackle the event again next year, but has yet to decide on which car he’ll drive.

Andy Scott, Team Principal Albatec Racing:

“What an event. I don’t have much rally experience, but it’s an event I’d say everyone should do – it bit like the rallycross at Höljes – one event you really shouldn’t miss. The enthusiasm and support from everyone, for all the drivers was incredible. We even had a spectator offer his battery from his road car to help us get to the end of a stage. After a steady start we started to set some good stage times and I’m pretty sure third in class was on the cards – there’s no doubt Rashid’s local knowledge was a great help to us.

“I’d say the biggest challenge was the heat, and the hard roads. Some of them are really rough, under trees, with adverse camber and very bumpy. We were lucky and managed to dodge the showers that were forecast, but the threat was always in the back of your mind. The stages in the dark too were tricky, it’s one things driving through them in the daylight in a road car, and another matter in pitch black. Even then, it was incredible to see so many spectators lining the stage, literally thousands of them, cheering us all on. It was a great experience, I’ll definitely do it again.”