Albatec Racing were satisfied with the performance of their all-French driver line-up for last weekend’s FIA World Rallycross event at Loheac in France.
The Dumfries-based team fielded their two Peugeot 208 RX Supercars which were driven by EuroRX driver Jerome Grosset-Janin alongside four time FIA WTCC Champion Yvan Muller who made his debut in WorldRX and both drivers were fast enough during the heat stages to trouble the established runners an threaten to qualify into the Semi-Finals.
After heat one, Grosset-Janin was in fifth place overall whilst Muller was eighth quickest. However a puncture for the 2013 French Rallycross Champion in heat two and contact between Muller and Topi Heikkinen left both drivers down the order at the end of Day One.
Day two saw a fightback from both drivers as in heat three Muller led Grosset-Janin across the line to claim his first ever heat race win and a 1-2 finish for Albatec Racing whilst Grosset-Janin finished 10th fastest in the heat. However this wasn’t enough to help both drivers qualify for the Semi-Finals as Muller would finish 19th overall and his team-mate in 14th position.
Despite this, Team Principal Andy Scott declared himself happy with the team and drivers performance.
“Unfortunately we didn’t make the cut to reach the semi finals this weekend, but I think both our drivers demonstrated their capabilities, and reinforced the pace and performance of the Albatec Peugeot 208s. If you’d applied an average position to them for the second heat, where they both had their troubles yesterday, we’d have had both Jérome and Yvan easily qualify to the semi finals. We were consistently in the top ten in the races where we didn’t have a problem,” he explained.
“Naturally it’s the not the way we wanted to end the day, but the cars have been competitive all weekend, and it’s a continuation of all the hard work everyone’s put into the cars this year, and I think everyone in the paddock is now recognising Albatec Racing as a team to be respected.”
Yvan Muller was impressed with the specatcle of WorldRX and his own performance over the weekend.
“I think rallycross is pretty good, it’s a good atmosphere, and there is a lot of freedom. I liked it especially as it’s something I didn’t know and there are plenty of things to learn. The trouble is when you still have a lot of things to learn and you’re racing at this level, it’s quite complicated. But we showed the Albatec cars are capable of being in the top ten, there are still some things to improve, to optimise, in myself as well, in fact more in myself than anything else!” said Muller.
“But it was an interesting weekend. The biggest challenge was to understand how to drive exactly, you know when you’re testing you drive on your own level, you don’t know what the others are doing so now I know a bit more. I understand more how the tyres are working, how much to attack, and which way we have to work on the car to gain some speed. And which way I have to work to gain more time with my driving style. I think right now we have the potential to gain between three and five tenths of a second a lap, easily!”
Jerome Grosset-Janin was happy with his weekend’s work as he joined his EuroRX team.
“I was happy with our pace on Saturday, in practice and in the first heat, I was happy with the car, and happy to be racing at the level I was, and to win the battle with Davy Jeanney. The second race started well, I had a good joker lap, but then got a puncture.” he explained.
“Today was good because we had a good heat this morning with Yvan, where we raced together, and heat four was fast. I felt good, the car had very good balance and we had good pace all weekend. Unfortunately at this level of competition, which was very, very high this weekend, with a lot of drivers, every mistake costs a lot, and unfortunately we didn’t reach the semi finals. OK we have the car, the team, the pace, and after everything else, those final little things are just motorsport.”
Albatec Racing will now prepare for the penultimate round of the FIA European Rallycross Championship at Barcelona in two week’s time.