Albatec Racing once again showed that it had race winning pace as Jerome Grosset-Janin and James Grint campaigned the teams two Peugeot 208 RX Supercars in the latest round of the 2015 FIA World Rallycross Championship.
Grosset-Janin showed stunning pace during the first heat which left him in eighth place overall and the fastest driver in the EuroRX field. He followed this up with a retirement in heat two with a broken front left wheel. Grosset-Janin took the fastest EuroRX time in heat three and third overall and then in heat four he fought off Tanner Foust and Robin Larsson to finish second fastest of the EuroRX runners to qualify for the Semi-Finals.
In the Final, he joined Championship title rival Tommy Rustad on the front row and despite avoiding the sliding Volkswagen Polo, contact with Jonni-Pekka Rajala left the Frenchman out on the spot but with Rustad being disqualified after the race, Grosset-Janin remains seven points behind championship leader Rustad.
Grint endured a tough weekend after hitting a concrete wall in heat one leaving his Peugeot heavily damaged and unable to start heat two. In heat three Grint raced against team-mate Grosset-Janin where he finished third however contact with Max Pucher in heat four ended his running for the weekend.
Andy Scott was full of praise for both drivers efforts over the weekend.
“It’s been a mixed weekend for Team Albatec. On Saturday Jérome was very good, he was leading the times in Euro RX, and driving well, but a small mistake meant he dropped down to P10. But we all had belief in him and that he could bring it back. He lined up for heat three and drove an absolutely amazing race to set the fastest time, which was only beaten in the last heat by two other drivers, a truly remarkable drive. In heat four, the last heat of the day with all the top drivers, he drove another good race, a solid performance, which allowed him to take pole for his semi final.
“In the semi final he didn’t make the best start and was out-dragged by Veiby into the first corner, but had a good fight throughout, pushing him to the finish. In the final starting P3 on the second row obviously it was always going to be tough with six guys wanting to win, and he needed to win to keep the championship fight alive. He made a reasonable start but got caught up in the inevitable first corner collision. In turn two, he tried to make a move around the outside, but unfortunately he got some contact from another driver and suffered broken rear suspension. He showed amazing speed when he was going though and we go forward to Italy to fight for the championship.
“James had a mixed weekend, with not much practice on Saturday and in heat one he was very unlucky. He made a small mistake and hit the concrete wall, which damaged the left side of the car. In heat three he drove very well, with quick times, which would usually be enough to get him through. His driving is improving race on race, and our ambition is to get him through to the final in Italy.”
Grosset-Janin expressed his enthusiasm after his performance.
“First of all I think it’s great to be part of the first ever World and Euro RX event in Spain, the organisers did a great job in producing a track that is very interesting to drive, with a good mix of technical and very specific areas, it’s been great to race here,” he explained.
“We had a good pace with the car and I was pretty unlucky in heat two, I made a little mistake, and maybe I should have done something a little different. But to be third fastest overall in heat three was very important for me, the team, for all at Albatec Racing, for everyone working with us. The semi final was good, I had a good fight with Ole-Christian Veiby, I really enjoyed that, and it was a lot of fun. But in the final I was involved in a heavy collision with another driver, which I feel could have been avoided, after all we’re all here fighting for the championship! Now let’s see what happens in Italy!”
Grint took the positives from a difficult weekend.
“It’s not really gone my way this weekend. We had a technical issue in open practice, which meant we only got one clean run, so four laps only. We went into the first heat with a good start, and everything was going well, but in the really bad visibility in the dust, I went off and hit a concrete wall. So it was a big push to get the car ready, the boys did a great job, but we missed the second heat,” explained Grint.
“In heat three we had a good run, finished third, with a decent time. Then in heat four I had a battle at the start with another car, which saw us drop back, and we lost quite a bit of time. But that’s the way it goes. Even with a few problems, we were on course to qualify for the semis. The pace is there, I feel great in the car but if you have a few problems in rallycross it hampers your overall result. You need at least three clean heats. It’s tough luck we didn’t get out in heat two, but that’s what happens when you crash.
“I’m looking forward to Italy. I think it will suit the car. We’ve got some really good dampers, this is the biggest jump I’ve done on the X-Tec dampers, and they’re everything you could want in a rallycross car, it lands like a cat. So I’m looking forward to Italy to see how brave we can be over the jumps.”
Albatec Racing is in action again in two weeks time as Kristian Sohlberg returns to drive for the team in Turkey for the next WorldRX event.