Albatec Racing‘s Jerome Grosset-Janin finished as Vice Champion in the 2015 FIA European Rallycross Championship Finale, held at the Franciacorta International Circuit in Italy, remaining in the hunt for the title until the Semi-Final stages of what has been a season long epic title fight.
Having begun the season well by wining the opening EuroRX event held at Mettet in Belgium, Grosset-Janin was within six points of championship leader Tommy Rustad and well within the chance of securing his first EuroRX title in the teams Peugeot 208 RX Supercar.
The French driver began the event in fighting style by going fifth fastest in Heat one and being second fastest EuroRX driver behind rival Rustad. He then went on to go third fastest of the EuroRX contingent in Heat Two whilst Rustad suffered a puncture.
However after overnight rain on Day Two caused the circuit conditions to deteriorate, Grosset-Janin suffered in Heat Four as contact with Tamas Karai in his Audi S1 Supercar caused the Peugeot to suffer a right rear puncture heading into the Semi-Final stages and keeping the slim chance of Title glory alive.
This came to an end as Rustad was victorious in his Semi-Final, giving the HTB Racing/Marklund Motorsport driver the title although Grosset-Janin finished a very close second in his own Semi-Final appearance. In the Final itself, the former French Rallycross Champion suffered a second puncture, bringing a sad end to his EuroRX Campaign.
Grosset-Janin took the positives from this seasons campaign with the Dumfries based squad in EuroRX: “I will remember only the positive things not only from Franciacorta this weekend, but from the entire season. We have had good pace all year, we just missed a few little things in the end to pull it all together to win the championship at this high level of competition. But of course the team has done a very good job, we all worked hard all year to win this title, but it wasn’t to be. Now I’m ready to start work for next year and start a new challenge.”
Team-mate James Grint was looking for his third Semi-Final appearance and began well by claiming seventh in heat two to elevate him to tenth in the overnight standings. On Day Two, tricky conditions saw James slide off into the wall in heat three, whilst contact with Robert Czarnecki in heat four pushed him into a spin and out of contention for a place in the semi finals.
James Grint reflected on his first season of Rallycross in the Supercar class at such a high level of competition in the FIA European Rallycross Championship: “It’s not really gone my way this weekend, again! I think I had some good potential today, and I didn’t really meet it. I made a small mistake under braking in heat three which put me into the wall. I lost quite a bit of time there, which I think probably cost me a place in the semi final.
“It was my first experience of a Supercar in the wet and although I think I’ve got good wet pace, it just didn’t work out well for me in heat four either. I’m disappointed as I really wanted to end the year with a better result, but it’s all progress, it’s all experience. Overall it’s been a good season, I’ve learnt a lot, and here’s hoping I can carry on into next year and hopefully have a better run.”
Despite this Team Principal Andy Scott was very proud of the team’s and drivers performance during their maiden EuroRX season: “It’s been a really hard weekend; Jerome gave it everything he could. He worked hard, we all worked hard, but it was always going to be difficult. Yesterday we had a good result to have both Jérôme and James second and tenth in the standings, but it all fell apart in heat three today with James hitting the wall, and then taking a hit in the fourth, and a puncture for Jérôme in heat four,” explained Scott.
“Jérôme came back to finish second in his semi final, but the title was already decided by Tommy Rustad winning his semi, but finishing second overall in the European Championship is a good result. James has improved in every race, he’s learning all the time, and I’m certain if he hadn’t had the spin in heat three, he’d have been through to his third semi final of the season.”
This was the final event of a mammoth programme for the team in 2015 that has seen them compete in the British Rallycross Championship, as well as EuroRX and selected events of the French Rallycross Championship and the FIA World Rallycross Championship.