Albatec Racing is gearing up for the start of the 2016 FIA European Rallycross Championship, which kicks off at Mettet in Belgium this weekend. The circuit is also the scene of the teams first Euro RX victory last season.
As the Dumfries-based team looks to take on the strong entry of drivers, teams and Supercars for this year, their driver lineup reflects the aim of looking to secure the Drivers Championship. 2015 Champion Tommy Rustad joins the team as Jerome Grosset-Janin returns for a second season in the Peugeot 208 RX Supercars. With both Rustad and Grosset-Janin having dominated the 2015 season, the prospects for the team look good in 2016 to challenge for top honours at each event.
With this years Euro RX series boasting 23 full time entries for the season and a record 30 entries in total for the opening round at Mettet, the quality of the field is very high, which means that Albatec will need to be on top of their game from the opening round. The team recently tested upgrades to the Peugeot 208’s and spirits are high to both drivers to hit the ground running at the season opener.
“I am very excited and motivated, and looking forward to working with Albatec this year.” said Rustad.
“I really like Mettet, it’s a technical track with a difficult first corner and a blind jump. It has all sorts of corners from a hairpin to a fast chicane. I have mixed emotions from last year’s event, securing pole position in the semi-final but unfortunately had to retire with broken suspension in the final. My target is certainly to win, but a podium finish would be a great start to the season with a new team. It’s important to get into the final to be in the hunt for the championship,”
“I’m not thinking too much about going into the race as reigning champion, it’s a new year and I know I need to deliver, but nobody puts more pressure on me than myself; I love to win. Having Jérôme as team mate is very good, he’s professional, and experienced with the car and the team. If we can work together and push each other, then we will be very strong against our competitors. That make it easier for one of us to win the championship at end of the season.”
Grosset-Janin is looking forward to the challenge of having Rustad as a team-mate, “When Andy asked me what I thought about Tommy joining us in the team, I answered immediately that it would be the best thing for Albatec. Competing in Euro RX will be very hard this year, but we will have more chance of winning the championship as we are two very ambitious drivers.
“Tommy has a lot of experience in motorsport, he is very smart, and we have shared our thoughts of the cars after our first test. I started my story with Albatec in early 2015, and I have to say that I am proud that what we have shown to the world of rallycross makes a European Champion look forward to driving for the team! On the sport side, it doesn’t change anything for me. To win the championship, I have to beat drivers like him.”
Team Principle Andy Scott is proud of the hard work that the team and drivers have put in ahead of the season, “I’m really looking forward to the opening round of Euro RX at Mettet, and incredibly proud to have both the reigning champion and vice-champion with us for 2016, as well as the well-established Poujoulat and HTB Racing joining us.
“Both Tommy and Jérôme, and both Peugeot 208s have the potential to win, but we all know in rallycross that isn’t always enough. The team has worked hard to prepare two cars capable of delivering the results, and I know both drivers have been working extremely hard too to ensure they are mentally and physically prepared for the opening round. It’s an incredibly strong field this year in Supercars generally, and with 30 drivers in Euro RX I don’t expect an easy time, but with some luck on our side, we can certainly be strong challengers for victory.”