Albatec Racing endured a challenging weekend as it competed for top honours at the 2016 Euro RX of Sweden, round three of the 2016 FIA European Rallycross Championship for Supercars.
With ever changing conditions hampering the setup of the Dumfries based Teams Peugeot 208 RX Supercars, there was always going to be an uphill struggle for the squads three drivers: Jerome Grosset-Janin, Team Principle Andy Scott and 2015 FIA Euro RX champion Tommy Rustad. However Rustad and Scott began Q1 well with a one-two finish in their race to go fifth and eighth overall respectively whilst Grosset-Janin suffered contact which left him in 12th overall. Q2 saw an improvement as Grosset-Janin moved to fourth in the overnight standings with Rustad fifth overall and Scott completing the day in eighth place.
Sunday saw the pace of all three cars hampered by a dry track and intermittent rain showers which meant that faster times would depend on tyre strategy in both Q3 and Q4. The Albatec trio navigated their Q3 and Q4 races to maintain position inside the crucial top 12 which meant that all three cars would qualify for the Semi-Finals. In SF1, Grosset-Janin chased the pack after taking an early joker however whilst this strategy helped others over the weekend, the Frenchman would come home in fourth place and miss out on the Final, causing a blow to his championship hopes.
In SF2, Contact between Rustad and Scott at the final turn on lap one saw the Scotsman roll his Peugeot into the gravel. Scott would emerge from the car unscathed, whilst Rustad went on to qualify on the back row of the Final. Rustad would go on to finish in third place in the Final after Tamas Pal Kiss was excluded from the race, meaning the Norwegian driver would complete the podium behind Peugeot-Hansen Academy team-mates Kevin Hansen and Fredrik Salsten.
Andy Scott consolidated what was a difficult weekend for him,“I’m disappointed not to go to the Final as I think we had the pace to do so this weekend. It’s been a very difficult weekend with really challenging conditions, never sure if it was going to be a dry race or a wet race and even during the races the conditions on track have been changing quite dramatically,” explained Scott.
“From a team perspective, it’s been a very challenging weekend, but is a great result to have all three cars consistently in the top ten and to have all three in the semis really is a landmark result for Albatec. Looking ahead to Barcelona, our aim will be again to have all of us in the semi-finals, and if we push hard then it would be great to have us all in the Final.”
Tommy Rustad praised the team for their efforts over the event, “It’s been a difficult weekend with changeable weather. In the semi’s I made a very good start and overtook Andy but unfortunately we had a little touch and he rolled. I finished third but it was a very special situation when I was involved in the touch when he rolled, it was not a good feeling.
“In the final I started from the last row and made an OK start and was going straight into the joker behind [Tord] Linnerud, pushing him hard. I managed to get third but on the last lap I made a small mistake which allowed [Tamas] Pal Kiss to pass me, though he was later excluded. I’m very happy to finish on the podium, not just for me but for the whole team, who did a brilliant job to prepare the car after all the incidents. They deserve this podium.”
Jerome Grosset-Janin was happy with his debut at the Swedish track, “You hear about it, you watch it on videos and see pictures, but until you actually feel it, drive it, smell it, you really can’t know what it’s like at Höljes. It’s an amazing atmosphere but the track itself is another new challenge.
“We managed to stay in a strong position in the races to reach the semi-finals in a not too bad position. In the semi we ran on slicks, which allowed me to attack more than I was able to on wets, I think we’re missing something with traction which gave us low performance in the wet. But in the semi my times were comparable with the fastest lap times which gives us some good tips for the future. Overall I’m very happy to finish the weekend with six good laps and to feel what it’s like to drive fast at Höljes.”