Albatec Racing fielded all three of its Peugeot 208 RX Supercars at round eight of the 2016 FIA World Rallycross Championship, the World RX of France, against a very strong and varied field of Rallycross competitors.
The team entered three drivers for the event with Andy Scott fairing the best out of the trio over the weekend as he kept his times within the top twenty on Day One before improving further in the more difficult conditions on Day Two where he finished Q3 in sixth place before setting the 12th fastest time in Q4. This was enough to confirm a place in Semi-Final Two where Scott battled with both of the Peugeot-Hansen Academy duo of Davy Jeanney and Kevin Hansen, however he would lose out to finish in sixth place in the race and be classified in 12th place overall in the event.
Scott was very happy with his performance over the weekend, “Before we arrived here my target was to reach the semi-finals once again and it was a near perfect weekend for me. The highlight being sixth fastest overall in Q3, and finishing the weekend as 12th fastest in a World RX event is by all accounts a great result,” explained Scott.
“In Q1 we had good speed, and consistency throughout Saturday, but I knew we needed to up the game in Sunday’s final two qualifying races. The rain played into my hands a little, as I don’t mind the slippery conditions and we took a bit of a gamble on the strategy which paid off.
“It was particularly rewarding having such a great battle with Timmy [Hansen] in Q4 but into the semi-final I just didn’t get off the line well enough to capitalise on the pace and performance of our Peugeot 208.”
Team-mate and 2015 FIA European Rallycross Champion Tommy Rustad was unlucky on his first visit to Loheac as he finished one place behind Scott in 13th place and just outside the Semi-Finals. During Qualifying, the Norwegian was quick enough to stay inside the top twenty, however issues in both Q3 and Q4 meant that although he would set a faster time that his team-mate, he would miss out on his goal.
Rustad explains his weekend further, “Of course I’m disappointed not to get into the semis, which was my target this weekend. We had the speed and everything was working well to be there, but it just wasn’t to be. Yesterday I made a good start in both races, but made a small mistake in the first. In the second race I took the lead and pushed hard and felt there was more to come from me, but also from the car to get it to turn in better in the mid corner sections,” said Rustad.
“Today the conditions were not so good. I had a bad start from fourth on the grid in Q3, and was not able to find the windscreen washers so I had poor visibility. In Q4 I made an OK start to take the lead and pushed as hard as I could to win my race but the track was drying too quickly and the later races were faster, so I ended up in P11 which unfortunately gave me the position just outside the top 12 qualifiers.“
Frenchman Philippe Maloigne enjoyed a consistent run in what was his first home World RX event, finishing in 21st place overall, however he took away the positives from the weekend, “I made a few mistakes this weekend but the overall feeling is that it has been a good learning session and I learnt a lot; not just on the track driving the car but also in the briefings and learning the set-up of the car, so I’m really happy despite the result.
“From the first qualifying race I was quite fast; consistently across the four qualifying races, which is very good news going into the final three rounds of French RX. I think this weekend will help me overall with my performance this year, as well as setting me up for next year, so I’m very excited about raising my level.”
The team now prepares for the Euro RX of Spain, round four of the 2016 FIA European Rallycross Championship, where Jerome Grosset-Janin returns to the team alongside Scott and Rustad.