2015 FIA European Rallycross Supercar Champion Tommy Rustad endured what was a difficult weekend at the 2017 Euro RX of France, but he was ultimately able to take home good points that will be vital in the Driver Championship fight.
The Norwegian showed good pace during the first three Qualifying session in his Albatec Racing Peugeot 208 WRX as he stayed within the top six, taking the Qualifying Race win in Q1. Despite the wet conditions for Q4, Rustad had already done enough to end up in fourth place overall after Qualifying had finished.
This put the former BTCC driver into Semi-Final Two, where he managed to avoid the first lap clash between Ollie O’Donovan and Jerome Grosset-Janin, before going on to secure third place in the race only tenths ahead of Alexander Hvaal. This meant that Rustad would qualify on the back row for the Supercar Final with Derek Tohill.
Despite a good start in the Final where the Norwegian driver made it up as high as fourth place, Rustad then suffered a left front puncture in the middle of the race which dropped him back to sixth place at the end.
Regardless of the puncture, Rustad was upbeat about the weekend’s performance.
“In the semi-final I had a big battle with Alexander Hvaal, which ended up with a crash between us but as I was third we went through. In the final, I came out number five, fighting with Marklund, but after the joker I got a left front puncture and couldn’t do anything but get to the flag very slowly,” he explained.
“It wasn’t the best weekend, but as I always say there’s a short space between heaven and hell. We’re third in the championship, and I’m very happy with the team, they’re doing a good job and everything is working right mechanically.
Whilst there is no question that the pace of the Albatec Racing Peugeot is there to take a win, Rustad is hopeful of this happening in Latvia, where he fights for a top three Drivers Championship place in the final round.
“Looking ahead to Riga, Anton is too far away so we need now to fight for silver or bronze in the championship battle.”
Team Principal Andy Scott also shares this view.
“I’m disappointed at the overall results for both Tommy and Jere, especially as we demonstrated early on with both cars and drivers that we had the overall pace. Across the weekend the cars and drivers both proved again they have the potential and we look forward to Latvia and the last chance to come away with a win.”