Round three of the FIA World Rallycross Championship presented by Monster Energy sees former F1 World Champion Jacques Villeneuve reunited with Albatec Racing for World RX of Norway at Lånke over the weekend of 14/15 June. Returning from an appearance at the Indy 500, where after a 19-year absence he averaged 230mph a lap to finish a very credible 14th, Jacques will rejoin Team Principal Andy Scott aboard one of the team’s 600bhp, two-litre, 16v Peugeot 208 Supercars.
A frustrating start to his rallycross debut in the season-opening Montalegre round in April saw the former Indycar World Series Champion’s weekend not go entirely to plan, but with two days testing planned ahead of the Norwegian event, hopes are high of a strong result for the French-Canadian this weekend. And with a second consecutive semi-final position secured last time out for Andy, the 2011 British Rallycross Vice-Champion heads to the next event determined to make it three in a row.
The Dumfries-based outfit is one of six permanent World RX teams in the new-for-2014, 12 round series, and is currently the highest placed of the British teams, with Andy the leading permanent British driver of the 39-strong field. Heading into the first of three Scandinavian rounds, the team which made its competition debut last April, has its sights set on a repeat of the form that netted a strong pace at last year’s event.
The Hell track situated in northern Norway is one of the most technically challenging and punishing on the 2014 schedule, but also one of the most exciting for drivers and fans alike. With stunning views across the locality Hell, like Lydden Hill, features a first corner joker, and plenty of elevation changes, offering plenty of opportunities for passing around the 1.1 km track.
Saturday’s track action begins with open practice at 11.00 and the first of the heats at 13.30. There are two more heats starting at 10.45 on Sunday morning following an hour-long warm-up at 09.30, followed by two-semi finals at 16.30 and the six-lap final on Sunday afternoon. Tickets are available from http://www.billettservice.no/artist/vm-rallycross-billetter/94130, with event details available at www.rallycrossrx.com
Andy Scott, Team Principal, Albatec Racing driver #26:
“After reaching the semi finals in both Portugal and our home event, naturally the main focus for me personally is to achieve the same in Norway. Ideally I’d like to see both cars reach the final however the competition this year is fierce, and with another huge entry in Hell, it will certainly be a tough weekend. But we’ve worked hard since the opening round, and we believe made great improvements since Lydden Hill, so we’re happy that we’ve got two cars capable of challenging at the front.
“I’m very excited about racing in Norway, it’s a great circuit, with a great atmosphere and is a very challenging track. It often features a good variety of track conditions and without doubt is one of the most punishing of the tracks we visit with punctures and suspension damage a particular worry for many last year. The joker once again plays a major role there too and the wrong decision can make or break the race, with the hairpin and the climb back up the hill a particularly exciting section."
Jacques Villeneuve, Albatec Racing driver #25:
“I’m very happy to be getting back into rallycross, but obviously hoping to have a better result than my first event. Coming here off the back of a good finish at Indy I’m feeling pretty confident and with the benefit now of one rallycross event already completed, will certainly be hoping for an improvement in Norway. It’s encouraging for the team to have qualified for two successive semi finals with Andy, and hopefully the developments they’ve done will allow me to challenge for a strong result.”