Albatec Racing looks set to continue its semi final form in round eight of the FIA World Rallycross Championship presented by Monster Energy this weekend, with Team Principal Andy Scott steering his MacDuff-backed Peugeot 208 to eleventh in the overnight standings. Returning to the track on which he’s already had considerable success, the Dumfries businessman secured second and third places from the opening two qualifying heats, with a strong pace that sees him currently inside the crucial top 12 qualifying slots with two four-lap heats to come.
Making his World RX debut with the team, David Binks had an eventful return to race action, after nearly two-years out of the driving seat. Stepping into the car vacated by former F1 World Champion Jacques Villeneuve who is tied up with F1 commitments, the former Global Rallycross Championship contender conducted a shakedown at Mayenne on Wednesday, before heading into his first event since a season-ending roll in Las Vegas in 2012. A strong opening race, around the 1.1km track in Brittany, netted second place for the Newcastle racer but drama unfolded as he returned to the pits when a fuel leak caused a small engine fire.
The team worked hard between the heats to rectify the problem, and with thankfully minimal damage sustained David was able to take up his place on the grid for heat two. Lining up fourth, David once again drove a strong race, battling hard on his way to third. His overall race times place him 18th of the 37-strong Supercar field. But with some changes to both his and Andy’s two-litre 16v Peugeot 208s planned overnight, the pair are confident of an improved pace tomorrow.
Sunday’s action resumes with warm-up at 08.00, the first of the final two qualifying heats at 09.15 and the semi finals at 15.00, followed by the Final at around 15.30. Further event information, live timing and streaming is available at www.rallycrossrx.com. All times remain provisional and please check the website for details of local coverage.
Andy Scott, Team Principal and driver Albatec Racing #26 :
“I had a really good start, but was just out-dragged into the first corner. There was a bit of contact with Reinis (Nitiss), but I thought 'hey I had pole, the inside line and it was my corner'. I managed to get past him but Petter (Solberg) came round the outside, I tried to hang on to him but ultimately he had more pace than me today.
“In race two I lined up between the two Pailler brothers. Fabien particularly has a reputation of being very fast here so I knew it would be a difficult job to beat him, but I made a really good start and took the lead into the first corner. When he passed me at the joker I still had a lap to follow him and from that I’ve seen some new lines I can try in warm-up tomorrow. Overall I’m pretty happy to be 11th as the competition this weekend is pretty fierce.”
David Binks, driver Albatec Racing #81 :
“I got a cracking start off the outside of the grid, with Edward (Sandstrom) alongside me, I knew there was no way I’d be able to go round the outside of three cars, so I elected to joker. I knew Derek (Tohill) had to joker twice, and when he came out in front of me after the first, I knew there was no point in pushing and managed to get him on the penultimate lap.
“For the second heat unfortunately I was off the far side of the grid again, although I got a decent start, with just a bit too much wheelspin, the car to the left of me got a cracking start and went in really, really fast, and I decided then there was potentially going to be a big crash and I thought ‘I don’t want to be in that’. The boys shouted to take the joker, which was a good call, and when I rejoined it gave me a chance to sit behind some of the local boys, which allowed me to learn some new lines. There’s some more time to come though, through changes to the car, so it’s all good.”