Albatec Racing’s hopes of a strong result in the Red Kiwi World RX of Germany suffered a setback on day one, after a combination of technical issues and a black flag dropped both drivers outside the top 12. The Estering track, near Hamburg, venue for round nine of the FIA World Rallycross Championship presented by Monster Energy is renowned as one of the most punishing on the 12-round schedule, and today’s opening two heats proved challenging for both Andy Scott and new recruit Ramona Karlsson aboard their Albatec Peugeot 208s.
Former rally star Ramona was first of the two drivers to venture out on track for the first of the two qualifying heats, lining up alongside former WRC Champion and current World RX points leader Petter Solberg. A good start allowed Ramona to place second into turn one, but with only four laps under her belt during this morning’s opening practice, struggled to find the pace necessary to challenge for race victory.
Team Principal Andy, on the back of five semi final positions from six rounds, went into this weekend looking to add to his tally. A broken handbrake release unit in heat one meant the 2011 British Rallycross Vice-Champion was unable to seriously challenge for victory, although a solid drive in the opening four lap race saw the Dumfries contender hang on to the finish.
In the second heat the duo went head to head, Ramona starting from the prime spot, and Andy on the outside of the grid. A great start from Andy saw him immediately challenging for the lead into turn one, however a slow getaway meant Ramona dropped down the order. Although Andy pushed hard, his bid ended with a wastegate failure on lap two, resulting in loss of power and costing valuable pace, although he held on to take second.
There was worse to come for Ramona though. After a strong recovery saw her up to third place, a coming together with Alexandre Theuil on lap three consequently resulted in her being excluded from the heats, dropping her down the overall order. Despite the disappointment, both Ramona and Andy head into tomorrow’s final two qualifying heats more determined than ever to put today’s dramas behind them and start the day with a solid performance.
Track action gets underway with warm-up at 08.15, ahead of the remaining two heats from 09.30, with the semi finals and the crucial Final from 15.00. Live timing, live streaming and further information is available from www.rallycrossrx.com.
Andy Scott, Team Principal and driver Albatec Racing #26 :
“It’s been a disappointing day to be honest as I felt the laps in practice this morning would have made us competitive. But on the second run we suffered with a transmission problem and there was no time to rectify that ahead of the first heat, and losing rear wheel drive seriously compromised our first race.
“We changed it in time for heat two and made a great start to go all the way round the first corner from the outside of the grid and into second place. I really felt we had the pace to challenge for the heat win and a quick time, but on lap two we had a wastegate failure resulting in loss of power, so actually I was quite happy to still finish second. With the level of competition here you need two 100% finishes to keep you in the hunt for a semi final place, but I’m not giving up, it’s a tall order I know, but I’ll fight to the end.
“As a team it’s disappointing after the showing in Lohéac, to be where we are, as I believe we both have the potential to reach the semi finals. Having reviewed the in-car from Ramona’s car, and seeing external images, I respect the stewards decision, but can see that there was contact to the rear of Ramona’s car which caused oversteer and closed the gap to Theuil’s car, which ultimately resulted in the contact.”
Ramona Karlsson, driver Albatec Racing #47 :
“In the opening heat I was a little disappointed with my driving, I was driving too hard too quickly and lost time at the exit of the corners, simply overdriving. In the second I was a lot better, although I had low revs at the start, which cost me time, but after that I was much happier. Unfortunately the contact with Theuil, which in my opinion was purely a racing incident, was adjudged to have been too aggressive but of course I respect the stewards decision.
“The competition here is tough, there is no place for even the smallest error, and you need the perfect lap every lap. The car is great, I’m feeling more and more at home in it, and every adjustment we make is going in the right direction. So today is another day and we will continue the fight.”