Albatec Racing secured double victory at Lydden Hill yesterday taking both Supercar and RX150 spoils in the MSA British Rallycross Championship, in association with the Shannon Group. Team Principal Andy Scott powered his Peugeot 208RX to its second consecutive victory to extend his championship lead, while son Marc notched up a convincing win in his buggy to get his bid for a third successive crown firmly back on track.
2011 Vice-Champion Andy ranks the Kent track among his favourites and after setting a cracking pace in timed practice continued a consistent pace across the three heats to easily progress to the front row for the all-important final. After three aborted starts, the race finally got underway and saw Andy take a close-fought victory ahead of four-time British RX champion Julian Godfrey.
Double and reigning RX150 champion Marc bounced back to form in fine style after a gearbox issue hampered his chances in the opening round at Croft. With his new-for-2015 buggy prepped and ready for action, the Lochmaben racer got his championship bid off to the best possible start, with three race wins and a consistent overall pace placing him in the middle of the front row, from where he went on to record a lights to flag victory.
Round two of the eight-round series saw Mark Flaherty make his Albatec debut at the wheel of his 600bhp Supercar, after missing the opening event due to clashing commitments. The Reading racer, returning after 20 years away from full time rallycross action, quickly established himself as a front-runner, and easily qualified to the final but was twice punted off, finally into retirement.
While the event signalled the return of the Dumfries team’s winning ways at the Kent track, it marked a new departure for Murray Coulthard, the nephew of former F1 driver and BBC co-commentator, David, who joined the team aboard Marc’s championship winning RX150. Murray took time out of his Scottish Tarmac Rally Championship class-winning campaign last year to test with Albatec at Knockhill, but suffered extensive suspension damage in his first heat today, which consequently ended his progress.
The team now returns to its Dumfries base to rebuild the Albatec Peugeot 208s in preparation for a test with its two FIA European Rallycross Championship drivers Jérôme Grosset-Janin and James Grint, before returning to race action in the third round of BRX, at Pembrey, North Wales on Sunday 10 May.
Andy Scott, Team Principal and driver Albatec Racing: “Well that was a hard day, more so than at Croft, as we came away with quite a bit of damage to mine and Mark’s car. There was carnage across the races, and I was pretty lucky that Julian had his problem, as I suffered broken power steering after taking a hit in the first start, but hey we’ll take a win anywhere we can.
“The final was tough, particularly with ten cars, it was too many really, but I think they were concerned about getting through the race in time. Hopefully we won’t suffer as much damage in the next round and we can continue to extend our championship lead.”
Mark Flaherty, driver Albatec Racing: “Well it wasn’t the end to the day I wanted, but I’m pleased to have got through to the final ahead of some pretty quick drivers. The car was great, the team did a fantastic job, super professional, and I can’t fault them. I was feeling confident of a good result, it was just unfortunate that I was hit and the car was too damaged to continue.
“I think we improved throughout the day as I got more used to the transverse car, which naturally handles differently from the in-line car I’m used to, but there were no reliability issues, so I’m really looking forward to getting back into the car for the next round where hopefully we can get a better result.”
Marc Scott, driver Albatec Racing: “It’s great to be back at the front and suffer no problems, I hardly needed to do a thing to the buggy all day. It’s a completely different animal to the old one, Ollie’s done a great job there.
“The field is a lot more competitive this year and although it may have looked easy, it certainly wasn’t. I’ve moved up the points a few places I think, so we just need to continue that going into the next round to build on the weekend and get my championship hopes back on track."
Murray Coulthard, driver Albatec Racing: “I really enjoyed the experience and would love to have another go, it certainly keeps you on your toes and is a great sport to be involved in. It is pretty much as I expected and although I’m more used to rally stages, I found the nature of rallycross really exciting. I just would have liked to have had more running rather than taking the heavy hit in the first heat.”