Albatec Racing will field three Peugeot 208 RX Supercars in round four of the FIA European Rallycross Championship at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya this weekend (17&18 September). Fresh from his 12th place finish in World RX of France, Andy Scott joins reigning champion, HTB Racing’s Tommy Rustad, and vice-champion Jérôme Grosset-Janin, who returns to his Poujoulat-backed motor for the first time since Sweden in July.
In the last round of Euro RX at Höljes, all three were comfortably in the top 12 throughout the four qualifying races, but a combination of difficult weather conditions and heavy contact meant only Tommy progressed to the Final, where he took a podium finish. Jérôme just missed on the final podium spot in his semi-final, while Andy dramatically rolled out of his following contact with Tommy.
Barcelona RX holds mixed emotions for the 2015 Euro RX protagonists; last year Tommy won the Final after a well-timed joker, but was excluded at post-race scrutineering when his car was deemed to be in breach of the regulations concerning driver aids. Jérôme was consistently fast too, winning two of the four qualifiers, and finishing second in another, but sustained broken rear suspension in the Final which left a massive dent in his championship bid.
This year’s race marks a first for Team Principal Andy, after guiding the team to a promising outing last year, he makes his first race appearance around the 1.133km track. Featuring an uphill start, a jump in the gravel section and grip levels similar to Lohéac, indications are that it will suit the Lochfoot multiple race winner and his Motis/Rock Oil-backed Peugeot 208 RX Supercar.
The draw for the grid for the first qualifying race gets underway at 16.00 on Friday. Track action begins on Saturday with open practice at 09:30-11.30 with the first of four qualifying races from 12:00 and the second from 15:15. Sunday sees warm-up at 09:15, followed by qualifying three and four at 10:00 and 12:25 before the semi-finals and Final from 14:00. All times CEST.
Andy Scott, Team Principal and driver Albatec Racing #26 :
“Barcelona is a new track for me as a driver and I’m looking forward to the challenge of racing there. It’s not a very forgiving circuit; last year a lot of cars suffered damage, including ours, so it will be important to drive clean and tidy to get good, consistent results.
“Jérôme had a very strong pace across the weekend last year, including the third fastest Supercar time in Q3, and Tommy crossed the line first in the Final, so there’s no doubting their potential on the track. That, together with my result in France last weekend means we head to Spain optimistic of coming away with a strong team result.”
Tommy Rustad, driver Albatec Racing #24 :
“I’m really looking forward to returning to Barcelona, it’s a track I like very much and one which suits me very well. I’ve raced in Barcelona many times in different formulae and it’s a special place for me. The first and second corner are fast, and the chicane is tight, and there’s no room for mistakes as the concrete walls are close to the track particularly in the last section.
“Last year wasn’t the best event for me result wise after the exclusion, but I’d say it was probably my best ever race, with good pace throughout the week, and a perfectly timed joker in the final. I think this year’s event will be more challenging as the forecast is for rain, which may make the gravel section more slippery, but I’m looking forward to the event.”
Jérôme Grosset-Janin, driver Albatec Racing #74 :
“I’m looking forward to returning to race in Barcelona, the organisers did a great job last year with a brand new track, which has a good combination of technical elements and very specific areas including fast corners, tight chicanes and the jump.
“Last year didn’t go according to plan, however this is a new year and we’ll approach it like any other weekend, with optimism and confidence. It’s been two months since I last raced, but the team has displayed some fast pace in the French, British and World RX events, so I’m confident that we can be challenging for race victory in Spain.”