|Albatec geared up for Euro RX opener in Barcelona|
Albatec Racing is geared up for the opening round of the FIA European Rallycross Championship, which kicks off with World RX of Barcelona this weekend (April 1/2).
A trio of 600bhp two-litre 16v Peugeot 208 RX Supercars from the Albatec stable are en route to Spain for the first of five Euro RX races.
Returning to the wheel of his race-winning #24 HTB Racing Peugeot 208 is 2015 Euro RX champion Tommy Rustad, who overcame a dramatic roll to finish second in Spain last year. Winner of the final race of 2016 in Latvia, the multi-talented Norwegian has a season in the Peugeot driving seat and heads to the opening round with plenty of experience under his belt and more determined than ever to retake his crown.
Series newcomer Jere Kalliokoski embarks on his first season with the Dumfries team, and his first in Euro RX aboard the #14 SMA Peugeot 208. The 19 year-old joins Tommy as a permanent Euro RX Supercar driver amid a staggering 32 car field in Spain. The Finn has just won the Finnish Ice driving championship, to add to his Finnish Rallycross title secured last season, and is targeting a solid points haul on his series debut.
Making a guest appearance in Euro RX with Albatec this weekend is Philippe Maloigne. A regular front runner in last season’s French Rallycross Championship, the SamShield-backed racer steered his #21 208 to two wins and several fastest outright laps. A one-off outing in Lohéac last year showed the former motocross rider’s potential and this weekend the Frenchman is keen to convert that into a strong result.
The team has an eclectic mix of youth and experience for 2017, and team boss Andy Scott is undeniably enthusiastic following a successful test programme which concluded in France. Track activity commences on Saturday (1 April), with open practice from 09.00. Qualifying 1 starts at 12.00, with Q2 at 14.30. Sunday resumes with warm-up at 08.30, followed by Q3 and Q4 from 10.00, the semi final at 13.45 and Final at 15.00.
Andy Scott, Team Principal Albatec Racing:
“I am very excited about this weekend, it will be good to see how the three drivers work together and I’m optimistic that the work we’ve done over the winter, together with the level of talent we have across Tommy, Jere and Philippe will allow us to come away with a good points haul.
“In Tommy we have one of the most experienced Euro RX racers out there, with a proven track record and multiple wins to his credit, and now a full season under his belt with Albatec, so we’re confident he can deliver the goods. Although only 19 years-old, Jere has proved himself in Supercars, and while new to Euro RX competition, his testing performance has been good, so it will be interesting to see how he fares against the competition. Philippe showed his potential last year in France, his first full season in Supercars, and proved to be consistently quick so I expect a strong showing from him in Spain.”
Tommy Rustad, Driver Albatec Racing #24:
“We had a good week of testing in variable weather conditions, all of which allowed us to find a good balance for what is theoretically a brand new car. We set some good, consistent lap times so I’m feeling confident as we head into the start of the season.
“The team again worked very well together and I believe we have a good combination across the drivers. Jere is very young so it will be a learning process for him, while both myself and Philippe have a season in the car behind us so we take that knowledge into 2017. Barcelona is a track I like very much and despite the roll last season, the team worked hard to get us back on track to finish second. So this year the target will be very much on reaching the final and hopefully securing at least another podium.”
Jere Kalliokoski, Driver Albatec Racing #14:
“I’m very excited to start my season with Albatec this weekend. I won the Finnish Ice Driving Championship title recently in Supercars, which was the perfect start to the season. Testing in France last week went very well, as I get more seat time I got more familiar with the car and have been able to find a good set-up for Barcelona.
“I am eager to start the season, although I know it will be a tough battle across 32 Euro RX Supercars. The line-up is stronger than ever so my goal is to have a solid start, collect some good points and try to avoid any dramas.”
Philippe Maloigne, Driver Albatec Racing #21:
“I’m very much looking forward to getting back on track this weekend, and very excited to be racing in Spain. We had a good test in France last week, we’ve made some good progress and now it will be good to see how that transfers into the race weekend.
“The Euro RX entry is incredibly strong this year, with a lot of very experienced racers, however I’m confident that I have made the necessary preparations, along with the team in their further development of the Peugeot 208 to allow us to come away with a good result.”
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