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Albatec Racing Faces Hungary Challenge
Posted by: newsla on May 26, 2013 - 06:57 AM
WRC Rally News 2010
Albatec Racing Faces Hungary Challenge

Albatec Racing headed to the Nyirád Motorsport Centre, Hungary this weekend with high expectations of a strong finish in the third round of the FIA European Rallycross Championship. Fielding two Peugeot 208s for Team Principal Andy Scott and Belgian Michaël De Keersmaecker, the team had to overcome many challenges at the circuit, which is renowned as one of the best on the 2013 RallycrossRX calendar.


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For Scott, the weekend marked his track debut, the former MSA British Rallycross Vice-Champion having his first ever run around the 1.2 km circuit in free practice this morning, and winding up 12th quickest. For De Keersmaecker, Nyirád is among his favourite circuits, but practice did not allow the former Super 1600 and Touring Car European Champion to show his true potential.

Lining up together for the first heat, Scott and De Keersmaecker joined Anton Marklund, Andreas Bakkerud and Jos Jansen, starting from pole position. At the lights Jansen made a slow start, as De Keersmaecker rocketed away into the lead. Alongside him, Scott struggled to get away cleanly, and was placed fourth into the first corner. As the leaders entered the long straight for the first time, De Keersmaecker struggled with understeer, allowing Marklund to pass him on the inside of the second corner, dropping De Keersmaecker to second. Rejoining the track after his joker lap still in second he narrowly missed retaking the place, and was consequently passed by Bakkerud, eventually finishing third ahead of Scott.

The second heat proved dramatic from the start. A superb getaway from both Albatec drivers saw the five-car field approach the first corner line astern. As they entered turn one, De Keersmaecker slotted into second place behind Stig-Olov Walfridson, however Scott on the outside, was involved in a three-way collision with Bakkerud and Peter Hedstrom, the trio all pitched into the barrier.

With heavy front-end damage sustained by his Peugeot 208, Scott’s race was over, and with three cars stranded on the track, the race was red-flagged after three laps. At the two-car restart it was De Keersmaecker, lining up second, who made best start to get the jump on Walfridson as they entered turn one. Before the completion of the opening lap, De Keersmaecker was suddenly the only car circulating, with Walfridson off the track, after hitting the wall.

The following lap the JDK-backed car picked up a puncture in the gravel but, determined to keep a good pace over the remaining two laps, De Keersmaecker pushed on to take the win, and keep alive his hopes of progressing to the semi-finals.

The third and fourth heats get underway tomorrow at 10.30, following morning warm-up at 09.00. The two semi finals are scheduled to start at 14.00, with the final at 15.00.

Andy Scott, Albatec Racing Driver car #26:

“The circuit is fantastic, it’s very challenging, technical, and fast. I feel personally I have a lot more speed to come on the circuit once I get to know it better. I wasn’t expecting to be last going into the first corner that’s for sure, but I missed the start, I just didn’t react to the lights quick enough, and as we learnt later, that first corner is pretty unforgiving. I just had to fall into line into the first corner and after that, dust was a big issue. Not knowing the circuit very well and with poor vision, I didn’t push too hard.

“In the second race I made a brilliant start but unfortunately the cars behind tangled, and took me out. There was a lot of damage to the car, so the boys will have a lot of work to do tonight to get the car ready for tomorrow. Hopefully we can get a better outcome then.”

Albatec Racing Driver, Michaël De Keersmaecker #9:

“In heat one we got a very good start, I was already in the front, but then we had a lot of understeer and Marklund passed me inside the second corner. I went into the joker lap and came out side by side with Bakkerud but he was on the inside and got second place. It wasn’t so bad but the time wasn’t good. I think we had the same problem again just not enough speed. The speed is there at the start, we have a lot of grip, but just not the same feeling after the corners.

“In the second heat I didn’t make a perfect start with too much wheelspin, Andy made a good one and was on the outside but Bakkerud moved across and into Hedstrom and then Andy. It was a big accident and in my opinion the race should have been red-flagged earlier, not only on the third lap. But at the restart I made a good start, and Walfridson was close behind me, I went to see him after the race and he asked why I wasn’t using full throttle - all he could see was Peugeot, not the wall and off he went. I picked up a puncture the next lap, but still I had to go for it, as the time is important for the overall points and the chance to make it to the final. We are just in at the moment, in 12th place, aside from the power the car is perfect, if we had good speed after the corners then fourth or fifth would have been possible.

Marc Laboulle, Albatec Racing Team Manager:

“We came to Hungary with a lot of big objectives because we believe we have the potential. We had two very different strategies, as Michael knows the track well and enjoys it, while for Andy it was his first time. We were unlucky with the draw having both drivers in the same heat."

“I’m very happy with both driver’s pace today, but it’s unfortunate that they didn’t get the results they deserve. We have a lot of work to do tonight to repair Andy’s car in time for tomorrow’s warm-up, but I’m confident the team will do a good job and as we know a lot of different drivers have problems, so we hope to make it to the semi finals.”

PaddockTalk Perspective

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