Croft, North Yorkshire (UK) — 8 May 2018: Albatec Racing cemented its position as a serious title contender with a solid performance at Croft on Sunday (6 May). The Peugeot 208 RX duo of Mark Higgins and Andy Scott finished second and third in a dramatic Toyo Tires MSA British Rallycross Championship finale, with Higgins leaving Yorkshire with a four-point advantage at the top of the tables.
Double British vice-champion Scott showed scintillating pace in practice, powering his Motis/Rock Oil/Teng Tools-supported 208 to the top of the time sheets. Triple British Rally Champion and Lydden Hill winner Higgins was next up, in the Eddie Stobart partnering NCME-backed #34 car.
Albatec Team Principal Scott capitalised on pole position in the first qualifying race, storming away at the lights and gradually pulling away from his rivals to record his first British RX heat win since his last domestic series appearance in 2015. Scott went on to secure back-to-back heat victories but was denied the triple when a launch control issue off the line dropped him down the order in Q3. His solid performance across the opening two heats however, kept him top of the overall leader board ahead of the all-important final.
Rallycross newcomer Higgins was drawn fifth for the opening race, lining up alongside five-time champion Julian Godfrey on row two. A good start put him fourth but on a dusty dry circuit, poor visibility, coupled with the intermittent turbo issue, prevented him from advancing. Despite that, a solid drive netted the second fastest lap of the race, while fourth place kept his chances of claiming a solid points haul very much on track.
Despite the best efforts of the mechanics, the turbo issue could not be resolved in time for Higgins to take the Q2 start, forcing him to watch from the sidelines. In the third and final race, a great start at the lights saw him rocket away and into second behind Ollie O’Donovan, the pair running nose-to-tail for much of the race.
The results across the three heats, earnt pole position for Scott, and fifth for Higgins for the six-lap final. A good start by both saw them immediately in the mix, Scott running second into turn one, and Higgins up to fourth as the field exited the chicane. A collision between Steve Hill and Godfrey before the completion of the first lap brought out the red flag, leaving the Albatec duo to do it all over again.
At the restart, Scott suffered an issue with his launch control which saw him lurch forward before the lights, and which subsequently resulted in him being pushed to the back of the grid. On the third attempt, O’Donovan got the drop on the Albatec duo to lead into turn one, with Higgins following him through, and Scott quickly up to third. For five laps the trio ran nose to tail, Higgins trying everything he could to pass O’Donovan, but despite a last corner, last ditch attempt he crossed the line separated by just six hundredths of a second.
The team returns to race action in the Cooper Tires World RX of Great Britain at Silverstone at the end of May, with the next round of British RX at Pembrey over the weekend of 23 & 24 June.
Mark Higgins, Albatec Racing driver #34:
“It’s been quite a difficult weekend, this was our first tine at the circuit so track time was going to be important. We had some boost issues in practice which we’ve been chasing all day, which cost us some time and meant we missed the second heat. The first start in the final was going really well, we had good strong pace and were up to third but then we had the red flag for Julian’s nasty accident. The second start was also good thankfully, we were following Ollie but just couldn’t find a way past. At the last corner we had a bit of contact which was a shame, however it’s good to be leaving Croft as the championship leader.”
Andy Scott, Team Principal and driver Albatec Racing #126
“The weekend has been very good, fastest in practice and winning the first two heats. But then I had a problem with the launch control at the start of Q3 and the final. Overall though, I’m pleased with my performance and that of the car, I think we’ve demonstrated we still have the pace. Mark had a troubled start but finished well. He had to sit out the second heat with a technical issue but as always, he did some stellar driving and kept his head in a race of attrition to bring the car home in second and with me in third, we were just one place away from our objective. But second and third is a good result, you never know at the end of the season that may count for a lot.”
Dr Mark Busfield, Director, National Centre for Motorsport Engineering:
“It’s been a really interesting day, we’ve had students working on both cars and have had some good results. It’s provided quite an insight for the students, it’s more learning for them and the experience going forward puts us in good stead for our next event, World RX at Silverstone. Because we’ve got real life situations here at the track, they’re seeing that we’re not having to stage things to make it work so from their point of view they’re understanding it more, how the sport works and how little things can make a big difference.”
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