Tuesday, August 27, 2013
Kris Meeke and Andy Scott Ready for the Battle at Loheác
Dumfries, Scotland — Monday 26 August 2013; Albatec Racing is preparing for the most important event of the year, the Rallycross De Lohéac in Brittany, over the weekend of August 31/September 1. The fledgling team, headed by Team Principal and lead driver Andy Scott, will be joined by World Rally Championship driver Kris Meeke, the duo piloting a pair of two-litre, 16 valve Peugeot 208s at arguably the best-attended event on the 2013 schedule.
The tiny village of Loheác located 30km south of Rennes, is home to around 700 inhabitants, and will play host to round seven of the FIA European Rallycross Championship, with an anticipated 60,000 spectators descending on the 1.1km Circuit de Lohéac. Included on the FIA European Rallycross Championship calendar for the first time since 2001, Rallycross de Lohéac will pitch the biggest names in rallycross head-to-head with a number of rallying’s leading lights amid close-fought, doorhandle-to-doorhandle race action.
Joining former MSA British Rallycross Vice-Champion Scott and 2009 IRC Champion Meeke will be nine-time world rally champion Sébastien Loeb, 2003 world rally champion Petter Solberg, nine-time X Games medallist and double RallycrossRX winner Tanner Foust, and reigning European Rallycross Champion Timur Timerzyanov, amongst others.
The three-day event sees a return to race action for the Albatec Racing team following an eight-week summer break in the RX calendar. In the last round in Holjës, the new Peugeot 208 once again proved its potential, demonstrating a strong pace in both practice and warm-up, and netting heat victory for Scott.
No stranger to the Lohéac podium, the Dumfries-based Scotsman made a successful first-time appearance last year, securing double heat wins and the B Final honours at the French classic, while also performing several demonstration runs aboard his own Peugeot 306 Supercar in front of the enthusiastic and supportive crowd. For Meeke, next weekend’s debut appearance in an RX Supercar comes fresh from a stunning performance on Rally Finland, where he ran consistently in the top five until the penultimate stage, and ahead of his next WRC outing on Rally Australia in mid September.
While for Albatec Racing, the event is undoubtedly it’s ‘home’ event. The 600bhp Supercars are built and prepared in France, with team manager Marc Laboulle, himself a successful rallycross racer, already holding a strong pedigree at the Lohéac track. After a successful test at Lohéac last month, where both Scott and Meeke completed several runs during the team’s on-going development programme, expectations are high of a strong result in what promises to be the most competitive race of the season.
Practice for the event gets underway from 12.00 on Saturday, with the first of two heats at 14.30. Warm-up on Sunday takes place at 08.30, with the remaining two heats starting at 10.00, two semi-finals from 13.50 and all-important finals from 15.20. Tickets for the event, and further details can be found at http://www.weezevent.com/rallycross-de-loheac-fia-european-rallycross-championship-round-7
Andy Scott, Team Principal and driver Albatec Racing #26 :
“Personally I’m very excited about returning to Lohéac as I had such a great result last year. The circuit isn’t so technical or challenging, but the whole atmosphere and the spectators’ enthusiasm are without question the things that set it apart from the rest. The big names coming in to the event will also make it very competitive, and with some of the top drivers from rallying joining in, it expect it to be the toughest event of the year.
“The Peugeot 208 is undoubtedly more advanced now, and our test in Lohéac went very well, with our technical partners working hard to give us the most competitive car possible.
“And having Kris on board has lifted the morale of the team. He will I’m sure give us a great boost – maybe he’s the magic ingredient! With heat wins already behind us, and a particularly strong pace in the last round in Sweden, I will certainly be expecting to reach the semi-finals in France and like everybody in the team, we will do everything possible to make that happen.”
Kris Meeke, driver Albatec Racing #27 :
“I can’t wait. Obviously a lot has happened for me in between but it’s all been good. I’ve had a good competitive run on Rally Finland and some tests so for sure I hope to be really sharp when I arrive in Loheác. I’ve been speaking a lot with the team finalising all the preparations, not only with the car, but in rallycross the communication between the driver and engineer is important. Everything is new to me but I can’t wait, it’s going to be an exciting time, I think the atmosphere is already starting to build.
“The highlight is without doubt going to be the adrenaline when you’re sitting on the grid with four or five cars with 600bhp all gunning for the first corner. It’s definitely going to be important to remain calm and focus on what we learnt at the test and try and do a good consistent job throughout the weekend.
“I was really happy with the car, and happy with the team, and I’m as prepared as anyone can be for their first race. But these guys who race week in week out have a lot of experience in a race situation, racing with the other guys offers a different dimension. I think we have a good car and good speed to set quick lap times but in the races you need to be clever and it remains to be seen if we can convert that to results.”
Marc Laboulle, Team Manager Albatec Racing :
“I’m sure we will have the most amazing event in Lohéac for many reasons. The organisers have put on a superb rallycross event for more than 35 years and it’s always been a good race with many spectators. The new IMG-promoted RallycrossRX has brought in a lot of superstar drivers into the field, which will make this year’s race extra special.
“For Albatec we’re back to running two cars which is important for the team, and after the strong test we had in July, we feel we have a good set-up, the lap times were good for both Andy and Kris, and now we have two drivers who have the determination and ability to do well. We know the track very well and it was important to have the opportunity to prepare for a race like this with four days there, as this is really our home track, and will I’m sure be the biggest event of the year for us.
”The spirit in the team is good, the motivation is high and the determination is stronger than ever.”
Posted by Rally World News at Tuesday, August 27, 2013