Kouvola, Finland — Sunday 29 June, 2014: For the second successive event Albatec Racing’s chances of progressing to the FIA World Rallycross Championship finals were scuppered by a puncture, after Jacques Villeneuve’s Peugeot 208 sustained first lap damage in heat four of World RX of Finland today. The former F1 World Champion made contact with Alexander Hvaal at turn two, and the result was a front right puncture on his 600bhp two litre 16v Supercar, which cost him around two seconds a lap and prevented him from challenging for heat victory.
The 1995 Indycar World Series Champion’s hopes of reaching his first semi-final were dented by an earlier incident, but this time involving Timmy Hansen’s Peugeot which barrel-rolled in heat three causing a re-run which subsequently knocked Jacques out of the top 12. On actual race times Jacques’ performance, in which he finished third, would have seen him maintain a qualifying position, however notional times were awarded to the race five finishers, dropping Jacques to P15 and losing him a pole start for his final heat.
The poor start position for his final qualifying race meant he was unable to get a clean run into the first corner, and consequently collided with Hvaal, bringing his third World RX outing to a premature finish. Jacques will be back in action in round five of the 12-round series in Höljes, Sweden next weekend, joining Team Principal Andy Scott who returns to race action aboard the #26 Albatec Peugeot 208.
Andy Scott, Albatec Team Principal:
“There have been a lot of different decisions made today which ended up affecting our grid position for heat four. Jacques lined up on position five which hasn’t been a quick starting spot all weekend, and didn’t manage to take a good start and had a little contact at the second corner, which resulted in him getting a puncture.
“He managed to bring the car home, but obviously not quick enough to make the semi finals which rounded off a disappointing weekend for Albatec. On a positive note the car ran faultlessly all weekend, with no issues, so that bodes well for the next round in Höljes this weekend, where we are determined to once again make the cut and qualify into the semis at least.”
Jacques Villeneuve, Albatec Racing Driver #25:
“It’s been a very disappointing second day in Finland. I started from the outside of the grid for heat one and it didn’t go too well, and in the second I managed to get a few good corners racing in the wet but then had a puncture and the tyre came off the rim, which means we finished early.
“Looking ahead to the next round though I’m hoping to capitalise on the undoubted pace of the car, and to convert that into some good results and push for a semi final and final place in Sweden.”