Estering, Germany — Sunday 21 September, 2014: It was a case of all or nothing for Albatec Racing in round nine of the FIA World Rallycross Championship presented by Monster Energy at Estering today. After yesterday’s dramas, which left Andy Scott and Ramona Karlsson outside the crucial top 12 after two heats, it was always going to be a tall order to progress through the ranks, but that didn’t stop them powering their Peugeot 208s to first and second places around the 1.1km track near Buxtehude.
Renowned as one of the most challenging tracks on the schedule, World RX of Germany didn’t disappoint in the drama stakes either, with both drivers forced out with crash-sustained damage – Andy suffering with a broken suspension arm and anti-roll bar when he was punted off into the barrier, while Ramona took a hit in her final race which broke the steering on her Swedol-backed 208, and saw her off into the gravel.
The day had started off promising, with some major changes to both cars overnight, which left the 2011 British Rallycross Vice-Champion and former Swedish rally ace confident ahead of the final two qualifying heats. A gutsy drive by Ramona in the day’s opening Supercar race saw her overcome a first corner hit from Jos Jansen to finish second, as she got to grips with her new mount.
For the Lochfoot-based Team Principal Andy, his first race saw him start from the pole spot, but contact on the opening lap, saw the MacDuff-backed 208 pitched off into the barrier, causing extensive damage and instant retirement. A great job by the team to repair Andy’s car allowed him to take up his place on the pole for the final heat, and a solid run to victory was his reward.
But there was disappointment for Ramona who overcame a slow start to get into the battle up front, before contact with another car broke her steering and left her beached in the sand trap at turn two. All in all it was a weekend of mixed emotions for the Scottish team, which now heads to round ten of the series, at Franciacorta, Italy next weekend looking for a return to semi final pace.
Andy Scott, Team Principal and driver Albatec Racing #26 :
“I’m very disappointed not to have had a better result here after a great run of semi final places and in particular a strong result last time out in Loheac. We had a good test after France, and a short run in Knockhill earlier in the week and we came here full of optimism. However we always knew this track is among the most destructive, with the first corner able to make or break a race.
“After the heats yesterday, we knew our chances of progressing were effectively over, but I fully believe both cars had the potential to be among the front – it was a combination of factors that mean we weren’t able to achieve our objective of reaching the semi finals. Today we had no chance but to go for it and although it’s always nice to end the day with a victory, we lacked the outright pace to allow us to progress.
“Ramona showed incredible speed and ability in her first competitive run in the car, and I was impressed with how quickly she jelled with the team, so it’s frustrating for her too not to be able to get a good finish among this incredibly competitive field.”
Ramona Karlsson, driver Albatec Racing #47 :
“I made a great start from the outside of the grid in the opening heat, but took a hit into the first corner which dropped me down. The track was incredibly slippery and it was easy to over drive it, particularly at the exit of turn eight, so I had to be very careful. It was great fun though and I went into the final heat looking for another good race.
“I didn’t get the best start, dropping a few places, but then took a hit on lap two which broke the steering. Coming into turn two I just couldn’t steer and went off into the gravel, out on the spot. It was a disappointing end to the day, as I desperately wanted to reach the semi finals this weekend, but that’s rallycross. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed driving the car and working with the entire team, it’s the most fun I’ve had for a long time.”