Albatec NCME and Mark Higgins Victorious in only Second Rallycross Outing

Dumfries and Galloway based Albatec Racing NCME and Mark Higgins took a commanding victory in the second round of the British Rallycross Championship at Lydden Hill, Kent today (2 April). The triple British Rally Champion put his extensive rally experience to good use, to overcome difficult track conditions in the six-lap final and steer the #34 Eddie Stobart NCME supported Peugeot 208 RX Supercar to a three second advantage.

For Mark, the morning started with free practice, which saw him happy with the set-up of his car. Lining up fourth for his first qualifying heat, a fantastic start saw Mark up to second into the first corner where he slotted in behind multiple British champion Julian Godfrey. Mark wasted no time in declaring his intentions however, with a masterful move on the run up to the hairpin putting him in the lead. Over the remaining laps, Mark held a comfortable advantage, however a misjudged joker on the last lap pitched him into the barrier. He recovered to finish third, with the second fastest lap, and the sixth fastest overall time.

The second qualifying race saw another consistent performance from the Manxman. He was fourth into turn one after starting at the back row and moved into third with a superb move at Devil’s Elbow before taking his joker on lap two. He rejoined in fourth but over the remaining lap and a half was stuck behind slower cars. At the finish he crossed the line third, and after the combined qualifying was placed third overall.

In Q3 Mark again started fourth, and at the lights powered away into the lead at the first corner. A faultless display followed, as he took the race win, and with it a scintillating pace that netted the fastest individual race lap which ultimately secured him the heat victory.

The result meant he lined up on pole position for his semi-final, and another superb start quickly gave him a commanding lead. Taking his joker on lap three, Mark retained the advantage, and fought off a last lap challenge from Liam Doran to take the win, and with it pole for the Final.

As the cars headed to the pre-grid for the all-important Final, the weather conditions took a turn for the worse. However even the heavy rain couldn’t dampen the mood, with Mark making the best use of his 600bhp to make the perfect start and take the immediate lead. Despite receiving a hefty whack from Doran on the first lap, Mark was never headed, and he went on to record his first outright rallycross win on only his second outing.

Mark Higgins, Albatec Racing driver #34:

“It was a great end to a fantastic event at Lydden. It didn’t start too well with my error in Q1, which I really should have won. But we clawed our way back up though through the heats and semi final. Starting from pole for the final was obviously a massive help especially in these conditions and we just had to keep it clean. We had a moment on the second lap when there was contact with Liam. I always knew he would be the biggest threat here and it’s a shame he had his problem. After his retirement we were able to control our pace to the finish. It’s great to win at Lydden, and actually just to get to race here in rallycross for the first time. I’d like to thank the entire team for all their hard work and for providing a fantastic car all weekend.”

Andy Scott, Team Principal and driver Albatec Racing:

“What a fantastic job by Mark, I’m sure he’s got the rallycross bug now, and we’re looking forward to more success. This result sort of makes up for the fact that I wasn’t driving today, but I’m really disappointed because we said we’d be looking for a 1-2 here and I really believed that was possible.
“I think the students have had a great weekend, with plenty of hands-on experience and opportunities. It’s great for them to be able to work on a car and see it win. We’re all really looking forward to Croft now, where we will be back to two cars.”

Dr. Mark Busfield, Director, National Centre for Motorsport Engineering:

It’s been an excellent day although we’re naturally all very disappointed that Andy wasn’t able to race today. As a result, he resumed the role of Team Principal and steered the team to a great result for which we must thank him. Mark drove solidly all day and improved heat after heat, from the semi-final through to the Final he just didn’t put a wheel wrong. It was an impressive performance on only his second race in rallycross and he didn’t succumb to the pressure.
“The team has worked really well, I think it’s excellent for our second time out as a collaboration and it’s the best result we could have wished for. The students had a real hands-on experience today and I’m certain they enjoyed the success as much as we did.”


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