Albatec Peugeots Show Strong Pace in Norway Euro RX

Lankebanen, Hell (Norway) — 11 June 2017: Albatec Racing showcased its Peugeot 208 RX Supercars with a strong performance in round two of the FIA European Rallycross Championship in Norway this weekend.

Former Euro RX champion Tommy Rustad racing at his home event, took three race wins, an overall heat win, and secured victory in his semi-final, while newcomer Jere Kalliokoski achieved his aim of reaching the semi-finals.

Tommy’s bid for honours in front of an enthusiastic home crowd and sponsors, ended after a collision on lap one of the final. Starting from pole Tommy got the best start aboard his HTB Racing Peugeot 208 RX Supercar, to take the lead. Contact with the car of Anton Marklund into turn one however pushed him offline and into the gravel, allowing another car through and dropping Tommy to third.

For two laps Tommy battled on, but on lap three the #24 Peugeot succumbed to suspension damage, leaving Tommy no option but to retire.

The weekend proved a turning point for new signing Jere, who put on a great show in his SMA-backed two litre 16v Supercar. The teenager showed great pace over the weekend on his way to a semi-final qualifying position. For the young Finn in his first season with Albatec and Euro RX, the weekend also marked his first appearance in Hell.

A learning session in practice on Friday, subsequently saw the 18 year-old P16 of the 33-strong field on Saturday morning. To add to the challenge, practice was held in slippery track conditions due to heavy rain.

Jere’s first qualifying race saw him head to head with experienced local driver Peter Hedstrom, who he came close to passing on the last lap. Third in the race left him P14 overall. In Q2 and Q3 Jere didn’t get the best start and as a result was stuck behind a more experienced driver, twice finishing third and putting him 14th in the intermediate standings.

Going into his final qualifying race a superb race win and seventh fastest overall time moved him to 11th and into the semis. In that a good start allowed him to take a position, and he held third for the opening two laps before a collision with Robin Larsson ended his race.

The team returns to race action in round three at Höljes, Sweden in three weeks’ time.

Andy Scott, Team Principal Albatec Racing:

“The team has been working really hard and we had some great speed and improvements, particularly with Jere, who drove some really good races. To qualify for the semis in only his second Euro RX outing is fantastic. Unfortunately, his progress was halted with a small technical issue in the semi-final, otherwise he stood a chance to fight for a place in the final. I’m sure he’s going to be mentally faster and stronger going into Höljes. Jere should leave here with a lot of positives, I’ve certainly seen the potential we saw with him in pre-season testing, so I’m very happy about that.
“Tommy did everything right, just a small mistake in Q4 but still good enough to get pole for the semi. Winning the semi put him on pole for the Final and he made a great start, but took a hit at the first and second corners. I think something had broken on the car as we started to lose positions on the second lap, and ultimately had to retire with rear suspension damage. I thought we were really in with a chance of lifting the victory this weekend. It’s only made us stronger and more confident that we can win in Höljes. A lot of positives from the weekend, it just doesn’t necessarily feel like that at the moment.”

Tommy Rustad, Driver Albatec Racing:

“Saturday was very wet, but we had a good balance with the car although the conditions were difficult. In the first race, I was happy with the win, and speed, in Q2 I was a bit disappointed to end in P4 but could see the conditions were changing across the races and happy to lead overnight. I led Q3 from start to finish, and was second overall which kept me top. In Q4 I didn’t get the best start and was last off the start line, so dropped to second but with pole for my semi-final. I made a perfect start, had a good battle with [Thomas] Bryntesson, but managed to win with a good margin.
“In the final, I made a very good start but at the first corner [Anton] Marklund made a pass, very tough, but no more than I would expect, and in the fight with him I lost a place to [Tamas] Pal Kiss. I could feel there was something wrong with the car, I went to the joker on lap two, and coming out behind [Robin] Larsson in P4 I could feel the rear suspension was broken, so that was it, game over. But the Albatec guys did a brilliant job all weekend, we’ve shown we have the speed to win races, and we’ll be coming back even stronger in Höljes.”

Jere Kalliokoski, Driver Albatec Racing:

“It’s been a challenging weekend, my first time in Hell. Practice was initially dry but then started to rain before the qualification races, so it was difficult particularly on a technical and tricky track. In Q3 I was eighth, and Q2 20th, which put me overnight in 14th so I knew Sunday’s races were important to keep me on track to reach my semi-final target.
“Sunday the conditions were better, and the pace was improved, in Q3 I was 13th, but had a problem on my joker lap. The last qualifying race was crucial. I knew had to beat [Henning] Solberg to reach the semi-finals. It was a great race, I was very happy to beat him and won the race which allowed me to progress. In the semi, I made a pretty good start and was running third but had contact with [Robin] Larsson which ended my race.
“Overall, it’s been a weekend of ups and downs, challenging, but overall very satisfying to reach the semi-finals which was my target. Now we head to Sweden, I’ve been there before for testing, not racing, so looking forward to racing there after a successful weekend in Norway.”


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