Villeneuve tests Albatec carposted in MSPOR24 | 02 | 2014

    SCOTS TEAM ALBATEC RACING completed its first test as it targets the FIA World Rallycross Championship in the hands of former Formula 1 world champ, Jacques Villeneuve (see more photographs of Jacques Villeneuve testing with Albatec Racing).

    The 42-year-old French-Canadian, who won the F1 crown in 1997 with Williams, put his new flame-spitting Peugeot 208 Supercar through its paces at Lydden Hill in Kent.

    “It's vital Jacques gets as much track time as possible, on different circuits, to help him acclimatise to a world rallycross car,” Andy Scott, team principal at Dumfries-based Albatec Racing, said today.

    “We chose Lydden Hill, the home of rallycross in the UK, as it's the perfect circuit for this, providing a good mixture of challenges, requiring very fast and precise lines and braking points.

    “It was also good for him to drive on a rallycross circuit that’s on the world championship schedule, as it gives him the chance to experience the whole atmosphere of racing in an amphitheatre circuit.

    “As expected, he was immediately fast and just got quicker and quicker as the day progressed.”

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    Villeneuve — also a past winner of America's Blue Riband race, the Indianapolis 500 — completed 10 four-lap runs at the track, which will, host the second round of the world championship on May 24/25.

    The team suffered one minor technical problem with the new car's power-steering, but the crew quickly eradicated the gremlins and the remainder of the test ran smoothly.

    "To be honest, it's great to finally drive on a proper world championship rallycross track with a combination of asphalt and gravel," Villeneuve said. "Lydden Hill is great, a real fun track.

    "It's been a fun experience working with the team. Andy stands out because of his passion for the sport.

    "You don't do rallycross because of the jet set: you do it because of the racing, so now I'm really looking forward to going head-to-head with the other drivers at the first round in Portugal."

    The opening round of the 12-round championship takes place in Portugal on May 3/4, before visiting a number of countries, including Norway, Finland, France, Germany, Canada, Italy and finally, Argentina on November 22/23.

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    Jim McGill

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