Villeneuve Joins Albatec For FIA Rallycross
DUMFRIES, Scotland – Former Formula One champion, IndyCar Series champion and Indianapolis 500 winner Jacques Villeneuve will join Dumfries-based Albatec Racing for the 2014 FIA World Rallycross Championship.
The French-Canadian will drive one of the team’s 600bhp two-litre, 16v Peugeot 208s in the 12-round series, which starts in Portugal in May.
Villeneuve is the only active racing driver to have won the Indycar Series championship (1995), the Indianapolis 500 (1995) and the Formula One World Championship (1997), and remains the only Canadian to claim the Indianapolis 500 or the F-1 Drivers’ titles. He will join the team that ran World Rally Championship star Kris Meeke in the series’ flagship event in Lohéac, France last year. Although the first F1 star to race in RallycrossRX, Villeneuve will not be the first to drive with Albatec – he follows Mika Salo who tested for the team in a private session in Finland.
Villeneuve’s vast experience across single-seaters, NASCAR, and sports-cars proved a huge advantage during a recent two-day test at Dreux in France, where he posted competitive lap times from the outset. His Andros Trophy expertise is also likely to be an asset when he lines up alongside the RX series regulars for the opening round at Montalegre over the weekend of May 3-4, while later in the year, his home fans will get to see him in action at Trois-Rivières, in Quebec.
“I am really looking forward to entering the rallycross arena with Albatec Racing,” Villeneuve said. “With my previous ice-racing experience, I’m excited about driving sideways in a 600bhp, four-wheel-drive Peugeot 208 over the combination of loose and tarmac surfaces, not to mention the jumps. With the added incentive of it being an FIA World Championship, the opportunity was really too good to miss.”
Since coming into rallycross last season, the fledgling Albatec Racing team has notched up numerous heat wins across British and European competition, and secured a dominant overall Supercar victory in its last race of the year, the final round of the British Rallycross Championship at Croft. Now the pairing of Villeneuve, alongside Team Principal Andy Scott, 2011 British Rallycross Vice-Champion, brings the team high hopes of delivering some strong results amongst a class field of the best rallycross racers in the world.
“I am delighted to welcome Jacques to the Albatec Racing team,” said Albatec Racing Team Principal Andy Scott. “He brings with him a wealth of experience, and an outstanding pedigree across all disciplines. He is renowned for his technical excellence and ability to drive any car to its limit and I am very excited to see how he settles into the 600bhp Peugeot 208, during his debut year in rallycross.”
Rallycross is currently the fastest growing form of motorsport in the world and RallycrossRX is the only FIA sanctioned Rallycross Championship. The ultimate motorsport battle, each RX event is centred on a series of short, sharp all-action races, over a mixed circuit of asphalt and loose gravel, with the most elite category Supercars boasting twice the power of World Rally Championship cars, and accelerating faster than a Formula One car, delivering 0-60mph in less than two seconds.