Andy Scott was unable to challenge for a repeat of his maiden European Rallycross Championship (ERC) podium at the Eurocircuit Valkenswaard on Sunday after a broken intermediate driveshaft robbed him of a potential second place in the day’s third and final qualifying heat. After an improved pace in Sunday morning’s warm-up, which saw the reigning British Rallycross Vice Champion sixth fastest, Scott headed to the grid for the second of three heats eager to capitalise on the Scott Trawlers-backed Ford Focus ST’s 550bhp in front of the large, enthusiastic Dutch crowd.
Although due to start from the prime spot, two drivers not taking their respective starts meant that the Dumfries fisherman was moved to the centre position for the four-lap race. Despite not getting the best getaway, Scott was immediately in the thick of the action as the field entered turn one, but was hit by another car as they negotiated the fast right-hander.
With a destroyed left front tyre and suspected suspension and steering damage, Scott had no chance of bringing his Tony Bardy Motorsport-prepared motor to the finish.
Lining up third for the last of three heats with his two litre, four-wheel-drive Ford Focus now repaired, Scott powered his way into second place but entering the joker lap on lap two, the cross shaft on the front differential broke, relegating the Supercar to three-wheel-drive and pitching Scott into a spin. Although he managed to rejoin the track, the driveshaft broke completely as he exited the chicane later that lap, spinning him off into the gravel, and eliminating him from the proceedings.
Despite not managing to progress through to the ERC finals for only the first time this year, the development work carried out on the 16v Ford Focus ST T16 4x4, has resulted in a rapid gain in speed, and will be invaluable as it and Scott takes on the cream of Europe at Loreac in France in early September.
“We have to take a lot of positives from this weekend to be honest. Once we’d sorted out the issue we had on Saturday morning, we had the speed, which we didn’t have in Belgium, so from that point of view I’m happy. However naturally it’s disappointing that we only found this morning what the problem was. On the gravel sections we had no trouble with traction, but on the tarmac, effectively only when the car was under full power, we had a lack of drive, but changing the clutch helped so I was feeling good going into the remaining heats.
“We had an incident in the first corner of the second heat though, which put me out of that race. The team repaired the car for the third and I had a fantastic start and was in a comfortable position to progress through to the finals but the cross shaft from the front differential broke on the second lap which meant I had three-wheel-drive not four. That caused me to spin in the joker section and basically finish the race.
“Going forwards though, we will now head to Loreac, for what is without doubt the jewel in the European rallycross crown, attracting the best drivers in Europe, in front of around 40,000 spectators, where we can hopefully get a good clean run. We’ll be on the control Kumho tyres though, which will be new to us and no time to test before we get into the track action, but as always we’ll give it our best shot.”