Scott-Eklund Racing battles for Global RallyCross Championship honours at the Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth.
Scott-Eklund Racing showed its class against the manufacturer-backed teams in round two of the Global RallyCross Championship (GRC) at Texas Motor Speedway, Fort Worth, today (Saturday, June 9), with a second successive heat win for Samuel Hübinette and second place for Andy Scott.
The results, which come on the back of double heat victories last time out in Charlotte, cement Scott-Eklund Racing’s credentials as a front-running team, against the might of manufacturer entries such as Ford, Dodge, Subaru, Hyundai and Citroën, with the privateer team’s invitation into the X Games LA 2012 now also confirmed.
Following a successful seeding session on Friday, Team Principal and lead driver Scott took up position in the first of four qualifying heats ahead of the all-important final and immediately made the most of the Scott-Eklund Racing Saab 9-3’s awesome 600bhp to get the jump on Travis Pastrana for second place, and slot in behind Marcus Grönholm.
Negotiating the mega 70-foot-gap jump, affectionately nicknamed ‘The Beast’, proved entertaining for the crowds but troublesome for Scott, when the rear window of his Scott Trawlers-backed Saab 9-3 flew out during one of the jumps. Despite that the Dumfries fisherman brought his car home in the runner-up spot to earn a place in the final for the second race in succession.
Hübinette was next up, facing Ken Block and David Binks among the five-car line-up, and a lightening start allowed him to place second on lap one. Leaving his Joker Lap to the very last minute, the ‘Crazy Swede’ took the lead on the penultimate lap to snatch his second victory in the Scott-Eklund Racing Saab 9-3 with ENEOS Motor Oil, and with it a place in the final.
The enthusiastic Texan crowd were treated to one of the most exciting, close-fought battles in three, six lap finals, following two restarts due to incidents. The first race saw Hübinette line up on the front row, with Scott just behind, and both made great starts to run third and fifth prior to the first stoppage. Restarting from their original grid positions for the second attempt, the duo quickly showed their consistent pace, equally matched and battling for second place.
Such is the nature of the ultra-competitive Global RallyCross Championship, the cars inevitably run in close contact and on lap four the pair touched which, combined with a heavy landing over the jump, broke the front steering arm on Scott’s Saab 9-3, and pitched him into the tyre wall. This caused the race to be stopped for the second time, and at the third restart Hübinette made another good start to move into second, but a broken power steering pump, together with the effects of the jump, took it’s toll on his car, breaking the propshaft and forcing retirement three laps from the finish.
After two positive events in Charlotte Motor Speedway and Texas Motor Speedway, the Scott-Eklund Racing Team is now among the eligible entries for X Games LA 2012 and will head back to it’s US base at Pompano Beach, Florida to prepare the two Saab 9-3s for the GRC’s flagship event, which takes place over the weekend of June 29-July 1.
Andy Scott – Scott-Eklund Racing Team Principal & driver, Car #26:
“It’s been a fantastic weekend. The Texas Motor Speedway has put a lot of effort into the event, publicising it well and a lot of enthusiastic fans turned up, with a lot of people really behind Saab. All of us at Scott-Eklund Racing really appreciate their support. The first heat was a tough one, I got alongside Travis (Pastrana) and behind Marcus (Grönholm), but I didn’t want to make it hard for myself again, like Charlotte, to go through from the last chance qualifier, and I knew I had to finish first or second to go straight through. I managed to take the start behind Marcus and leave Travis behind me, so naturally I’m really happy with that.
“In the final I was in a good position when they red flagged it the first time and got a good start for the second too. I had a good fight with my team-mate (Hübinette) but unfortunately I broke the car when we landed on the jump. But we’ve learnt lessons from that so we won’t have the same problems at X Games. For a team that was only formed at the turn of the year, it’s very rewarding, it’s been a lot of hard work, but hopefully the results on the track have paid everybody back for it. I hope our new sponsor TiAL Sport are equally happy with the results.”
Samuel Hübinette – Scott-Eklund Racing Saab 9-3 with ENEOS Motor Oil, Car #77:
“I think we had a great weekend. The Scott-Eklund Racing Saab 9-3 with ENEOS Motor Oil ran really good, I made some good changes for it after Charlotte and we got even faster to qualify fifth, which I think is a good statement after just one race in my pocket. We were running really well in the final and I was in second place battling behind Marcus Grönholm but unfortunately the propshaft broke and I had to pull to the side.
“I’m very happy with my performance and the crew all worked so hard and I’d like to thank ENEOS Motor Oil again for supporting me in my GRC adventure here. Now I’m going to come back even stronger and fight even harder at the X Games at the end of June, so make sure to support us and I look forward to battling again.”
Per Eklund – Scott-Eklund Racing Technical Director:
“We had two cars in the final and Hübinette was second in the last start, with no power steering at all, it was impossible to drive the car. Then from the front gearbox to the differential, the shaft has twisted, due to lack of grip on the tarmac and the jump, which put him out in the final.
“Andy was very quick all day, and he had a good fight – a team fight I call it, he was together with Samuel for the small jump, Andy missed the jump, he went outside and went along the straight to the big jump and they were still fighting. He was flying over the jump, but the steering arm was broken and had no steering when he landed and went straight into the tyre wall.”
Photo caption: Andy Scott leading his team colleague Samuel Hübinette. © QBA/ERC24