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GRC Season Review: Andy Scott, Part 1

Image via Hazel PR

The majority of the teams in this year’s Global Rallycross Championship received a significant amount of factory support, whether from established rallycross brands like Ford, longtime stage rally mainstays like Subaru, or rally newcomers like Dodge. Most of the privateer teams fell by the wayside compared to last season, with one notable exception—GRC newcomers Scott-Eklund Racing, a partnership formed by Swedish rallycross legend Per Eklund and Scottish driver and successful businessman Andy Scott. Both had been successful in last year’s European Rallycross Championship, with Eklund’s car ranking sixth in points with driver Toomas Heikkinen and Scott scoring a podium in the Netherlands on the way to 11th in points.

Though the majority of media focus was placed on the many crossover athletes that have come into rallycross, the veteran partnership quietly put together some strong results despite their lack of manufacturer support. In the capable hands of Scott, the No. 26 Scott Trawlers Saab 9-3 showed incredible speed and competitiveness, winning the last chance qualifier in Charlotte and scoring a fourth place finish to open the season.

Image via Hazel PR

In the first part of a two-part season recap, Scott discusses the differences in American and European rallycross, testing the car before the season, and eventually opening the season on a high note:

After a decent season in the ERC last year, you chose to shift your focus to the GRC this season. Obviously there are some stylistic differences in what we’ve put together in American rallycross, but did you enjoy your four rounds in the series?

Yeah, for sure. It’s a fantastic experience to come over and race in (America), and I think the series has some real great potential. Obviously the circuit that’s made in one hour is a totally different experience than what we’re used to in Europe, with the permanent circuit, and that’s where the main difference comes. You don’t get a lot of car time to get set up at each venue, and you’re (quickly) qualified, into the heats, the last chance qualifier, and the final.

Entering Charlotte, you appeared to do a good bit of testing work with the 9-3, although it was an older model car without factory support. What were your expectations for how competitive the car was going to be? Did it exceed those expectations?

Image via Hazel PR

I was always confident that the car would be competitive. The car had been competitive in Europe, and we made good developments when we brought it over to the US. The unknown quantity was where our competitors laid. But I think it matched the expectations, as we could see with my teammate—Samuel (Hubinette) had some great results as well. I think that, considering our cars were old models and we didn’t have factory support, that the team put together a really good effort there.

We saw you make a great pass for the lead and win in the last chance qualifier at Charlotte, and then you finished fourth in the final. How significant was it for the team to have those sort of results right out of the box?

That was really important. Obviously we’d sunk a lot of resources in coming across to the US, and Charlotte, when we eventually got there, because as you know the schedule was changed a good few times. It was our first chance to see the pace of the rest of the teams. And we had two cars, right off the sharp end there in Charlotte. It was a fantastic first event for us and I don’t think we could really ask for much more.

Image via Hazel PR

During one attempt at the main event at Texas, you had an incident after the jump that caused a red flag and ended your event. Was there any warning before the landing that there might have been something wrong?

We had several things going on in that race. The damage that eventually put me out, I had no warning of. The jump, the landing was pretty clean, but we had a front suspension failure. It was just obviously a new level of stress on the car that we hadn’t experienced in European rallycross, and it did catch the team unawares. After Texas, we did look at that part and changed it a little bit. We had other issues going on, but none of them were going to stop us from running. It was the suspension failure off of the landing on the ramp that caused the problem.

Coming up in part two, Scott discusses his incident at X Games, taking a disabled car to a sixth place finish in New Hampshire, and his overall assessment of his split 2012 season between the GRC and ERC.

—Chris Leone

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