22 August 2014
RX: Karlsson subs for Villeneuve in Germany
Female star Ramona Karlsson will stand-in for Jacques Villeneuve in next month's World RX round, with one eye on a regular Albatec seat for 2015.
Swedish rally star Ramona Karlsson will replace Jacques Villeneuve in the second Albatec Racing Peugeot 208 for round nine of the FIA World Rallycross Championship presented by Monster Energy.
The first female to enter the World RX arena, Karlsson will join 2011 MSA British Rallycross vice-champion Andy Scott in Buxtehude over the weekend of 20-21 September.
The former motocross racer has established an impressive pedigree behind the wheel, twice becoming Swedish Crosskart champion and Swedish junior rallycross medallist before moving into rallying in 2000. The first Swedish woman to take part in a World Rally Championship (PWRC) event in a Mitsubishi EVOX, Karlsson collected four Swedish championship podiums in 2013 in a Skoda Fabia WRC, where she became the first female driver ever to win an event outright, on her way to earning the Rally Driver of the Year award.
The rapid racer also contested the opening rounds of the 2014 Euro RX in a Saab 9-3, but now joins Albatec Racing at the wheel of a 600bhp two-litre, 16v Peugeot 208 Supercar in a bid to break into the semi final positions. She will join the team at a test session at Mayenne in France, immediately prior to Lohéac, before making her World RX debut two weeks later.
“In Höljes, we had some technical issues with the car, which resulted in me not competing in Belgium, and I was approached by Albatec to see if I was interested in opening up discussions for 2015,” Karlsson revealed, “During that conversation, we talked about the commercial benefits of all parties for me to take part in some races this season, as I intend to contest the full World Rallycross Championship next year.
“The co-operation with Albatec was very recently settled, and I'm extremely excited to be joining them. I have watched the team with interest all season, having had communications with them before the start of the year, and I've been incredibly impressed by their professionalism, their attention to detail, and their enthusiasm. I look forward to working with their engineers and mechanics to help develop the 208 into an outright race-winning car.
“I hope we have a good test and I get a good feeling for the car, I think it will be a big difference from the Saab, but I will really take the opportunity to soak up all I can. I'm really looking forward to Germany and my goal is to reach the semi finals.”
So far this season, Scott has qualified for three of the four rounds contested, after missing the three Scandinavian rounds to give up his car for former F1 world champion Villeneuve, who crashed heavily in testing. The French-Canadian was well-placed to qualify at Trois-Rivieres last time out, running fifth overall before damage sustained in heat three forced him out of the event.
“I'm very excited to see Ramona in the team, as I believe she has a lot of potential - both in the car and out,” Scott said, “She comes into rallycross with a huge amount of experience across rallying and rallycross, and she will I'm sure be an asset to the team.
“In our dealings with her so far, she has been incredibly professional and a pleasure to work with. And I look forward to working with her during the event and hopefully beyond. She has proven her ability time and again, and is very proactive and commercially aware, which can only benefit both parties as well as rallycross in general. I look forward to welcoming her into the Albatec family where we are determined to provide her with the tools to help her achieve her goal of reaching the semi finals.”
Former Indycar champion Villeneuve is scheduled to return to World RX action in the Franciacorta round of the series at the end of September, having been forced to miss two rounds due to clashing television commitments.
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