Scott-Eklund Racing secured its first podium in the Global Rallycross Championship (GRC) with a fighting second place at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway on Saturday July 14.
American Samuel Hubinette, driving the Eneos Motor Oil-backed Saab 9-3, finished second in his qualifying heat to advance into the final for the fourth time this year and after a battle with Travis Pastrana crossed the line just over a second adrift at the flag. After a strong finish both in Charlotte and Texas, the result puts 41 year-old Hubinette into second place overall in the points table.
For the third time this year, both 600bhp, two-litre 16 valve Saab 9-3s made it to the final, held in front of an enthusiastic NASCAR crowd. Scott-Eklund Racing Team Principal Andy Scott recovered well from a broken right rear wheel in qualifying to line up on the second row for his heat.
A superb start for the Dumfries fisherman allowed him to battle for the lead going into the tight first corner, but a hit from Ken Block on the descent from the first ramp jump, saw Scott sidelined with steering damage.
The Scott-Eklund Racing team made rapid repairs to the Scott Trawlers-backed Saab 9-3 to allow Scott to take up a place in the Last Chance Qualifying race, from which the top four would advance into the final. With limited time between the restarted heat and the LCQ, a full repair could not be carried out, with Scott taking up position with the steering not fully fixed.
Despite that handicap, the British Rallycross Vice-Champion progressed through the field well, taking the long jump on the opening lap and steadily moving up the order to take fourth to put him into the final alongside his team-mate Hubinette.
At the start, Hubinette made a good getaway and was immediately pushing hard for the final podium spot. With both Scott and Hubinette electing to take the joker lap early on, it allowed them both to put in a charging performance over the remaining laps, with the X Games bronze medallist soon up into second place, and Scott in eighth. A determined effort by Hubinette saw him draw alongside Pastrana to move ahead as they entered the cross-over, but as the pair ran nose-to-tail, Hubinette was tapped from behind and forced wide, allowing Pastrana through and into the lead which he held to the flag.
A solid drive by Scott, with the steering not fully operational, netted a strong sixth place to move him up to eighth place in the points, just 12 points adrift of Hubinette.
Andy Scott – Scott-Eklund Racing Team Principal & driver, Car #26:
“Obviously I came to the line thinking it was going to be a five car line up and then when we got pulled off the dummy grid up to the line it was a 3-2 which meant I was on the back row. But as always the Saab made an amazing start so I had the position going into the first corner but Ken came in too hot and took us both out, a racing incident.
“It broke the track rod and also damaged the track control arm, and although we had time to change the track rod, in the limited time between the races we weren’t able to fix the control arm. So going into the final the car wasn’t running at 100% and I wasn’t able to do much to come through the field.
“As Team Principal though I’m delighted for Samuel, it shows again the pace the Saabs have and once again we got both cars through to the final. It’s only a matter of time before we get that first win.
Samuel Hubinette – Scott-Eklund Racing Saab 9-3 with ENEOS Motor Oil, Car #77:
“I had a good battle with Travis, although he took me out in the corner, it was back and forth there. He did a good job, he took me out in the corner but it was nothing brutal, it was just good racing. I got moved back for a bad start in the first race, but I thought you know what, let’s think positive. So I did the joker lap right away, which helped me a lot, and after I moved past Tanner Foust I could see it was only Travis ahead, I was looking for Deegan, but he wasn’t there.
“To have only signed the night before the first race and get a podium in the fourth race is fantastic. It’s a great result for my sponsors, and the whole Scott-Eklund Racing team, who have worked so hard and once again did a great job. The Saab 9-3 with Eneos Motor Oil was flawless and showed its potential once again to be a race winner.”
Per Eklund – Scott-Eklund Racing Technical Director:
“Samuel drove very well, he was chasing Pastrana and took the lead until Pastrana tagged him and put him wide, but to get our first podium is a great result and we’re all very happy. Now we can look forward to the next rounds and hopefully we can continue that form and take some more.
“It was a bad start for Andy, he was on the second line, but he was still up to the front until Block came in and crashed into him. I knew this sort of accident would happen when you have five or six cars going off together where there’s only space for one car into the first chicane. Nobody lifted but then that’s racing. He broke the steering and we just about fixed it but there was no time to complete it, so to finish sixth was great performance and to have both cars in the final again shows the pace the Saabs have.”