Jacques Villeneuve splits with World RX team ahead of final round

1997 Formula 1 world champion Jacques Villeneuve will not complete his maiden season in the World Rallycross Championship, and is unlikely to return next year

Jacques Villeneuve splits with World RX team ahead of final round


1997 Formula 1 world champion Jacques Villeneuve will not complete his maiden season in the World Rallycross Championship, and is unlikely to return next year.

British squad Albatec Racing will replace Villeneuve with 2007 British Rallycross champion Ollie O'Donovan for next week's season finale in Argentina.

Villeneuve made his rallycross debut at the 2014 season-opener in Portugal, but in seven events failed to make it into the semi-finals.

He also missed four rounds of the series while absent on F1 commentating duty, but despite there being no date clash for the final round, Villeneuve has elected not to race.

"Jacques has made some statements where he wasn't supportive of the team or the championship," said Albatec team owner and driver Andy Scott.

"I don't think he really gets or appreciates the nature of rallycross. I don't think his heart was in it, so he purely didn't want to come and do Argentina."

Scott added that he thinks it is unlikely that Villeneuve will return for 2015.

"In the last conversations we had with Jacques' manager, things were still ongoing for next year. But, looking at it realistically, the fact that Jacques doesn't want to drive for us in Argentina gives quite a clear message that there will be no next year with him.

"From our side, we're not happy that he has been critical of Albatec or the championship. Albatec is in World Rallycross for the long haul and is in support of [championship promoters] IMG."

The Albatec team is yet to make it to the final at a World RX event, but while Villeneuve has failed to make it through to the semi-finals, gentleman racer Scott has made the top 12 on five occasions from eight starts.

"Albatec is a small team of professionals who give their all against the odds, against teams who are better funded with manufacturer backing," added Scott.

"I'm disappointed that myself, the amateur driver, has made the semi-finals a number of times, whereas Jacques hasn't made the semi-final or final. He's a very talented driver, but I don't think he has dedicated himself to try and get the results.

"Jacques had moments of good pace but he just didn't seem able to put a weekend together."

Scott hopes that new recruit O'Donovan will be on the pace straight away at the San Luis event next week.

"I've enjoyed racing Ollie in RX150s and in Supercar, he's got the personality and capability to jump in a car and ring its neck. He could be a real surprise, I'll say.

"It would be a great end to the season with two cars in the semi-finals and perhaps one in the final."



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