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Home   Canterbury   Sport   Article

Former Formula One World Champion Jacques Villeneuve tests his new Rallycross car at Lydden Hill, near Canterbury

24 February 2014
by Dan Wright

Lydden Hill welcomed a motorsport legend on Saturday - when 1997 Formula One World Champion Jacques Villeneuve paid a visit.

The French-Canadian is switching to Rallycross racing for 2014 and dropped in at the Canterbury track to test his new Peugeot 208 machine, in which he will contest the 2013 World Rallycross Championship.

The 42-year-old joined British Rallycross championship regulars at the test day - and completed ten four-lap stints to gain experience behind the wheel of his Albatec Racing-prepared car.

Jacques Villeneuve in action at Lydden. Picture - Joe Wright

Jacques Villeneuve in action at Lydden. Picture - Joe Wright

A power steering issue early in the day limited his morning running, but once a faulty component in the power steering pump was resolved, the car ran faultlessly to around complete around 45 miles.

He was immediately on the pace and enjoyed his visit to Kent. 

“To come to Lydden Hill is great, it’s fast, a real fun track, quite high speed and after testing in Dreux it’s great to finally drive on a proper FIA World Rallycross Championship track with a combination of asphalt and graveI," the former Indy Car champion said.

He enjoyed the Lydden track. Picture - Joe Wright

He enjoyed the Lydden track. Picture - Joe Wright

"It’s a nice track, it’s how tracks used to be made, and follows the lay of the land."

Andy Scott, team principal of the Scotland-based Albatec Racing, said: “Jacques proved his speed straight of the box during the test in France, but it is vital that he gets as much track time as possible, on different circuits, to help him acclimatise to a world rallycross car.

"To come to Lydden Hill is great, it’s fast, a real fun track..." - Jacques Villeneuve

"We chose Lydden Hill, the home of rallycross in the UK as it is the perfect circuit for this, providing a good mixture of challenges, requiring very fast and precise lines and braking points."

Villeneuve will join Sittingbourne's Liam Doran and other top rallycross drivers on 24-25 May, when the World Rallycross Championship heads to Lydden.

He added: “It’s been a fun experience working with the team, with Andy who stands out because of his passion for the sport, and in particular the engineers, to get the best out of the 208.

Villeneuve's team-mate Andy Scott in action at Lydden last year. Picture - Joe Wright

Villeneuve's team-mate Andy Scott in action at Lydden last year. Picture - Joe Wright

"You don’t rallycross because of the jet set you do it because of the racing, so now I’m really looking forward to going head-to-head with the other drivers in Portugal.”

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