If you are a fan of Rallycross then you will no doubt have heard of Kenneth Hansen, the FOURTEEN times FIA European Rallycross Champion with 73 wins from 249 starts is quite an impressive statistic.
These days you will find Kenneth heading up the Team Peugeot-Hansen Motorsport team, which he can now add 2015 FIA World Rallycross Championship for Teams to the list of titles won, having wrapped things up with one race weekend still to go.
Hansen has been racing in Rallycross since the early eighties and has driven a variety of cars from a Volvo 240 Turbo, through to a Citroen DS3 in 2011, we asked him what his favourite car has been and it’s not actually any of the above.
“As I am a lot into the development and constructions, it has always been the latest and therefore also the fastest car, in this case the Peugeot 208 WRX 2015” Hansen tells theCheckeredFlag.co.uk
The Peugeot 208 WRX in question was introduced at the start of the 2015 season and was quick straight out of the box. “I was very confident as it’s a very good basic car and in right size.” said a proud Hansen, “Throughout the years I think I have seen what will work and what will not work, so a rough idea of what is drivable in RX helps to predict if the car can be quick or not.
“Then there are always things that can go wrong, because to be in the front you need to test new ideas. You can’t win by walking in someone else’s footsteps.”
As mentioned before Rallycross is in Hansen’s blood and he has seen a lot of changes throughout the years through to its most recent incarnation of a fully-fledged, FIA-backed, World Series.
“It’s really great that Rallycross is a World Championship and great to see it progressing so fast. The most difference is how professional and specialized it has grown. Only, let’s say 10 years back, the driver was often not only the driver, he was also the team manager, engineer, businessman, mechanic, chief, organiser, press and communication manager – the lot. One man – 10 different roles.
“Today World RX is much more specialized in each area. The driver can spend time to become a better driver in terms of physics, mental coaches etc. It is not 1 engineer; it is different from race engineer, suspension engineer, engine engineer and so on.
“Today communication is not only about press releases and calling to one or two journalists. You have the whole package of social medias, video clips, press conferences, TV-interviews. You know what I mean?” adds the Swede.
2015 has been a fantastic year for the team, building on their win in Italy and third place in the 2014 Teams Championship, Hansen Motorsport have taken the season by storm, three wins and five podium finishes from Timmy Hansen (Kenneth’s son) and a further two victories and a podium from Davy Jeanney took them to the top of the tables for the championship.
With one race to go in Argentina at the end of the month there is still the matter of the drivers title, which Timmy Hansen has been battling with Petter Solberg for, unfortunately last time out in Italy saw the Peugeot 208 WRX damaged heavily in the Semi Finals, putting him out of contention and handing the advantage back to Solberg who added an extra 8 points over Hansen, speaking about how bitter-sweet the weekend was Kenneth answers, “It was very difficult but as more time goes the taste of the title is just incredible and magic. All the good and unforgettable moments we have had in the team this year makes the title shine more and more the more I think about it. The feeling of being grateful and blessed is the best thing in the world.”
Teamwork is always a priority, but in this team it is paramount, “To win races with both drivers and have a team that work as a team, I think we really have showed that during the year” adds Hansen.
Aside from the two main drivers, the team have seen the likes of Erik Färén, Janis Baumanis and former British Touring Car Champion Andrew Jordan all take part as wildcard entries; we asked what his thoughts were on the drivers.
“All of them have their good points, and its called Hansen talent development and we have tried to help them on the way to next step. It is a very interesting thing to see a young person learn and develop. They grow from challenges. There is no easy way to the top. Talent is important, but if they are willing to work harder than they ever have done, then it is possible to reach success.”
And on the subject of development, there is a new Hansen vying for the spotlight as Timmy’s younger brother, Kevin comes through the ranks; For the final race of the year Kevin Hansen will take part in the Supercars category for rival team Olsbergs MSE as his prize for dominating the supporting RX Lites championship.
“I have no idea,” replies Kenneth when asked if Kevin would be a threat to Timmy and Davy, “I know Kevin is a strong in terms of competing but we just need to wait and see.”
So with another Hansen on the scene, could we see an all-Hansen line-up in the future?
“I am not sure it’s a good solution with all these stubborn winning spirited Hansen’s competing in same race,” joked Kenneth, “But you never know what the future will bring.” he added.
Kenneth last drove competitively in Rallycross in 2011 and with a record 249 race starts in the European Rallycross Championship, many are keen to see him return to track, even just for a one-off appearance, unfortunately this doesn’t look like a possibility any time soon. “It could be nice but the drivers make me fully busy with the team so at this moment I only test the 208 time to time.” replied Hansen.