Despite not making it to the finals of the first round of the 2014 FIA World Rallycross Championship in Monalegre, Portugal this weekend Team Peugeot-Hansen showed promising pace throughout the weekend.
In the first event in the brand new Peugeot 208 WRX Timur Timerzyanov set stunning pace, topping the timesheets for free practice and winning the two heats on Saturday, setting fastest times on the way.
There was some controversy in the second race when the Russian collided with Petter Solberg heading in to the first corner. The impact was hard enough to put Solberg out of the race and disqualification for Timerzyanov. Following an appeal from the team he was later reinstated and his penalty downgraded to a warning.
Team-mate Timmy Hansen showed good pace too with the young Swede finishing fifth fastest in the opening heat and fourteenth in the second heat.
On day two both Hansen and Timerzyanov would win their races in the third heat before going on to finish 2-3 behind Solberg in their heat 4 race.
With enough done by Timerzyanovv to secure first, and Hansen third on the grid for their respective semi-final races, it was looking promising for the Peugeot team.
Lady Luck wasn’t to shine on the team this time though as despite setting the fastest lap of the weekend in his semi-final race, Hansen was slowed by an electrical failure which would lead to him finishing just one place away from securing a pass to the final.
Timerzyanov would suffer similar luck, after being forced wide in his semi-final race he dropped down to fourth position,again not quite enough to go through to the final.
“We have brought this project together in such a short time, being on the pace, we are is a victory in itself,”” said team principle Kenneth Hansen. “I’m very satisfied with the cars and the drivers. We can take a huge amount of encouragement from this weekend.”
Reigning FIA European Rallycross Champion Timerzyanov was happy with the new car but disappointed not to have made it to the finals. “We have a good tool in the Peugeot 208 to work with in the World RX
“We came here with brand new cars and we are already at a very good level. The semi-final was disappointing, I always try to be good on track, but sometimes the others are not. I had hoped we could have scored more points for the Team Championship for Peugeot, Total and Red Bull, but overall the weekend has been very strong for us.”
Hansen, who is only in his second full season of rallycross following an early career in single seaters saw plenty of potential in the new 208 WRX. “It’s been a really good weekend for the whole team, ” he said.
“We have created a great chassis together with Peugeot, it makes the car very easy to drive, I can place it where I want to go and it does exactly what I want it to do. I’m so excited for the rest of the season now. After a long winter it feels so good to have done a race and performed like we have, the speed is there!”