Team Peugeot-Hansen driver Timmy Hansen domintated round nine of the 2015 FIA World Rallycross Championship at Loheac in France, beating Championship leader Petter Solberg to take his second consecutive win this season.
The young Swedish driver began the weekend in commanding style by going fastest in heats one and two, guiding his Peugeot 208 WRX Supercar to a maximum 100 heat points score to lead into Day Two. He then followed this up by going second quickest in heat three behind Solberg, however tyre saving left Hansen in sixth at the end of the heats.
“If there is one place I wanted to win it’s Loheac – the home of Peugeot, It feels so good to take this win – the fans have given me so much support this weekend and it’s amazing to be able to give something back to them,” explains Hansen.
“The heats were tough – we had a strategy to save the tyres for the semi-finals and it felt so good to get through all four heats with the maximum 16 points and pole position. For the final, I had six clear laps and the team pushed me so hard on the radio, which kept me going right to the end. This victory is for all the supporters this weekend and to everyone who believed in Team Peugeot-Hansen.”
After fending off a late charge by EKSRX driver Mattias Ekstrom in his Audi S1, Hansen took the victory in Semi Final One to then romp home to a commanding victory ahead of Petter Solberg and Jean Baptiste Dubourg.
SDRX driver Solberg was never far from Hansen in the heats, finishing 2nd in the first two heats, winning heat three and then coming home fifth in heat four. He went on to win the second Semi-Final ahead of Johan Kristoffersson and then chased home Hansen in the Final and soon found himself pursued to the flag by Dubourg, but Solberg was happy with his result.
“We had a plan this weekend to get as many points as possible during the heats – this is why we changed tyres for the third heat and didn’t save them for the semis,” explained the SDRX driver.
“We’ve worked out that we need an average of 21 points at each race to keep ahead in the standings and this has been my focus. We’ve had some problems such as the gearbox on day one but I’m very happy with our performance and second place is brilliant for the Championship. Timmy was fast in the final – I knew it would be hard to catch him on new tyres but I want to say that I’m very impressed with Jean-Baptiste Dubourg – he is a proper talent and should be in the World Championship next year for sure.”
2015 FIA European Rallycross Championship frontrunner Dubourg was overjoyed with the podium position he took in his Citroen C4 on home turf.
“This is a dream come true and a gift before Christmas. The semi-final was always the goal but when I made it to the final, I thought to myself that anything could happen and that I might be in with a chance of top three. A podium in an FIA World Championship – wow! It is just unbelievable. I’m going to enjoy celebrating with my team tonight, this victory is for them – I want to thank them for everything.”
Completing the Final were Volkswagen Team Sweden driver Johan Kristoffersson who took fourth place in the final, ahead of Holjes victor Ekstrom who recovered after a spin from contact with Kristoffersson off the start to finish fifth. Robin Larsson qualified for the Final but retired with mechanical issues on lap four after a spectacular move off the startline saw him jump from sixth to third momentarily.
Davy Jeanney enjoyed the support of the home crowd and was fast in his Hansen Peugeot 208 WRX. He qualified for the Semis in 11th place but after contact with Ford OMSE driver Andreas Bakkerud in Semi Final Two on lap four, Jeanney hit the wall and would retire. VW Marklund Motorsport driver Topi Heikkinen was another big name to lose out at the Semi-Final stage along with Timur Timerzyanov, who made his second Semi-Final in 2015. Guy Wilks showed good pace on Day Two in his JRM Mini Supercar but was taken out during the heat stage, as was Liam Doran in his SDRX Citroen DS3, who is looking for a change in luck.
“My luck has got to change at some point – we’ve proved we’ve got the pace,” explained the Englishman. “The car is working well enough. We’ve got four chances left so we need to keep trying.”
The FIA World Rallycross Championship returns in two weeks time where it is joined by the FIA European Rallycross Championship at the inanugural event to be held on the Barcelona Grand Prix circuit.