Team Peugeot-Hansen confirmed their podium winning pace was back with Timmy Hansen taking third place at the World RX of Great Britain, following up on Sebastien Loeb’s podium finish at the World RX of Belgium.
The young Swedish driver, who took five wins in 2015, secured his first podium of 2016 in impressive style after a quiet start to the weekend saw him guide his Peugeot 208 WRX to finish Q1 in eleventh place and just inside the top 12 places. However Hansen showed he was a serious contender for honours during the event by going second fastest to Petter Solberg in both Q2 and Q3 and followed that up by going fourth fastest in Q4. The Swedish driver secured second place behind Solberg in Semi-Final One with his younger brother Kevin taking third to qualify for the Supercar Final.
In the Final, Hansen drove flat out to do all he could to keep both Solberg and eventual winner Mattias Ekstrom in sight and his reward was the final podium spot with Kevin Hansen taking fourth place in his Peugeot-Hansen Academy machine. Timmy was pleased with his reward:
“It’s fantastic to be back in the top three. It’s been some time since I last finished on the podium. The weekend went fairly smoothly for me, although I didn’t quite have the speed to battle with Solberg and Ekström. We will therefore need to keep on working but today’s result is almost like a victory for me. I gave it my all from the start of the weekend to the finish, as did my team. It felt great to be spraying the champagne again and it was also great to see that Kevin finished just behind me. It’s his best result to date and I am very proud of him!”
Sebastien Loeb had a complete contrast of fortunes at Lydden Hill. The Frenchman suffered engine issues in Q1 and Q4 as well as a puncture in Q3 which left the nine time WRC Champion on the back foot for Semi-Final Two. Further engine issues hampered Loeb in SF2 and he would finish in fifth place.
Loeb reflected on a difficult weekend, “It wasn’t a positive weekend for me because I had quite a few problems. I had engine trouble during my first qualifying heat which dropped me to seventeenth position. The second heat was trouble-free but I picked up a puncture in the third one and, for the last heat, they sprayed the track with water just before my race. I still managed to qualify for the semi-finals but I had engine trouble again, so I didn’t make it to the final. I think we must have clocked up all the problems you can imagine. Let’s hope we have a clean run next time.”
Kevin Hansen was overjoyed at taking his highest ever World RX finish by securing fourth place, “I didn’t dare to dream of reaching the final so it’s just fantastic to have come away with such a strong result! I got off to a good start and found myself behind Petter and Timmy. I managed to stay in their slipstream, so I was quite proud of that. After may joker lap, I ended up fourth, just a few seconds adrift of the championship’s leaders. It’s my best result in the world championship to date. I don’t think there could have been a better way to celebrate turning 18!”
Hansen’s team-mate Davy Jeanney also suffered a poor weekend in the second Peugeot-Hansen Academy 208 and finished in thirteenth place, just outside of the crucial top 12 for qualification to the Semi-Finals. The Frenchman will be looking for a better performance at Hell in Norway in two weeks time.