Kevin Hansen secured his third straight victory of the 2016 FIA European Rallycross championship for Supercars after topping the podium at the Euro RX of Sweden and putting himself as firm favourite for this years title.
The Hansen Academy driver began the weekend well as he topped Q1 in his Peugeot 208 RX ahead of Mats Ohman in his Ford Fiesta and Fredrik Salsten, who is now receiving support from the Hansen Academy squad for the rest of the season. However, the Euro RX entry in 2016 has been a competitive field and to prove this in Q2, Tamas Pal Kiss went fastest ahead of Hansen and Tord Linnerud in his Volkswagen Polo whilst the trends continued in Q3 where Alexander Hvaal took his Eklund Motorsports Volkswagen Beetle to the fastest time with Ohman second fastest and Salsten in third. Hansen would finish Q3 in fifth place behind Peter Hedstrom but he upped his pace in Q4 to follow Salsten home with Hvaal going third fastest.
The top twelve qualifiers for the Semi-Finals were Hansen, Salsten and Kiss, followed by Linnerud, Hedstrom and Ohman. Albatec Racing’s Jerome Grosset-Janin and Andy Scott qualified ahead of Hvaal, Tamas Karai, Derek Tohill and 2015 Euro RX Supercar champion Tommy Rustad. In Semi-Final One, Hansen took the win from Hvaal and Kiss whilst Grosset-Janin came home in fourth place and missed out on a place in the Final. Tohill and Hedstrom suffered mechanical issues. Semi-Final Two witnessed Salsten take the victory with Linnerud coming home in second place. Albatec team-mates Rustad and Scott made contact on lap one that saw the Scottish driver roll Peugeot whilst Rusatd would go on to claim third in the race.
The Final itself saw the two Hansen Academy drivers Hansen and Salsten on the front row with Linnerud and Hvaal on row two as Kiss and Rustad completed the grid. Hansen took the lead from the line and as the cars filed into turn two, Linnerud, Rustad and Kiss all took their joker leaving Hvaal to pursue the two Peugeot’s in front. On lap two, Hvaal guided his VW Beetle into the joker and came out in fifth place, ahead of Kiss with Rustad and Linnerud fighting for third spot. As Hansen extended his lead on lap three, Salsten took his joker and secured second place whilst Linnerud had a sideways moment before the Velodrome corner which held up Rustad.
This in turn allowed Hvaal to close on the Norwegian driver and he passed the Albatec Peugeot only to lose the VW Beetle in the last corner which let Rustad back past. Hansen completed his joker on lap four with a gap to Salsten whilst Linnerud gapped the remaining drivers in third place as on lap five Kiss passed Hvaal at the final turn to take fifth place and then pass Linnerud to take fourth on the final lap. Hansen crossed the line to secure the win ahead of Salsten with Kiss crossing the finish line in third ahead of Rustad, however the Hungarian was later disqualified from the results and this promoted Rustad to third place.
Hansen was overjoyed to take his third straight win of the year, “Fantastic! I pushed hard all weekend but it wasn’t easy. It started to rain a few times just as I was lining up for the qualifying heats but I managed to keep a cool head. It’s a great feeling to have won our home race here in Höljes, a place where I have watched my father compete so many times…”
Hansen leads the Drivers Championship on 87 points ahead of Linnerud who moves into second place on 64 points. Grosset-Janin drops to third place in the standings as he missed out on a place in the Final whilst Salsten is three points behind in fourth place. The next round of the series takes place at the Barcelona Grand Prix track on 16 – 18 September.