Team Peugeot-Hansen set the bar for their home race performances in 2016 as they completed a double podium finish at Holjes, home of the 2016 World RX of Sweden.
The Franco-Swedish outfit moved to their first home event and also the first circuit that 2016 driver Sebastien Loeb has prior knowledge of and this showed as he took his Peugeot 208 WRX Supercar to the fastest time in Q1 whilst team-mate Timmy Hansen suffered a spin in his Q1 race and a five second penalty. However as the event moved on, both drivers looked to increase their pace as they aimed for a pace in the Semi-Finals. Loeb endured a difficult Q2 whilst Hansen finished in eighth place in the mixed conditions. On the second day of running, Loeb would go third fastest in the drier conditions of Q3 whilst Hansen finished in seventh place before both men pushed for the Semi-Finals in Q4.
After the completion of Q4, the Intermediate standings saw Loeb in fourth place overall whilst Hansen secured ninth place and this gave both men the chance to fight for a place in the Supercar Final. Hansen made his intentions clear by winning Semi-Final one as he looked to secure victory on home turf whilst Loeb chased Andreas Bakkerud all the way to the flag in Semi-final two as the pair fought tooth and nail throughout the race and setup a classic duel for the Final itself.
Hansen showed excellent pace as he led off the line in the Supercar Final and decided to take a last lap joker to cover off Bakkerud’s first lap choice. As the young Swedish driver extended his advantage in the lead, Loeb would fight with Volkswagen RX Sweden’s Anton Marklund who passed the Frenchman and held him up. As both Peugeot drivers took their joker on the last lap, they chased home Bakkerud as he took the win whilst Loeb would pass his team-mate over the line as the handbrake on Hansen’s car failed at the last corner. This double podium finish keeps Peugeot-Hansen in second place in the Teams Championship whilst Loeb now has a fight for thirds place on his hands against Bakkerud and Johan Kristoffersson.
Loeb was very happy with his performance over the weekend: “It was a weekend of ups and downs with a bit of everything. I won my first heat but then I made a costly mistake in the second one and I was only 18th after a spin and a puncture. I had a good ruin in Q3 but I was unfortunate to pick up another puncture in Q4.
“I still managed to qualify on the front row for the semi-final and I ended up second both in that race and in the final, so I scored some good points. I feel a little frustrated because I believe we could have done better. The positive thing is the fact that car felt much better in Sweden. Now I’ve got the Silk Way Rally coming up in the PEUGEOT 2008 DKR. That should be an interesting 20 days!”
Hansen was pleased with his results from the weekend, “What a race! I had a hard time in the qualifying heats but then I had an incredible semi-final. I started from the back row but, when I saw the drivers ahead of me go wide at the first turn, I knew I had a chance to win the race.
“I started the final from the front row and got away to a strong start and found myself in the lead. On the second lap, however, I dislocated my shoulder which was very painful. If it hadn’t been for that, I think I could have won. My hand brake came on through the final corner, and that allowed Sébastien to sneak past into second place. Two cars on the podium is our best result since the start of the 2016 championship!”