Timmy Hansen stepped up his game after his failure to qualify for the World RX of France Final by dominating Qualifying for the World RX of Spain and taking a podium finish in the Supercar Final for Team Peugeot-Hansen.
The young Swedish driver began the ninth weekend of the 2016 FIA World Rallycross Championship well by going fastest in Q1 before setting the second fastest time in Q2 behind EKSRX’s Mattias Ekstrom to be the overnight leader for the first time this season.
Q3 didn’t go as planned after Hansen bogged down at the hairpin during his race and his time set was only good enough for 9th fastest, however he recovered to go second fastest in Q4 and secure pole position for Semi-Final One.
A second place finish behind Ekstrom yet again meant Hansen would be in the middle of the Supercar Final grid, where he went onto take second place at the flag.
Hansen was very happy with his improved form this weekend:
“I think it was my best weekend of the season so far. A win during qualifying allowed me to start from pole position and we clearly had the necessary speed to challenge for the victory. We all worked very hard to achieve that and the 208 WRX was extremely competitive here,” explained Hansen.
“I am very proud of the progress we have made. I found myself down in fourth place at one moment in the final but I succeeded in fighting back on the last lap. Second place was by no means a foregone conclusion. Congratulations, of course, to Kevin. He has been exceptional all year. I am so proud of him!”
Team-mate Sebastien Loeb endured a frustrating weekend that saw him stay within the top eight places during Qualifying with his highest position being 2nd position in Q3 to end up in fifth place overall and getting into the Semi-Finals. There, the Frenchman was embroiled in a fight for the last place in the Supercar Final along with Robin Larsson and Petter Solberg which ended up with contact leaving Loeb in 6th place and out of the Final.
Loeb took away the positives from the weekend:
“This weekend’s positive is that our car was competitive. Let’s hope it stays that way for the rest of the championship. Overall, it was quite frustrating for me because the potential was there to do better but we failed to make the most of the opportunity,” said Loeb.
“I stalled at the start of my semi-final which caused me to lose several places. After that, I found myself blocked and, in the end, I didn’t reach the finish. It’s a shame because the potential was there.”
The Peugeot-Hansen Academy duo were on split duties this weekend as Davy Jeanney competed in World RX whilst team-mate Kevin Hansen was on duty in the penultimate round of the 2016 FIA European Rallycross Championship for Supercars. Jeanney enjoyed a much more competitive outing which saw him stay within the crucial top twelve during Qualifying an taking a place in Semi-Final two, however he finished fourth and missed out on the Final.
The Frenchman was happy overall with his performance:
“Overall, it was a pretty good weekend for me, even though it was a little complex because my car didn’t have the performance to fight at the sharp end. That was quite frustrating. I made a few errors but I succeeded in qualifying for the semi-final stage. I think I found a decent pace but it wasn’t sufficient to make it through to the final.”
Meanwhile, Hansen was looking to seal his first ever Euro RX title and he began in style by setting the fastest times in Q1, Q2 and Q3. After a small blip saw him finish in 6th place in Q4 meant that the former RX Lites Champion would start on pole in his Semi-Final race where he took ahead of championship rival Tord Linnerud to secure pole position for the Supercar Final. Hansen duly took the lead at turn one and was never headed, taking the race win and sealing the title as well.
The young Swedish driver was overjoyed at his triumph:
“It’s incredible to have won the title! I grew up in the paddocks of the European Rallycross Championship and it’s something I’ve dreamt of ever since I was a kid. There couldn’t have been a better way to make that dream come true than by winning every one of the four rounds to date! Being the youngest ever champion is the icing on the cake,” explained Hansen.
“It hasn’t really sunk in yet, but it won’t stop me from trying to add a fifth victory at the final round. I will be under less pressure there and you can be sure that I will give it my very best shot!”
Team Peugeot-Hansen also closed down the gap to Teams Championship leaders EKSRX be reducing the lead to 17 points and their aim is now clear: To secure the title for a second consecutive season and this is target will be foremost on the teams focus as they head to Riga in Latvia in two weeks time.