Peugeot-Hansen Score Podium Finish on Home Ground

by Phil Kinch

After taking their first win of the season in Canada, Team Peugeot-Hansen kept up their recent momentum as Sebastien Loeb scored a podium finish in thier second home event of the year at the World RX of France.

Loheac in France is one of the few tracks that the former nine time WRC champion had previous knowledge of and he put this to good use as he went second fastest in Q1 behind Mattias Ekstrom. During the rest of qualifying, Loeb took a measure approach to proceedings which left him in sixth place overall after Q4.

He went on to secure second place in Semi-Final two behind race winner Johan Kristoffersson and then would be involved in some epic on track action in the Supercar Final itself, where he came home to finish in third place behind Kristoffersson and Andreas Bakkerud.

Loeb was happy to take a podium finish on home ground, “I managed to qualify for the final which I finished on the podium, so that’s a good result for the team, especially here at Lohéac. And I wasn’t the only French driver to reach the final! It’s not the same as winning, of course, but it was still a strong overall run given the conditions we had this morning when we found ourselves in a little difficulty.

“Being able to hit the pace again after that and end up on the podium is very encouraging, especially given the quality of the final which was quite virile. There was overtaking going on left, right and centre, so it was an entertaining race for the spectators, too, and I had tremendous fun personally.

Timmy Hansen, who won the 2015 event, had a more difficult event as he looked to see if he could take another victory for the team after Canada. The young Swedish driver was well on the pace during qualifying as he set times quick enough to be inside the top ten, which left him in seventh place overall after Q4 and one place behind team-mate Loeb.

However as he raced for a place in the Final during Semi-Final One, Hansen was denied this due to a puncture after contact during the race. He would go on to be classified eighth overall after finishing outside the top three in SF1.

Hansen reflected on a difficult event, “It wasn’t a good day for me. I had power steering failure in the third qualifying heat so I was forced to start the fourth run behind a slower competitor, which obviously wasn’t ideal. In my semi-final, I was hit by Larsson through the first turn and that put paid to my chances of repeating my victory here at Lohéac last year.

The Peugeot-Hansen Academy duo of Davy Jeanney and Kevin Hansen were also in the action at Peugeot’s home event. Both drivers were well in the mix during qualifying with Jeanney staying inside the vital top twelve places to secure a place in SF2 whilst FIA European Rallycross Championship leader Hansen showed impressive speed during Qualifying as he finished Q1 in 26th position before setting much faster times that troubles the World RX regulars. Both drivers made it into SF2 where they both raced hard for a place in the Final, however their rewards were to finish in fourth and fifth places in the race.

Hansen is looking to using the cars speed again next time out in Spain, “My weekend got off to a poor start in the shape of a gearbox problem. After that, I found a good pace which enabled me to reach the semi-finals. My car was good here, so that’s very encouraging for Barcelona in two weeks’ time.

Jeanney enjoyed his weekends work, “It turned out to be an exciting weekend, both on and off the track, with lots of interest in PEUGEOT. Performance-wise, I succeeded in qualifying for the semi-final. I didn’t make it any further, but I still had fun on the track.”

The Team Peugeot-Hansen drivers and Peugeot-Hansen Academy drivers are back in action in Barcelona as the FIA World Rallycross Championship moves to round nine of the season whilst Euro RX is back in action for its penultimate event of the year.

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