Team Peugeot-Hansen are showing that they are as resilient as ever after 9 time FIA WRC Champion Sebastien Loeb took his first ever victory in the FIA World Rallycross Championship at the 2016 World RX of Latvia.
However the Franco-Swedish squad has a higher prize in their sights as they sit on eight points behind Team Championship leader EKSRX with two rounds left to go. History shows that form will be on their side after Davy Jeanney took his second ever World RX win in Germany in 2015 ahead of Petter Solberg with Timmy Hansen completing the podium for the team as they challenged for both the Drivers and Team Championships in 2015.
With Loeb and Hansen both on the podium last time out in Latvia, momentum is with the 2015 Champions as they look to overhaul EKSRX and leave the World RX of Germany as Championship leaders. To add to this, the team tested at the circuit earlier this year and this means that Loeb will arrive with prior knowledge of the track, allowing him to fight for victor alongside team-mate Hansen.
After his win in Latvia, Loeb is confident of repeat performance in Germany, “For once, I have prior knowledge of the track because I was able to test there earlier in the year. There aren’t many corners but they aren’t easy. The first turn – a tight hairpin – is especially delicate. There’s a bit of asphalt on the inside and it’s quite hard to position the car to optimise exit traction for the long straight that comes afterwards. It’s a corner which has the potential to generate some big gaps,” explained the French driver.
“After my result in Riga, I know I can win and having a car that allows you to fight for the victory only adds to your motivation. There is no reason why we can’t challenge for first place again at the Estering, and a top-three finish in the Drivers’ championship is still a possibility.”
Hansen is also optimistic of taking a second win this season at the Iconic Estering track, “This track holds lots of fond memories for me because my father competed there quite frequently and I can remember him winning several times as he battled for the European title. I also remember how competitive the PEUGEOT 208 WRX was there last year. Davy was very fast all weekend and I can’t recall any other driver being so dominant round this circuit where the first turn is so tricky. It is quite risky because you are a target for the other drivers if you are first into the corner,” explained the young Swedish driver.
“It’s very hard to be consistent at the Estering but Davy succeeded last year. I will do my best to imitate him this weekend. It won’t be easy because speed isn’t the be-all and end-all. The way the races unfold can have a big influence, too.”
Team Principle Kenneth Hansen is fully aware of the uncertainty the track can cause, “The car is going very well at the moment. I feel we have reached a new step. We know we have the speed to win but Estering is notoriously difficult and quite different to Barcelona and Riga. It tends to be more slippery but we had a good test there earlier in the year.
“Timmy is already familiar with the track and it won’t be completely new territory for Sébastien, either, after he spent a day there. We won there last season and we are aiming for another win this year, even though our chief objective is to score as many Teams’ points as possible…”
As well as both of the Team Peugeot-Hansen drivers taking part, the Peugeot Hansen Academy duo of Davy Jeanney and 2016 FIA European Rallycross Champion Kevin Hansen will also be in action at the penultimate round of World RX.