Team Peugeot-Hansen secured its second win of the 2016 FIA World Rallycross Championship as Sebastien Loeb took a commanding win in the World RX of Latvia Supercar Final whilst team-mate Timmy Hansen scored third place to complete the podium.
Loeb enjoyed a consistent Qualifying were he finished in third place in Q1, Q2 and Q4. Contact with Hansen in Q3 saw both drivers fall down the order with Loeb in seventeenth place just ahead of his Swedish team-mate. Hansen himself stayed within the top five during Qualifying apart from his Q3 race performance and this mean that both drivers would qualify for the Semi-Finals where Loeb would take the win ahead of Johan Kristoffersson with Timmy coming home third.
Loeb would go on to make a clean getaway at the start of the Supercar Final where he was never headed. To make his performance in the tricky conditions all the more impressive, Loeb set four consecutive fastest laps during the race to take his maiden World RX win ahead of Mattias Ekstrom and Hansen.
The French driver was very happy with his first victory in the championship:
“We had a few delicate moments but it turned out to be a tremendous weekend. Timmy and I effectively collided during Q3 but the speed we have shown since Barcelona enabled us to battle for the win. The rain reminded me of when I used to compete on wet asphalt in rallying,” explained Loeb. “I could feel the movement of my tyres and I had a very good feeling with my car. I am very pleased for my chief mechanic who lives in Latvia, as well as for the entire team. Everyone has worked so hard since the beginning of the season.”
Hansen was very proud to see his team-mate take his first win in the series:
“It was something of a dramatic weekend but it ended with Sébastien’s first ever world rallycross victory. It was his day and I am very proud of what he achieved. The PEUGEOT 208 WRX was fast all weekend around what is a highly challenging circuit technically – both in the dry and in the wet. Today’s conditions were extremely difficult, so we can take pride in this result.”
Davy Jeanney was back in action in the Peugeot-Hansen Academy 208 WRX and and after finishing in 10th place overall after the end of Qualifying, the two time World RX event winner lost out on a place in the Final after coming home in fifth place in Semi-Final Two, finishing just two-hundredths behind Timo Scheider in the Munnich Motorsport SEAT Ibiza.
Jeanney was honest about his performance in the inaugural World RX of Latvia:
“Friday went pretty well for me and I ended the day in seventh spot. The rain changed the conditions, though, and I was no longer in the swing. After Q3, I had a fire extinguisher problem which unfortunately damaged my turbocharger. I was consequently cautious in Q4 to make sure I reached the semi-finals. A small error cost me a place in the final. I had nobody to blame but myself.”
Meanwhile Kevin Hansen was looking to take his fifth win of the 2016 FIA European Rallycross Championship after dominating the season so far. He began well with being Top Qualifier after all four Qualifying sessions however in Semi-Final One, he lost ground at the start and had to fightback through the field after dropping to fifth place.
Hansen would go on to finish in second place in the race which gave him the middle row to start from in the Euro RX Supercar Final. After another difficult start in the Final, Hansen fought back after an early joker to claim second place behind winner Tommy Rustad, and the young Swedish driver was very happy with this performance.
“The first day went well for me but Sunday in the rain was more difficult. My power steering failed during Q4 which wasn’t ideal just before the semi-final. It was also quite tiring! Indeed, I got away to a poor start and I effectively ended up second. My semi-final was quite chaotic again,” explained the 2016 Euro RX Champion. “In the final, someone pushed me off at Turn 3. I re-joined in last position, so I decided to push hard and I succeeded in picking off the other drivers one by one. I even thought I might find a way past Rustad to win, but I failed by a few tenths of a second. Never mind. That comeback felt almost like a win!”
The Franco-Swedish squad will be looking to repeat its 2015 performance next time out as the FIA World Rallycross Championship heads to Germany for its penultimate event in the 2016 calendar where Davy Jeanney scored his second World RX victory last year.