Team Peugeot-Hansen are quietly confident ahead of the start of the 2017 FIA World Rallycross Championship, having spent the winter re-developing the Peugeot 208 WRX Supercar as they look to get back into the title hunt.
The team has expanded to a three car operation for 2017 with 2016 World RX of Latvia winner Sebastien Loeb returning for his second season in World RX whilst Timmy Hansen is looking for a return to form that saw him challenge for the Drivers title in 2015. 2016 FIA European Rallycross Champion Kevin Hansen steps up to World RX full time in 2017 and will be one to watch as the year plays out.
Team Principal Kenneth Hansen explains the work that has gone into the Peugeot for this season.
“We have worked tirelessly all winter to make sure that the 2017-spec 208 WRX is the best yet. We are in the fortunate position of having three of the championship’s best drivers in our team and, as long as we provide them with a car that inspires confidence, we know they are capable of producing extraordinary performances,” said Hansen.
“The calibre looks set to be higher than ever this year, with four manufacturers now officially represented on the grid. Barcelona is a track where we have been competitive in the past and one that all of our drivers enjoy, so I’m looking forward to seeing how the action unfolds.”
Loeb is confident in how the updated car will perform this weekend in Spain.
“The team has put in a tremendous effort over the off-season and, following our most recent test at Lydden Hill, I feel confident that the car has taken a step forward in practically every area, from the engine and chassis to the gearing and damping,” explained the Frenchman.
“Essentially, it is a more competitive proposition all-round, and it should be more adaptable and quicker than before on lower-grip circuits. Barcelona won’t unduly challenge us in that respect, but it will nonetheless be a fascinating weekend as it will mark our first direct comparison with our rivals, all of whom have similarly stepped it up a notch over the winter months.”
Timmy Hansen is eager to repeat his 2016 performance in Spain this weekend.
“We can really push this new car to the limit, and it truly rewards an assertive and attacking driving style. I can’t wait to line up on the starting grid in Barcelona, especially as the 208 now has an awesome new livery and a variety of aerodynamic appendages that make it look even more aggressive!” said Hansen.
“Barcelona as a circuit should suit us well. Last year, I was on pole position there in the semi-final and finished second in the final. I’m looking forward to starting the new season there.”
Kevin Hansen will be driving a 2016 Peugeot and feels prepared to take on the World RX regulars.
“The 2016-spec 208 WRX that I will be racing this season is a step-up on the car that I drove last year. It’s fantastic to be kicking things off in Barcelona behind the wheel of a car in which I really feel at home. The 208 was already on the pace in Spain six months ago, and it has undergone considerable further development since then,” explained the younger Hansen. “I feel better-prepared than ever as I embark upon my first full campaign at World Championship level.”