Kenneth Hansen: “Victory was within reach at Mettet”

Timmy Hansen goes on to finish second in Mettet - Photo credit: FIA World RX

A thrilling weekend for Team Peugeot-Hansen at round four of the FIA World Rallycross Championship in Mettet, Belgium, this weekend.

First of all, Timmy Hansen impressed by qualifying third overall in his Peugeot 208 WRX Supercar, winning his semifinal and gaining a front-row spot in the final, alongside two-time World Champion Petter Solberg. Hansen then benefited from a marvellous start, immediately seizing the lead and working hard to keep it, until a puncture on the final lap slowed him down, eventually finishing second to Johan Kristoffersson‘s VW Polo and ahead of Solberg’s identical car.

Things didn’t go quite as planned for Peugeot-Hansen’s lead driver, French rally star Sébastien Loeb. The Alsatian was immediately on his competitors’ pace in the first qualifying rounds and all the way to Q3, but in the last of the qualifying heat, contact with another driver dropped him down on the leaderboard. From bad to worse in his semifinal, where he sustained even harder contact, damaging his car so severely that he stopped, thus missing out on a potential final result.

As for the team’s third driver, 18-year-old Kevin Hansen, he showed pretty good pace on Saturday’s qualifying heats, until a big shunt in Q3 definitely put him out of contention, as his car couldn’t be fixed on time.

“We made good progress over the weekend,” says Peugeot-Hansen’s team principal, Kenneth Hansen. “We had victory in our grasp when Timmy unfortunately picked up a puncture on the last lap of the final. He was forced to settle for second spot at the last moment, less than a second short of the day’s winner.

“Otherwise, the gaps suggest the PEUGEOT 208 WRX would have won. Sébastien, on the other hand, fell foul of the first turn at Mettet which can sometimes be something of a lottery. He was unable to show his true potential in his semi-final.”

The team is now getting ready for the next round of the championship, at the historic Lydden Hill circuit in Kent, England, on the last weekend of May.