The next round of the FIA World Rallycross Championship at Trois-Rivières in Canada looms closer and closer (5-6 August), and Swedish-French Team Peugeot-Hansen feels more than prepared to tackle the North American challenge.
In the four weeks that followed the last round in Höljes, Sweden, the team’s lead driver, French rally legend Sébastien Loeb, took part in the Silk Way Rally, where he sustained injuries on his left hand, but has now luckily recovered. Team-mate Timmy Hansen took part in a mid-season testing session in Riga, Latvia, where a number of improvements have been evaluated and will soon be fitted to the Championship-contesting cars. Also, Timmy, alongside his younger brother Kevin and team boss dad Kenneth Hansen all took part in a 10-hour endurance race at Magny-Cours in France, sharing a Peugeot 208 RacingCup car at the Rencontres Peugeot Sport meeting.
The testing session, in particular, seems to have boosted Hansen Sr.’s confidence: after having shown promising pace throughout the past events, and looking set for outright victory in Belgium (where a puncture on Timmy’s car meant he narrowly lost to Volkswagen’s Johan Kristoffersson), Kenneth believes the 208 WRX is ready to give the team their third win in a row on Canadian soil:
“Trois Rivières calls for high top speeds and I am sure our car is capable of finishing on the podium, perhaps even on the top step.
“Rallycross is a sport where anything can happen, as we proved in Canada last year when Timmy won the final after starting from the back of the grid!”
Peugeot-Hansen’s first win in Canada came in 2015, courtesy of French driver Davy Jeanney, who entered the semi-finals after qualifying fourth, behind top qualifier and team-mate Timmy Hansen, Audi’s Mattias Ekström and defending World Champion Petter Solberg. Heavy contact between Hansen and Solberg in their semi-final meant the Swede’s car was too damaged to finish the race, while the Norwegian closed in fourth, just outside the finals. Jeanney’s brilliant driving allowed him to bring home his and the team’s second win of the season after Germany.
In 2016, Hansen only qualified tenth overall, and finished fourth in his semi-final. Later on, Russian driver as well as former team-mate, Timur Timerzyanov, was disqualified by the stewards: Hansen, then, was chosen as the reserve driver to take Timerzyanov’s place. Despite his unfavourable starting position, a well-played joker lap strategy allowed him to take his only win of the season, ahead of Norway’s Andreas Bakkerud.
Action at the World RX of Canada starts on Saturday, 5 August, with the first practice session at 09:15 local time.