FIA World Rally Championship front runner Thierry Neuville says he’s “learn’t a lot” after competing at the All-Star ‘Magic Weekend‘ and has admitted he’s looking to enter more RallyX Nordic events in the future.
Five-time WRC championship runner-up Neuville teamed up with the reigning FIA World Rallycross champion Timmy Hansen as part of the new LifeLive Nordic team and debuted the new TN5 Crosskart with the objective of simply further developing the car.
He went on to set some eye-catching results including a quickest time in Q3 of round two as well as reaching the final in the opening round of the season, despite two engine changes across the four days.
He said on his weekend: “It was an enjoyable and challenging weekend, we were a bit unlucky with the weather on Sunday – there were some sessions where we had wet races and it was quite dry for others, but we still had a great weekend. On my side, we had a bit of a struggle, but the team did a good job to build two new engines during the week – it was a great team effort.”
“I was able to finish on a high in the tricky conditions; I won two races and Timmy won one as well, so that was quite an improvement for us. Especially when it rained, we were among the fastest; in the dry, there’s still some work for us to develop the car.
He continued: “We came to the unknown here and we discovered a lot of things that are different to how our car has been developed. That’s why we’re here – we took the challenge and we learned a lot, and we’re really looking forward to coming back very soon to improve the car for fantastic rallycross tracks like Höljes. It was definitely not the last time I’ll be doing this…”
WRX regular Hansen also entered the class in a TN5 at Höljes although struggled for pace throughout the weekend, with the highlight being a heat win .
It was amazing to be back at a real race track and to do a real race, I’ve been waiting for this for so long, and the feeling is outstanding. It was also a big challenge for me to adapt to a completely different driving style in these little cars, up against the toughest competition there is.” Hansen said.
“I had a difficult weekend; we had a lot of work to do with the chassis and the car, so we tried several things and took a few steps forward. We adapted well and ended on a high in Q4 on Sunday, being fast in the wet. There’s no better way to learn than to go up against the best and the results were promising, but we need to continue to work.”
Kobe Pauwels also joined Hansen and Neuville in a third TN5 crosskart but he was off the pace by only reaching a top 20 position while fellow Belgian Thomas Martens entered the Crosskart Junior class where he reached the final on Sunday.
“This was our first event as LifeLive Nordic running the TN5, and we ran four of them at once! This was probably the biggest CrossCar event in the Nordic region ever, and with very fast competitors, so it was a great place to test the car competitively.” Kenneth Hansen, Team Manager of LifeLive Nordic, added.
“We worked hard over the weekend to make the car faster and faster. We weren’t quite on the pace at the start but we performed especially well in the wet, so we need to study carefully what worked and what didn’t, learn from that and develop the TN5 even more.
“The team is very small and there are no engineers, so Thierry and Timmy were very involved in developing the car. They were very quick to pick up on areas to improve; we’d try one thing on one car and another thing on the other, and we made plenty of progress with that, which helped to give the drivers more confidence.”
Neuville is set to return to FIA World Rally Championship action on Rally Estonia at the beginning of September.