Timmy Hansen scored his second podium of the 2020 FIA World Rallycross Championship after narrowly beating brother Kevin Hansen.
Timmy showed great speed throughout the day and he needed it to reach the final after he found himself at the back in his semi-final. He managed to overcut Reinis Nitiss and Krisztian Szabo to make the back row of the grid.
In the final Timmy pushed hard to make a last lap joker work having lost time due to Robin Larsson‘s spin at turn two. The reigning champion emerged a car length ahead of his brother to claim third place for his efforts.
He said: “This was a day where we had to fight hard to get this podium finish, but I’m very happy to have got there in the end. There were plenty of good things which came from our testing and development and the team’s hard work before this event.
“The car feels better on the track, it’s a bit easier for me to drive and therefore a bit faster, with better exits. That’s been a good step forward on the track today.
“We managed to set the fastest lap time several times today, so there were big positives. The main difficulty remains launches off the start; to have better success tomorrow, we need to try and not end up at the back after turn one but be at the front to dictate the pace, instead of chasing. That’s what we’ll be focusing on this evening.
“We have some really good signs regarding our launches, so I do believe that tomorrow will be a very different day and that we can be even closer to the front. I want that victory, I don’t want to end the season without one, so tomorrow may be the day for it.”
Kevin was on the pace of Timmy too but could not quite capitalise on the turn one drama. Despite starting at the back in the final, Kevin made his way around the chaos and found himself in second.
He was forced to cover off Niclas Grönholm‘s early joker lap and was then pressured by the Finn for much of the race. Their squabbling allowed Timmy and Mattias Ekström to jump the pair so Kevin had to settle for fourth.
Kevin said: “We got the best run in Q1 with the race win, so the pace was there. We struggled a bit in Q2 and Q3 but we’ve understood what we need to improve.
“I was really happy with my start in the final of course. I wasn’t in the mix off the line, so I went early on the brakes for an undercut at the first chicane, which worked out well to be in second place after starting sixth! But I had to make a big save on the chicane exit which meant the tyres got a little bit hot, and that made the rest of the race a bit harder.
“I was also fighting a lot with Timmy today! I just missed out on beating him in the final as I was a bit preoccupied fighting off Grönholm, but it’s good that it was Timmy that managed to beat me to the podium and not someone else. It’s great for the team to get another podium today and I hope we can replicate that tomorrow.
“It’s also really nice to have the fans back today. It feels like we’re back to a proper sporting atmosphere when they’re at the track, so it’s great to see them here again.”
Track position proved pivotal in Riga and with the joker lap at the end of the lap it was difficult to set a quick race time if you were not out in front. Both Timmy and Kevin will look to have better starts tomorrow so they are in a position to command the race.