Sébastien Loeb steers second place in Portugal
Round 2 of the 2017 FIA World Rallycross Championship saw Sébastien Loeb earn Team Peugeot Hansen’s first podium finish of the season in front of packed grandstands at sunny Montalegre, Portugal.
- Portugal’s round of the 2017 FIA World Rallycross Championship turned out to be an emotional rollercoaster for Team Peugeot Hansen. After a drama-packed qualifying phase, however, Sébastien Loeb and Timmy Hansen reached the final in which they were both competitive. In addition to posting the fastest lap in the final, Sébastien Loeb produced a superb run to cross the line in second place. Timmy Hansen rounded out the team’s performance by claiming fourth spot. Today’s result has promoted Team Peugeot Hansen to third in the provisional Teams’ standings.
- Timmy Hansen’s speed went unrewarded after he found himself blocked several times by slower competitors during the qualifying phase, but a number of spectacular passes earned him a place in the final.
- Thanks to another remarkable performance, Kevin Hansen ended up as the first reserve for the final in his 2016-specification car.
Kenneth Hansen (Team Principal):
“We fully deserved today’s podium. We always knew this was going to be a very competitive season but this weekend we showed that we have the speed to play a front-running role. It was extremely satisfying to see Sébastien come second, while Timmy finished just shy of the podium. Our spotters had to be particularly attentive with regard to the timing of our joker laps because the split in the track came just after the start and we occasionally had to adjust our strategy as a function of how the starts unfolded. That was the case in the final, but the day ended very well indeed.”
Sébastien Loeb, 2nd (Driver Peugeot 208 WRX #9)
“It’s great to have finished on the podium for the first time this year. My season got off to a poor start at the opening round, so it was vital to bounce back. We picked up pace as the weekend progressed. That said, as at Barcelona, Q3 turned out to be very frustrating when I found myself behind a driver who span just in front of me. It was a costly incident for me. Without it, I would have been on pole for my semi-final and the outcome could have been different because I was fast in the final. I still came away with 23 points, so that’s a real positive.”
Timmy Hansen, 4th (Peugeot 208 WRX #21)
“It was a solid weekend for the team, with both cars in the final. Unfortunately, my speed didn’t pay off because I was slowed several times by other drivers in qualifying. As a result, I had to be as incisive as possible and I managed to pass five cars. That may have been entertaining for the spectators but it wasn’t great for my lap times. On top of that, I lost power halfway into the final. Otherwise I’m convinced I could have been with Sébastien on the podium because I was right behind him at that point. I can’t wait to have a race where I get a clear run. I hope that will be at Hockenheim.”
Kevin Hansen, 8th (Peugeot 208 WRX #71)
“It was a good weekend and I received a lot of encouragement. I am pleased to have got so close to qualifying for the final. In my semi-final, I changed my strategy at the last minute, just after the start. I pushed as hard as I could but it was tough to keep up with Petter Solberg in a 2016-spec car, especially as I picked up a puncture towards the end. It would have been difficult to do any better.”
FINAL POSITIONS – MONTALEGRE (April 23, 2017)
1. Mattias Ekström (Audi S1)
2. Sébastien Loeb (Peugeot 208 WRX)
3. Johan Kristoffersson (Volkswagen Polo GTI)
4. Timmy Hansen (Peugeot 208 WRX
5. Reiniss Nitis (Audi S1)
6. Petter Solberg (Volkswagen Polo GTI)
CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS AFTER TWO ROUNDS
1. Mattias Ekström (Audi S1), 58 points
2. Johan Kristoffersson (Volkswagen Polo GTI), 44 points
3. Petter Solberg (Volkswagen Polo GTI), 42 points
4. Andreas Bakkerud (Ford Focus RS), 30 points
5. Timo Scheider (Ford Fiesta), 28 points
6. Sébastien Loeb (Peugeot 208 WRX), 26 points
7. Reiniss Nitis (Audi S1), 26 points
8. Timmy Hansen (Peugeot 208 WRX), 23 points*
9. Kevin Hansen (Peugeot 208 WRX), 21 points
10. Toomas Heikkinen (Audi S1), 19 points
1. Volkswagen PSRX, 86 points
2. EKS Audi, 77 points
3. Team Peugeot Hansen, 49 points*
4. Hoonigan Racing Division, 49 points
5. MJP Racing Team Austria, 35 points
6. STARD, 24 points
* This score takes into account the 10-point penalty incurred by Timmy Hansen for a tyre-marking error in the third qualifying heat.