Trois-Rivières, 04 August 2019 – Team HANSEN MJP faced its most challenging FIA World Rallycross Championship round of 2019 in Canada, wich features the fastest top speed of the calendar, as its lead in both championships were reduced and one of its two cars made the Finals.
Kevin Hansen continues to lead the World RX drivers’ championship but no longer has his older brother as his closest rival, with Timmy falling to third as two strong qualifying runs were outweighed by issues in the other two.
Starting from the outside lane twice on Saturday, Kevin struggled for track position at first, though a Q4 heat win put him ninth in qualifying on aggregate.
A brilliant semi-final performance by Kevin promoted him from fifth to third, making a great start and then pulling off an early joker strategy to leapfrog Niclas Grönholm.
He made a similarly bright start to the final, passing the GCK cars of Anton Marklund and Guerlain Chicherit at turn one. But a clash with Marklund damaged his car and forced him to pull up a lap from the end while running fifth, ending his chances of a stunning podium finish. He was later excluded from the final by stewards due to contact with Marklund’s GCK machine.
Timmy’s weekend was also stalled by contact, losing precious time on his Q2 run after hitting the tyre barrier at the exit of turn two, then being hit by other cars four times in Q4 that forced him to limp to the finish line in 15th.
Despite the tumultuous weekend Team HANSEN MJP still has a 17 point lead in the FIA World RX teams’ championship, while Kevin holds a five point lead in the drivers’ championship, Third-placed Timmy is now 14 points behind Kevin.
WORLD RX OF CANADA RESULTS :
13th – Timmy Hansen
Qualifying 1 – 5th
Qualifying 2 – 14th
Qualifying 3 – 4th
Qualifying 4 – 15th
6th – Kevin Hansen
Qualifying 1 –10th
Qualifying 2 – 11th
Qualifying 3 – 7th
Qualifying 4 – 5th
Semi-Final 2 – 3rd
Final – DQ
The lead gap in both championships narrowed at Trois-Rivières: not great news for us, but good news for the fans seeking an exciting end to the season!
Turn one at Trois-Rivières lived up to its reputation as a flashpoint for trouble, with Timmy held up there on his Q4 run and Kevin pulling off a sublime full-lock drift after being tapped into a spin at the start of Q2.
This is only the second time in 2019 that a Team HANSEN MJP driver has not finished on the podium. The other instance was round three at Spa-Francorchamps, where Timmy finished fourth in the final.
The big number
Timmy’s qualifying position heading into Q4, demonstrating how close the FIA World RX championship has been this year.
“There were two key moments: my own mistake in Q2 and being in the wrong place at the wrong time twice in Q4, which wasn’t down to me. I had a great run off the start but was in the wrong place at the wrong time. That’s racing, I just have to accept it. It feels a lot like Abu Dhabi. There I was taken out for reasons beyond my control and it felt like the same thing here again, with cars spinning out in front of me. Grönholm was definitely fast but we were going really fast as well and things were going well, and it was all taken away quite suddenly. It felt like a big surprise. So having to watch Bakkerud go past me in the championship, without being on the track to defend my position, was tough.”
“The first day was tricky. The speed was there but we had to start from the outside, which is really tricky in Hell. For the second day we adopted some of Timmy’s set-up, made some changes, and that seemed to make a difference.
“Looking at what happened when the rain came, starting from the second row for the Semi Final was a lot better than the first, so I was very happy to start there! We pulled off some amazing launches in the wet.
“I had to drive carefully in the Final as there was wiper fluid spraying everywhere inside the car! That also meant I couldn’t clear mud from the windscreen too. But we managed to cope with that well. Gronholm behind me pushed so hard but we kept our cool, did our thing and kept the grip all the way. With a good joker lap we managed to finish P2 but then got a penalty and were P3 instead. It’s not nice when you get a penalty but in the end I think it was a fair decision.”
THE BOSS – KENNETH HANSEN
“It was a bit of a mixed weekend for us. Saturday wasn’t ideal with a few mistakes from us as a team and some problems for the drivers out on the track. Sunday went much better but in the end, it wasn’t the result we wanted.
“Looking at the positives, we did learn a lot. We expected to have a little more speed here but we’ve learned a lot and there are some things we’ll do differently for the future, especially the next round at Höljes, our home event.”
WORLD RX OF FRANCE
There’s only three rounds to go in this year’s FIA World RX season, and the next stop is something of a second home race for Team HANSEN MJP: France.
Thanks to running the Peugeot 208 WRX since the world championship’s inception in 2014, the team gets plenty of support from local fans.
Timmy Hansen scored his second career win at Lohéac in 2015, so hopes are high of a return to form in France.