HISTORIC ONE-TWO FOR HANSEN BROTHERS IN BARCELONA

Barcelona, 28 April 2019 – Team Hansen MJP recorded a sensational FIA World Rallycross Championship result, with Timmy Hansen winning every single qualifying session, his semi-final and the final, while championship leader Kevin Hansen made it a Hansen family 1-2 in the final for a unprecedented result in FIA World Rallycross history.

Timmy Hansen claimed his first 2019 WRX victory – the sixth of his career – with younger brother and Abu Dhabi winner Kevin Hansen finishing second. The Hansen name topped every session from the start of qualifying as they dominated in Barcelona. The incredible performances from Timmy and Kevin are reflected in the championship standings, with Team Hansen MJP leading the 2019 WRX Team Standings by 18 points, while Kevin remains on top of the 2019 WRX Driver Standings and Timmy climbs to third with his victory.

After a devastating first round in Abu Dhabi for Timmy, which required a complete rebuild of his Peugeot 208 WRX after a collision with Andreas Bakkerud, he proved himself as the driver to beat from the start of Q1 in Barcelona. Timmy won the opening qualifying session and every one after that, seizing a maximum allocation of qualifying points, while Kevin emerged second after the qualifying heats with impressive and consistent speed.

Their qualifying performances meant that the brothers were seeded separately for the semi-finals, as Timmy and Kevin lined up for semi-final 1 and semi-final 2 respectively. Both drivers took dominant victories in their semi-finals, with healthy leads of 2.148s and 2.525s for Timmy and Kevin respectively.

Timmy produced a faultless performance in the final to claim an untroubled victory, taking his mandatory joker visit on the last lap. Rounding off the Hansen one-two finish, Kevin put on a brilliant display of driving while employing some fine race craft to hold off his rivals. Kevin took his joker while running second on the fifth lap, passing Niclas Gronholm afterwards to take third with one lap remaining. On the final lap, Andreas Bakkerud took his joker, handing Kevin the opportunity to close in and pounce, claiming second in the closing stages of a nail-biting final.

WORLD RX OF CATALUNYA-BARCELONA RESULTS

1st -Timmy Hansen

Qualifying 1   –  1nd
Qualifying 2   –  1th
Qualifying 3   –  1st
Qualifying 4   –  1st
Semi-Final   –  1st
Final   –  1st

2st – Kevin Hansen

Qualifying 1   –  2nd
Qualifying 2   –  2th
Qualifying 3   –  5st
Qualifying 4   –  4st
Semi-Final   –  1st
Final   –  2st

TALKING POINTS

Timmy bounced back from a disappointing Abu Dhabi to deliver a dominant and unbeatable weekend in Barcelona, becoming the third driver in WRX history to deliver a clean sweep.

The Hansen name will go down in history as the first siblings to claim a one-two finish on an FIA World Rallycross Championship event.

Timmy and Kevin also ensured that the Hansen name joins an elite club of families to have scored a sibling one-two in an FIA World Championship event: the other two are Michael and Ralf Schumacher in Formula 1, as well as Colin and Alister McRae in the European Rally Championship.

An enormous effort to simply be on the WRX grid at all this year has blossomed into incredible success, with Hansen leading both the drivers’ and teams’ championships after Barcelona.

The big number

100

The percentage of points available from a single FIA World Rallycross Championship event that Team Hansen MJP scored at Barcelona this weekend.

TIMMY HANSEN

“I think this has been the best weekend of my career so far. We got off to the best possible start on Saturday, winning the qualifying heats, and then we won the semi-final too. For the final I lined up against Kevin, and we played a good team game as we agreed that we would give each other plenty of room. The final was perfect as well, and when I saw in my mirror that Kevin was behind me to finish second, that was a really special moment as well. I was actually feeling very emotional: this was the perfect revenge after everything that happened in Abu Dhabi. Now I’m just going to enjoy the moment and head to Spa with even more confidence.”

KEVIN HANSEN

“We had a really good Q1 and Q2; then I had to get my elbows out a bit more in Q3 and Q4, but I really enjoyed it. I got the fastest lap of the weekend too, which made me really happy, as the ultimate pace compared to Timmy is perhaps the area where I’ve been lacking before, but now we’re getting there. Timmy did an amazing job this weekend; he really deserved to win. I wouldn’t say that he was completely uncatchable as there were times that I was close to him, but we drive each other on, which is perfect as it’s all about the team. Now I’ve extended my championship lead but this is not something that I’ve been thinking about much: we’re only on round two out of 10 so there’s a really long way to go.”

KENNETH HANSEN

« I’ve been fortunate enough to have a lot of success in my career as a driver, winning many races and championships, but actually I think this feeling right now is even better. I can’t actually believe that it’s happened, so it’s going to take a while to sink in. There’s no way that we could have done better – so the expectation is even higher now, as the very best we could do from now on is equal what we have achieved now. And I think that will be very difficult to do, but of course we will try.

« I feel so happy and most of all so proud, both of what we have created with the Hansen MJP team but also as a dad. It’s hard to describe what it’s like seeing your boys finishing first and second, fighting so hard but so fairly. They think of the team first and they’re great friends. I think Timmy had something extra this weekend, while Kevin had to fight a bit harder, but they learn from each other all the time and that’s the biggest strength of our family team. »

NEXT ROUND: WORLD RX OF BELGIUM

Round three of the FIA World Rallycross Championship will be held at the iconic Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps, which makes its WRX debut in 2019. Belgium has a long history in rallycross, with Spa replacing the Mettet round. Already a host to some of the greatest races in the world, Spa will be a new experience for all teams and drivers arriving at the atmospheric Belgian venue. Eau Rouge, perhaps the most famous corner in the world, is set to have a starring role in the Spa World RX of Benelux: will anybody dare to take it flat?

A FIFTH CONSECUTIVE PODIUM FOR THE C3 WRC AS OGIERINGRASSIA FINISH THIRD IN ARGENTINA!

Sébastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia produced another heroic performance to claim their fourth podium of the season and Citroën Total World Rally Team’s fifth in 2019, after a nail-biting finish on the final stage!

After a ten-second penalty was handed to their direct rivals for the final podium place by the rally organisers late last night for failing to follow the racing route on one of Saturday’s stages, Sébastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia went into today’s final leg in third position. They held a slim 6.0s lead as they prepared to tackle the very rough stages of El Condor and Giulio Cesare. Displaying their famous neversay-die attitude, the six-time world champions put up a determined fight in the C3 WRC, whilst not forgetting the importance of ensuring they secured big points for the championship. Their efforts were rewarded in the end: victory on the Power Stage, their third stage win of the weekend, saw them hang onto the final podium spot by just 1.4s!

Sébastien and Julien’s third position, combined with the five bonus points earned on the Power Stage, means they consolidated their hold on second place in the world championship, ten points behind the leaders. This is their fourth podium this year, after winning in Monte-Carlo and Mexico, and finishing as runners-up in Corsica. It is also the fifth time in as many events this season that Citroën Total World Rally Team has finished in the top three.

Despite the difficult, changeable grip conditions, particularly on the opening day after the heavy rain that fell prior to the event, the French crew made an excellent start, consistently among the frontrunners to end the leg second overall, just 11.9s behind the leaders. Day two proved to be trickier. Confused about which route to take on the morning loop (SS11) by a gate left open – whereas the roadbook indicated it was meant to be closed – Sébastien and Julien hesitated and ended up damaging the power steering of their C3 WRC when they hit the gate. They therefore dropped back to sixth position, 21.8s adrift of the podium. They then fought back like the champions they are on the second loop, claiming two stage wins on their way to fourth overall, keeping them in with a good chance of finishing on the podium going into the final day.

After making a decent start with a fifth fastest time on the rally’s first proper stage (SS2), Esapekka Lappi and Janne Ferm were unfortunately then held up by a puncture immediately afterwards (SS4) when they hit a bank following a crest. The Finnish pair were gradually upping their pace on what was only their second appearance in Argentina – as could be seen in their promising split times – when a tyre came loose following a puncture, rolling the car (SS8) and forcing them to retire from the rally on the opening leg.

Competing in the WRC2 Pro class in a C3 R5, Mads Østberg and Torstein Eriksen claimed their second consecutive category win after Rally Sweden, whilst also amassing a handsome tally of ten stage wins from the overall total of seventeen contested. Yet further evidence of the competitiveness of Citroën Racing’s flagship customer racing product on the very demanding Argentinian roads, where the C3 R5 was competing for the first time.

REACTIONS FROM…

Sébastien Ogier, Citroën Total WRT driver “It’s a pretty good result in terms of points, but we can’t be pleased with our out-and-out performance level. There are some conditions, like those we saw in Mexico or here on the second runs, where we are fairly competitive. But we have to improve when there is less grip or when the road is more technical. I’m pleased to see our persistence rewarded, because once again this weekend we pushed as hard as possible right to the end.”

Esapekka Lappi, Citroën Total WRT driver “Despite not knowing the roads here particularly well, I was obviously hoping for a better outcome from this round. But after we had picked up a puncture, I was caught out when the tyre suddenly came loose. Thiscaused the car to understeer, we hit a bank at the side of the road and rolled the car. Obviously, I’m sorry for the team, but after a few days’ rest with my family, Janne and I will back raring to go and have the best Rally Chile possible, where we’ll all be on an equal footing in terms of experience.”

TWO QUESTIONS FOR PIERRE BUDAR, CITROËN RACING TEAM PRINCIPAL

How do you assess your performance in Argentina?

It was clearly a tough weekend, one that we can’t be satisfied with. The points for third place and from the Power Stage are fairly positive as regards the championship, but we lacked pace on these roads. The result is down in large part to Sébastien and Julien’s relentless commitment and persistence. Meanwhile, Esapekka and Janne deserved at least to make it to the end of the rally, in order to keep adding to their experience. Perhaps in future they will need to manage a puncture differently, but we are still 200% behind them so that they can finally get back on the right track in Chile.

How are you intending to tackle the transition to Rally Chile?

First of all, we’ll be shipping the backup C3 WRC out to Chile for Esapekka and Janne, so that they will have a completely new car for the event. Although we have relatively little time, we are also going to get to work on improving the C3 WRC as much as possible in clearly identified conditions, and define the best set-up for the rally. It’s a new event for everyone, and will also be fairly different to what we experienced this weekend. In any case, we are all fired up to keep fighting as hard as possible for the championship.

THE HIGHLIGHT OF THE WEEKEND

Jean-Luc Gaucher, Sébastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia’s Chief mechanic, was the man in charge of coordinating Saturday’s mid-leg service, during which the Citroën mechanics repaired the stricken number 1 C3 WRC. He told us about how they took just forty minutes to repair the car’s power steering, broken by the French crew in a minor impact.

“Actually, we had a whole load of parts to replace. The entire power steering, of course, but also the gearbox, the hydraulic unit and the clutch. Generally speaking, these sorts of repairs need careful planning beforehand, so that everyone knows precisely what order to do things in and so that everything goes smoothly once you get started. Given that we only had one car left in the race at that point, we could have all eight of our mechanics involved, but on the other hand, we were limited by the physical space to four people working on the front on the car, in the critical area. Although we train for this kind of situation, it’s always satisfying to see things work out when it’s for real. It was important to get the car working again as quickly as possible, because when you work on the hydraulics, the start-up procedure takes quite a bit of time, but that’s precisely what we managed to do. After a long, difficult service like this, there’s always a niggling fear that you might have missed something, so it was nice – and reassuring – for all of us to see Sébastien and Julien grab two consecutive stage wins straight afterwards!”

FINAL PROVISIONAL STANDINGS

1. Neuville / Gilsoul (Hyundai i20 WRC) 3:20:54.6
2. Mikkelsen / Jaeger (Hyundai i20 WRC) +48.4
3. Ogier / Ingrassia (Citroën C3 WRC) +1:04.8
4. Meeke / Marshall (Toyota Yaris WRC) +1:06.2
5. Latvala / Anttila (Toyota Yaris WRC) +1:21.1
6. Sordo / Del Barrio (Hyundai i20 WRC) +1:26.7
7. Suninen / Salminen (Ford Fiesta WRC) +4:57.3
8. Tänak / Järveoja (Toyota Yaris WRC) +14:24.8
9. Østberg / Eriksen (Citroën C3 R5) +14:28.5

DRIVERS’ WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP

1. Thierry Neuville – 110 points
2. Sébastien Ogier – 100 points
3. Ott Tänak – 82 points 4. Kris Meeke – 54 points
5. Elfyn Evans – 43 points
6. Andreas Mikkelsen – 30 points
7. Jari-Matti Latvala – 28 points
8. Esapekka Lappi – 26 points
9. Dani Sordo – 26 points
10. Sébastien Loeb – 22 points

MANUFACTURERS’ WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP

1. Hyundai WRT – 157 points
2. Toyota Gazoo Racing – 120 points
3. Citroën Total WRT – 117 points
4. M-Sport Ford WRT – 78 points

FIRST AND SECOND FOR DS TECHEETAH AND ANDRÉ LOTTERER IN PARIS

The 4th edition of the Paris E-Prix and the home race of DS Automobiles saw the first ever wet race in ABB FIA Formula E championship history take place. DS TECHEETAH had another successful run on the streets of the French capitol securing another second place for André Lotterer and a sixth position for Jean-Éric Vergne.

André and team-mate Jean-Éric started P6 and P12 respectively and quickly worked themselves up the pack. Around 15 minutes into the race, the sky opened up and what started as a drizzle quickly turned into hail to trigger a safety car. It continued to rain intermittently for the remaining 30min of the race, triggering various yellow flags limiting the racing opportunities after numerous crashes.

DS TECHEETAH remains on top of the Teams’ standings with André Lotterer securing second and Jean-Éric Vergne sixth in the Drivers’ Standings.

André Lotterer, P2: “Really good operation here today in Paris. A home race for the team where we brought back a second place and some really good points for the championship battle. I was catching Robin and was going to go for the win, but then it started to rain, and the grip drop massively. It got really unsafe out there, so I decided to keep it safe and bring it home. It was not possible to do any attack without risk. It was a good effort from the team today and Jean-Éric had a good race too. We’re leading the team championship and second only one point behind the leader, so we will see what we can do in the next race.”

Jean-Éric Vergne, P6: “The Paris E-Prix is over. Congratulation to André for another second position. It’s good for us as a team because we’ve extended our lead in the championship. As for me, it’s a bit of mixed emotions. Qualifying went pretty bad for me, but the race went very well. Starting 12th and coming back 6th was the absolutely maximum I could have done today. I will take those points happily, they’ll matter a lot at the end of the championship in New York. I’m happy to move forward, head to Monaco, and try to improve everything. I’m just going to try to score more points and have my second win of the season.”

Mark Preston, DS TECHEETAH Team Principal: “Great drive by both our drivers today. They both managed to deliver some solid overtakes on a track that’s known for being near impossible to overtake on.

Securing a podium at our second home race was a fantastic feeling for all of us, so my warmest congratulations to André today. His first win is just around the corner.”

Xavier Mestelan Pinon, DS Performance Director: “Paris was certainly one of the most difficult races this season. The weather conditions have been extremely disruptive. Due to such conditions, it is truly an amazing performance by the team and both of our drivers. André Lotterer achieved an exemplary race to finish, as in Rome, 2nd place. This is now the position he holds in the Drivers’ Championship within one point off the lead.

In very hectic conditions, Jean-Éric Vergne caught up with the lead group and helped DS TECHEETAH to consolidate its position at the top of the Teams’ Championship. These points are essential for the future of the championship as even the slightest mistake can cost the team dearly. We now turn our attention to Monaco in 15 days and I want to congrats the remarkable work of our drivers and the DS TECHEETAH team.”

Next round: Monaco E-Prix, May 11.

Paris E-Prix
1 Robin Frijns (Envision)
2 André Lotterer (DS TECHEETAH)
3 Daniel Abt (Audi)
4 Lucas Di Grassi (Audi)
5 Maximilian Günther (Dragon)
6 Jean-Éric Vergne (DS TECHEETAH)
7 Antonio Felix Da Costa (BMW)
8 Gary Paffett (HWA)
9 Felipe Massa (Venturi)
10 Pascal Wehrlein (Mahindra)
11 Sam Bird (Envision)
12 Oliver Rowland (Nissan)
13 José Maria Lopez (Dragon)
14 Oliver Turvey (NIO)
15 Sébastien Buemi (Nissan)
16 Mitch Evans (Jaguar)
17 Jérôme D’Ambrosio (Mahindra)

Drivers Standings
1 Robin Frijns (Envision) 81 points
2 André Lotterer (DS TECHEETAH) 80 points
3 Antonio Felix da Costa (BMW) 70 points
4 Lucas di Grassi (Audi) 70 points
5 Jérôme D’Ambrosio (Mahindra) 65 points
6 Jean-Eric Vergne (DS TECHEETAH) 62 points
7 Mitch Evans (Jaguar) 61 points
8 Daniel Abt (Audi) 59 points…

Teams Standings
1 DS TECHEETAH 142 points
2 Envision 135 points
3 Audi 129 points
4 Mahindra 103 points
5 BMW 88 points…

Herrero and Parisy begin the season in style

With two hotly contested races that went right down to the wire, the Alpine Elf Europa Cup thrilled the fans at the Coupes de Pâques weekend! Winners of the opening two rounds of the season at Nogaro, Mateo Herrero (Milan Compétition) and Mike Parisy (CMR) lead the way in the general classification.

Following pre-season testing last month; the field returned on Saturday to Nogaro for free practice. Gaël Castelli (CMR) set the pace with a best time of 1:34.271s in the first session, a new record for the category at Circuit Paul Armagnac.


RACE 1: HERRERO TAKES THE OPENER

In qualifying, Mateo Herrero won the pole by a scant 0.033s from Nicolas Milan (Milan Compétition) at the conclusion of a session cut short by the incident of Mike Parisy.

Despite a few sprinkles, the field started on slicks. Mateo Herrero maintained the lead while Gaël Castelli got past Nicloas Milan in a field marked by an incident involving Julien Neveu (Autosport GP), Rodolphe Wallgren (Milan Compétition) and Mike Parisy.

As the laps ticked off, the race intensified and a proper five-driver battle formed for the victory amongst Mateo Herrero, Gaël Castelli, Nicolas Milan, Laurent Hurgon (Autosport GP) and Marc Guillot (Milan Compétition).

Constantly hounding the leader, Gaël Castelli couldn’t find an opening. Behind, things heated up between Laurent Hurgon and Marc Guillot. They relegated Nicolas Milan to fifth before Marc Guillot made an unsuccessful bid to pass Laurent Hurgon for third place.

Three days after celebrating his 17th birthday, Junior driver Mateo Herrero took the win with a 0.6s margin of victory from Gaël Castelli. Laurent Hurgon completed the podium ahead of Marc Guillot and Nicolas Milan.

Yann Zimmer (CMR) won his battle with Antoine Miquel (Milan Compétition) for sixth place while Mike Parisy, Vincent Beltoise (Racing Technology) and Julien Fébreau (Racing Technology) – winner in the Gentlemen category – rounded out the top ten.


RACE 2: PARISY GEST HIS REVENGE

The second qualifying session was even more contested than the first as Mike Parisy won the pole by less than a tenth of a second from Yann Zimmer, Mateo Herrero and Vincent Beltoise. Proof that the competitiveness of the Alpine Elf Europa Cup, the first nine were covered by less than a quarter of a second!

At the start, Mike Parisy held his advantage from Yann Zimmer while Vincent Beltoise surprised Mateo Herrero. Two laps later, the field bunched up when Mike Parisy went through the gravel. Yann Zimmer tried a move to take the lead, but Vincent Beltoise, Mateo Herrero and Marc Guillot took advantage of his optimism to gain position.

Vincent Beltoise pressured Mike Parisy, but the race leader firmly protected his position. The return of Mateo Herrero behind his rival allowed him to pull away, but the winner of race one was overtaken by Marc Guillot, Yann Zimmer and Nicolas Milan in the aftermath.

Mike Parisy managed his lead to go on for the win ahead of Vincent Beltoise while Yann Zimmer completed the podium after he got around Marc Guillot on the last lap.

Following the retirements of Nicolas Milan, and Laurent Hurgon on lap 10, Gaël Castelli was promoted fifth place ahead of Mateo Herrero, once again the highest finishing Junior. Julien Neveu was seventh ahead of Antoine Miquel while Jean-Baptiste Mela and Gentleman driver Rodolphe Wallgren completed the top ten.

The Alpine Elf Europa Cup will be back in action next month at the Hockenheimring on May 24-26.


MEANWHILE…
Alpine shined throughout the Easter weekend at Nogaro. In addition to the hotly contested races among the Alpine A110 Cup cars, the Alpine A110 GT4 of Stéphane Lémeret and Pierre-Alexandre Jean scored a double win to take the lead in the general classification of the French FFSA GT Championship.


QUOTES

Mateo Herrero (winner race 1, leader in the general classification)
“The assessment of my first round in the Alpine Elf Europa Cup is really positive. I won my first race on Sunday and I am really proud considering the experience of my adversaries. The second was a little more difficult, but I had the pace. I thought that the differences between the cars would be greater, but I was able to quickly adapt. Now it is time to get ready for the next round at Hockenheim. Looking at my results, I might have a target on my back, but the most important thing is that the performance is there when it counts!”

Mike Parisy (winner race 2) 
“We were rather comfortable in practice, but we went into a downward spiral with a technical issue caused by an off in qualifying, then contact in race one. We wanted to come back strong to pick up our pace and that is exactly what we did in taking the pole. I was able to use all my experience to manage the traffic and build a lead at the opportune moment. Once was clear, I was able to keep the field at bay and win this race, which compensates for our somewhat negative first day. Despite my experience, I am a bit of a novice in this very competitive, exciting and pleasing championship. I am having a great time with the Alpine A110 Cup. We will now continue to work on the car with the CMR team before heading to the international circuits. This is an encouraging start, but there is still a long way to go!”

Julien Fébreau (VIP driver) 
“This was a fantastic weekend. I knew from my first lap that it would be a lot of fun. I was just concerned that I wouldn’t progress as much as I wanted, but I did it and it’s a great satisfaction, as is my victory in the Gentlemen category! I got my first look at the Alpine A110 Cup Saturday morning. It is a very easy car to understand and never violent. As the laps went by, I reduced the gap to the leaders from four seconds to 1.4s. It’s still motor racing, but you can really try to find your limits right from the start, even on a formidable circuit like Nogaro. Whether you are a novice, gentleman or professional, I believe everyone can find their pleasure and challenge. It is both a learning car and a race car when you see the exceptional skill level of the drivers at the sharp end of the order… And I am not even mentioning how popular it is!”

Endurance – 24 Hours of Le Mans Motorcycle Race

A Flying Start

For the sixth time in its history, the SRC Kawasaki team finished 24 Hours of Le Mans motorcycle race in the lead. A hard-won success over the crew of the Honda Endurance Racing team.

 

Until five minutes from the chequered flag, the outcome of the race remained uncertain. A last lap by the safety car even completely confused the issue fifteen minutes from the finish … And then the Honda 111 rushed into the pits for a last refuel, releasing Jeremy Guarnoni with a last shot of pressure. Leading from the fourth hour onwards, Gilles Stafler’s riders managed to keep their first place until the end of the 24-hour race. “This is our sixth win at Le Mans, perhaps one of the toughest,” said the Kawasaki SRC team boss. The three Safety Cars that we had at the start of the race made us lose a half lap each time, but the fighters did not give up.” Despite Randy de Puniet’s replacement by Erwan Nigon since the last Bol d’Or event, the Kawasaki SRC team has not lost any of its effectiveness. “We welded together like a block during the winter test sessions,” noted the French rider from Auvergne now back in green. The race went on an incredible pace, but we didn’t make a mistake and the bike held up.” Under pressure from the Honda 111 in the last two hours of the race, the Kawasaki 11 team did better than resist. “We had a plan for the end of the race,” explains Gilles Stafler. “Jeremy was very tired, but he was the fastest. So the physiotherapist got him back on his feet and he was able to take over forty minutes from the finish to catch up with the Honda, even if we knew it was going to have to refuel before the chequered flag. I didn’t want to lose this victory.” Mission accomplished for the Kawasaki SRC team, which has also taken over the world championship with sixteen points ahead of the Suzuki Endurance Racing Team.

MotoGP World Championship – Grand Prix of the Americas

New points for Oliveira

By finishing fourteenth on the Americas circuit, Miguel Oliveira has scored two new points that now make him sixteenth in the MotoGP standings.

After finishing on the heels of Pol Espargaro in Argentina, Miguel Oliveira completed the Grand Prix of the Americas in the wake of Johann Zarco, the other official KTM rider. An encouraging performance for the Portuguese. “This weekend was complicated,” he says. “In addition to the fact that the circuit is very difficult, the weather hasn’t helped us. The cancellation of the third free practice session reduced our time on the track and our ability to better adjust the bike. The track being very bumpy, we didn’t start in the best conditions.” That did not stop the KTM Tech 3 rider from finishing a skilful race and hold off the two Ducatis ridden by Tito Rabat and Karel Abraham to the finish. Hafizh Syahrin has a little more difficulty, the Malaysian rider finishing eighteenth, more than twenty seconds behind his teammate. In Moto2, Álex Márquez managed to take the lead early in the race. Starting from the front row, the former Moto2 world champion rode the first laps at a good pace before making a few small mistakes that made him lose contact with the leaders. He finally ranked fifth. Xavi Vierge was less successful on the other hand. Badly placed on the grid, the Estrella Galicia 0.0 Marc VDS rider found himself on the ground just after the start by being hit at the entry to the first bend by Fabio Di Giannantonio. Marco Bezzecchi also fell at the start of the race while Philipp Oettl took the chequered flag in eighteenth position.

The Championship

If he has slipped back to fifth place in the Moto2 overall standings after the Grand Prix of the Americas, Álex Márquez is still only fourteen points behind the leader, Lorenzo Baldassari, who fell in Texas. Unfortunate since the start of the season, Xavi Vierge finds himself in eighteenth place on the evening of the third race of the season. Marco Bezzecchi and Philipp Oettl are still running after their first points. In MotoGP, Miguel Oliveira has lost a place despite the two points scored in Austin. The Portuguese rider is sixteenth, tying on points with Jorge Lorenzo.

Superbike World Championship – Netherlands

Kawasaki leads Honda

Thanks to second and third place finishes by Jonathan Rea in the Netherlands, Kawasaki has passed Honda in the number of rostrums recorded in the Superbike World Championship.

The vagaries of the weather somewhat disrupted the fourth round of the Superbike World Championship at the Assen circuit in the Netherlands. The snow and a chill wind forced the organizers to postpone the first race scheduled for Saturday afternoon. The Sprint of the Superpole was cancelled and the starts of both races were given on Sunday, the grid for both heats being based on the classification after the free practice sessions. Qualified in eighth place, Jonathan Rea only took two laps to climb back to third place in the first race. He kept it until the chequered flag by fighting it out with Michael Van der Mark. In the second race, the Kawasaki rider completed five laps in the lead before being overtaken by Alvaro Bautista. Second at the finish, Rea gave Kawasaki their 393th rostrum, allowing the Japanese brand to pass in front of Honda and climb to the second place in the manufacturers’ championship having recorded the greatest number of rostrums in the Superbike World Championship. “With both races organized on Sunday, we had an old-fashioned weekend,” grinned the quadruple world champion.I had a good bike and I was able to fight on to the end of both races. I had a good grip despite the cold; it was only in the last laps that the bike became a little more difficult to ride.” Fifth in the free practice sessions, Leon Haslam was fifth in the first race after a grand fight with Alex Lowes. A tire problem in the second race then forced him to settle for eighth place. Despite a heavy fall during the practice test sessions, Toprak Razgatlioglu managed to finish ninth in both races. In Supersport, Lucas Mahias was fifth and Hikari Okubo seventh.

The Championship

Of the eleven races since the start of the season, Jonathan Rea has finished ten in second place and one in third place. Well anchored in second place in the MotoGP Championship, the Kawasaki rider is now fifty-five points behind leader Alvaro Bautista. Fifth overall, Leon Haslam has so far scored 93 points. Toprak Razgatlioglu has gained a position, climbing to eleventh place overall. In Supersport, Hikari Okubo has slipped into fifth place while Lucas Mahias has climbed to seventh place.

DS TECHEETAH TAKE THE LEAD IN THE TEAMS’ CHAMPIONSHIP

With André Lotterer securing both pole position and second place in today’s Rome E-Prix, DS TECHEETAH has taken the lead in the team championship, leaving the team in a strong position for DS Automobiles home race in Paris on 27 April 2019.

An action-packed E-Prix in the Italian capitol saw André not only qualify on pole but doing it all over again in the super pole, to start an impressive P1. Team-mate, Jean-Éric Vergne, had an issue with one of his front suspension of his car which saw the Frenchman start in P16.

A nail-biting race saw André battling on track with Mitch Evans, who eventually used the Attack Mode to clinch the win.

André Lotterer, P2: “Mixed feelings today. I’ve got my first pole position in the bag and good points, but I really wanted to win and I think I had the car for it. So, we need to look at what happened as I started to struggle with the tyres a bit in the middle of the race so I couldn’t keep Mitch behind me. It was a clean fight in the end and it was good to see that we had an energy management race today. We’re in a good position so hopefully I can get my first win soon, I’m keener than ever for it now and I think it will be a good second part of the season.”

Jean-Éric Vergne, P14: “It was a tough day for me today. I had a good race starting 16th after a bad qualifying where we had a little technical issue. It was a good recovery and I managed to secure the fastest lap, but then I got a penalty which put me out of the points. I should have been leading the championship after today, but we have plenty of races to go and we still had a very good race with André who finished second with strong points for the team. So, all in all it’s not too bad, but we just need to have two cars finishing on the podium in Paris. That would be great!”

Mark Preston, DS TECHEETAH Team Principal: “Stellar drive from André today. The win was so incredibly close today and André really deserved the win. We’ve got an incredibly good car, so the rest of the season should be a good one. Jean-Éric was unfortunate to have a technical issue in qualifying which put him at the back of the grid and compromised his race start. He did a great job to climb all the way up to P7 before his penalty.

“So far we’ve had seven races with seven different teams and winners on the top step of the podium. If that doesn’t showcase the incredible competitiveness of this championship, I don’t know what does. It’s an incredible championship.”

Xavier Mestelan Pinon, DS Performance Director: “André Lotterer had an exceptional day today. His amazing qualifying lap and second place in the race, showed his true fighting spirit and highlighted the cars excellent performance. His duel with Mitch Evans was gripping and exciting until the final lap. This great result and the hard team work has put DS TECHEETAH in the lead of the Teams’ championship heading into the Paris E-Prix, the home race of DS Automobiles, the only French manufacturer in the championship.”

KEVIN HANSEN TAKES UNFORGETTABLE MAIDEN WORLD RX WIN IN ABU DHABI

Abu Dhabi, 06 April 2019 – Team Hansen MJP experienced the highest of highs and the lowest of lows in Abu Dhabi during an emotional opening round of the FIA World Rallycross Championship. Kevin Hansen scored his first ever WRX victory in spectacular style, with victory in qualifying and his semi-final in addition to his final win, while Timmy Hansen’s weekend was cruelly curtailed early on by an enormous shunt which destroyed his car’s rollcage.

Both Timmy and Kevin had started the World RX of Abu Dhabi in brilliant fashion, finishing 1-2 in Q1. Timmy took the top spot once again in Q2 but his weekend ended shortly afterwards, being on the receiving end of a heavy shunt with Andreas Bakkerud. Crossing the start/finish line to begin the final lap, Timmy had just rejoined the track from taking his joker lap and was hit side-on by Bakkerud, who was disqualified for his part in the collision. A heroic effort from Timmy meant he nursed the car to seventh place in Q3 but rollcage damage to his Peugeot 208 WRX was too extensive to compete in Q4 or the semi-finals.

The whole team was understandably shaken by Timmy’s huge accident but regrouped around Kevin, who showed incredible resilience to press on and win both Q3 and Q4. With Timmy looking on from the spotters’ position in the Abu Dhabi grandstands, Kevin then scored a semi-final victory put him on pole for the final.

Kevin led most of the final, until being spun out at the hairpin by Niclas Grönholm in the latter half of the fourth lap. Grönholm was then given a three second penalty post-race for pushing and overtaking, restoring the lead which Kevin had held for much of the final to seal his first ever WRX win, and provide Team Hansen MJP a happy ending for a rollercoaster first weekend as a privateer team.

WORLD RX OF ABU DHABI RESULTS

DNF – Timmy Hansen

Qualifying 1   –  1st
Qualifying 2   –  1st
Qualifying 3   –  7th
Qualifying 4
Semi-Final
Final

1st – Kevin Hansen

Qualifying 1   –  2nd
Qualifying 2   –  6th
Qualifying 3   –  1st
Qualifying 4   –  1st
Semi-Final   –  1st
Final   –  1st

TALKING POINTS

Having come into the opening round with so many question marks as to the relative pace, Team Hansen now knows that it can run in the front, having won all the sessions it participated in: a promising start to the season!

The brand-new Abu Dhabi track proved to be an excellent rallycross venue, with plenty of exhilarating drama captivating the fans.

The competitive order around Team Hansen has shifted somewhat: GRX Taneco was Hansen’s closest rival in Abu Dhabi, scoring one point more for the teams’ championship in part due to Timmy’s absence from Q4 and the subsequent finals.

The big number

30

The number of points Kevin Hansen scored at Abu Dhabi by winning the Final, his Semi Final and also being Top Qualifier, the maximum possible from a single FIA World RX round.

TIMMY HANSEN

“I’d describe today as an extremely abrupt end to what had been a perfect weekend. I was fastest in Q1, fastest in Q2 and for what it’s worth I think I would have been fastest in Q3. But then everyone saw what happened: Bakkerud thought it was the last lap, so he went flat out after the joker and basically drove into my driver’s door. It was a massive impact and the roll cage was pushed in towards my left leg, but I am OK, just a bit of bruising. It makes you realise how tough these cars are. Then, once I was out, Kevin saved my day. I was supporting him from the spotters’ tower: cheering him on and helping as much as I could. I’m incredibly proud of him, so a day of very mixed emotions. Mostly, I’m just really happy for him.”

KEVIN HANSEN

“I think this was the craziest weekend of my career…so many emotions! Straight away we could see that we had good pace and that we were in the fight; then we had Timmy’s crash, which was a big low, then I had to focus on the semi-final and final, where we finished second. I was leading with a good margin over Niclas until the corner where he passed me: I felt a hit at the rear and I nearly spun. Straight away I thought it should be a penalty, but when it is with the stewards you never know how it will work out…and then after about an hour, I found out I had won; my first win! Of course you never want to win in the stewards’ room but in the end it wasn’t about that: it was all about the pace that we had right from the start of the weekend, which is a great sign for the future. Now we come away with 30 points, which is the best way to start the season.”

THE BOSS – KENNETH HANSEN

To come here and achieve what we did, as a private team again with so many question marks before the start of the season, is an amazing achievement and I’m so proud of everyone in the team. Now we know that we’re on the pace, which we could see from the very first session. But then I think nobody could have predicted what happened next, with the big crash for Timmy and then such a dramatic final for Kevin. In the end, he completely deserves this victory and I’m so happy for him. The damage to Timmy’s car was very bad, but now that we’ve had a chance to look at it, it’s definitely fixable, so we should see him out in the same car for Barcelona. Abu Dhabi certainly provided us with a start to the season that we’ll always remember!

NEXT ROUND: 
WORLD RX OF CATALUNYA

Round Two of the FIA World Rallycross Championship will be held at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, which had previously been the season opener for the past two years. It’s a circuit that Kevin Hansen knows particularly well, securing the FIA European Rallycross Championship title here in 2016 with a round victory. Elder brother Timmy is definitely no slouch around here either, with two podium finishes in WRX to his name. Can he make it three this year? We’ll find out in three weeks time, as the WRX world tour rolls on to Barcelona in just three weeks time, kicking off on April 27.

Superbike World Championship – Spain

No Rest for Rea

As in Australia and Thailand, Jonathan Rea was unable to beat Alvaro Bautista as the championship returned to Europe. The Kawasaki rider nevertheless won three second places, keeping in touch with the leader in the standings.

The races link up and look alike for the two strongmen in this start of the season, the transfer from MotoGP Alavaro Bautista, and Jonathan Rea the quadruple Superbike world champion and titleholder. Behind the handlebars of a Kawasaki currently under-performing compared with the brand-new Ducati Panigale V4, the Brit still has hopes for the future. For the first event held on European soil, he also clocked up three second places despite some complications in the free practice sessions and a start on Saturday afternoon from the fourth row of the grid. Although he never crossed swords with Bautista, the Kawasaki rider battled hard with Chaz Davies on the other Ducati and Alex Lowes on his Yamaha. “Once again we couldn’t hope for more this weekend,” sighed Rea. “Apart from the small mistake I made during the practice test sessions that forced me to start way back, we did the best we could with the bike. On Saturday afternoon, I even managed to come back to second place after only four laps.” For the record, that day, the Brit became the fifth rider in World Superbike history to reach the milestone of two hundred and fifty starts. “On Sunday morning the sprint was not easy because it was cool and we missed grip in the last few laps,” he continued. “That’s what made me cautious for Sunday afternoon’s race. I spared my tires in the first kilometres to be able to attack in the last laps.” And once again take the lead over Chaz Davies and Alex Lowes. Leon Haslam had trouble in Spain adjusting his bike for the braking phases. Ninth on Saturday, the Kawasaki rider set the record straight the next day with a seventh and fourth place finish. Toprak Razgatlioglu was seventh and tenth before being forced to retire on Sunday afternoon. In Supersport, Lucas Mahias and Hikari Okubo scored a hat trick taking seventh and eighth places.

The Championship

With three second places, Jonathan Rea scored another 49 points in Spain. Now in solid second place in the championship, the four-time world champion is only 39 points behind Alvaro Bautista. Behind them, Leon Haslam has moved up a place. The English rider is now fifth with 74 points. Toprak Razgatlioglu has slipped back to twelfth place. No change in Supersport: Lucas Mahias and Hikari Okubo are in fifth and ninth place respectively.