Team Peugeot Hansen collected its tenth podium finish of the 2017 FIA World Rallycross Championship at the last round in South Africa to become the year’s Teams’ vice-champions*.
The last round of the 2017 World Rallycross Championship, which took teams to Africa for the very first time, saw the PEUGEOT 208 WRX deliver a competitive performance from start to finish, including a memorable lightning start in Q4. Timmy Hansen hit the ground running to win Q1, Q4 and his semi-final, but he missed out on the weekend’s victory by just tenths of a second despite losing time in the bustle through Turn 1. The young Swede recovered to collect a tenth podium finish for the PEUGEOT 208 WRX from 12 starts this year, while Team Peugeot Hansen put the seal on second place in the year’s Teams’ standings. Timmy himself placed fifth in the 2017 Drivers’ championship.
It turned out to be a frustrating weekend for Sébastien Loeb, however. After being pushed out of contention in Q1, he picked up a puncture on the opening lap of Q2 and was consequently unable to show his true potential in qualifying. That said, his hopes of recovering ground in his semi-final got off to a promising start when he emerged from Turn 2 in second spot. Unfortunately, another puncture prevented him from reaching the final, but he can still look back at a season which saw him bag seven top-three finishes and fourth place in the 2017 Drivers’ points table.
Kevin Hansen produced another strong run in his PEUGEOT 208 WRX 2016, including third-place finishes in Q2 and Q4. His start from the outside lane in his last qualifying session is likely to be remembered for some time to come. A penalty for Ken Block earned him a place in the final for the second round in a row and his excellent weekend enabled him to gain a place in the Drivers’ standings to conclude the year in eighth spot, just ahead of Block!
Kenneth Hansen (Team Principal):
“We were competitive from the outset and Timmy won both Q1 and Q4. We had our sights firmly set on victory at this stage and all three of our cars reached the semi-finals which turned out to be something of a battlefield. Neither Sébastien nor Kevin managed to show their true speed in the opening lap, but Timmy went on to win the race and Kevin’s result earned him a slot in the final, too. Our hopes of winning were still very much intact but Timmy was pushed during the opening corners and missed out on being first past the flag by less than a second! That’s so frustrating. All the same, we are very pleased to have come second in the 2017 Teams’ standings. All year long, we gave it the best shot our resources allowed.”
Timmy Hansen (PEUGEOT 208 WRX #21), 2nd:
“I think South Africa was one of our best performances this season. We were really competitive and I came first in Q1 and Q4. It’s the first time this season that I won two qualifying heats. My semi-final was very close and I was pushed quite hard through the first turn. I found myself facing the wrong direction going into Turn 2, nose to nose with Sébastien. Even so, I managed to win my semi-final. The first lap of the final itself was pretty virile, too. I fell back a few places so I did my joker lap very quickly. After that, I did everything I could to claw back ground and I missed out on the win by just a few tenths of a second. It would have been so nice to have won today. The PEUGEOT 208 WRX is the best car I have ever driven and to have finished the season without winning a final is so frustrating. Nevertheless, I am pleased with my season and I think I have become a more consistent driver.”
Sébastien Loeb (PEUGEOT 208 WRX #9):
“From my point of view, the last round of the season was a big disappointment, especially as my car was really competitive! Things didn’t go my way in qualifying: I got baulked in Q1 and I punctured on Lap 1 in Q2. I fared better in Q3 and Q4, and then my semi-final got off to a good start because I was sitting in second place behind Timmy before I picked up another puncture during a bit of jostling. After that, I was no longer able to fight for a top result. It was a frustrating way to end what was something of a frustrating year. Roll on next season!”
Kevin Hansen (PEUGEOT 208 WRX #71), 6th:
“I was quite pleased with my results in qualifying, even though I could perhaps have done even better in Q1 and Q3. I got away to a tremendous start in Q4 which enabled me to win my race and end up third in that heat’s standings. Unfortunately, I don’t really understand what happened in my semi-final. The first few turns were absolute mayhem. All I know is that I was up to third at one point and that I was back down in sixth place just a few turns later. After that, I had a transmission problem but I managed to reach the final when Block took a penalty. My mechanics did a good job to get my car ready in time and it was great to be able to take part in the final for the second time in a row. Even though my transmission failed, I was very pleased with the potential I showed at the season’s last round.”
* Subject to confirmation of the official results by the FIA (Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile).