The PEUGEOT 208 WRX Shows Competitive Form As Timmy Hansen Collects Hockenheim Podium
After dominating the qualifying phase of Round 3 of the 2017 FIA World Rallycross Championship at Hockenheim, Team Peugeot Hansen left Germany with a second straight podium finish ahead of next weekend’s clash at Mettet, Belgium.
The first qualifying heat at Hockenheim saw the PEUGEOT 208 WRXs emerge as the cars to beat. Sébastien Loeb followed up his assertive Q1 victory with another in Q2, while Timmy Hansen took a convincing win in Q4. Sébastien Loeb and Timmy Hansen were consequently first and second overall after heats, with Kevin Hansen following in seventh spot after strong runs in Q1 and Q2.
"The final phase turned out to be far more complex than qualifying for us," explained Sébastien Loeb. "The rain that fell just before the start of the semi-finals made the conditions extremely trick and slippery. I led into the first turn of the first semi-final but somebody then passed me and I also made a small mistake. I ended up third. I chose rain tyres for the final but it wasn’t the ideal call and I was unable to improve on my grid position. The two heats I won this weekend show that we are competitive, though. That’s a positive and we will be out to improve further at Mettet which is a track I enjoy. It was there that I finished on the podium for the first time.” The team’s hopes for the semi-final phase were understandably high, but the conditions were rendered tricky after rain swept across the circuit just before the start. Both Sébastien Loeb and Timmy Hansen reached the final, but with second- and third-row starts respectively. The Swede responded by claiming his first top-three result of the season.
“It was great to score my first podium finish of the season," said Timmy Hansen. "My car was fantastic in qualifying but the conditions turned more delicate after it rained before the semi-finals. I started my semi-final from pole position but Kristoffersson was slightly faster on the damp track. In the final, I pushed as hard as possible but I couldn’t manage any better than third. That really wasn’t the sort of result we had been hoping for after qualifying but nobody can deny our potential on the dry and I believe we will be at least as competitive at Mettet.” A harvest of 46 points, helped by its three qualifying heat wins, saw Team Peugeot Hansen collect the weekend’s highest score. Meanwhile, Timmy Hansen leapfrogged three spots to go fifth, as Sébastien Loeb climbed two places to go fourth. FINAL POSITIONS – HOCKENHEIM 1. Mattias Ekström (Audi S1) 2. Johan Kristoffersson (Volkswagen Polo GTI) 3. Timmy Hansen (PEUGEOT 208 WRX) 4. Petter Solberg (Volkswagen Polo GTI) 5. Sébastien Loeb (PEUGEOT 208 WRX) 6. Toomas Heikkinen (Audi S1) PROVISIONAL CLASSIFICATION AFTER THREE ROUNDS Drivers’ standings 1. Mattias Ekström (Audi S1), 85 points 2. Johan Kristoffersson (Volkswagen Polo GTI), 69 pts 3. Petter Solberg (Volkswagen Polo GTI), 62 pts 4. Sébastien Loeb (PEUGEOT 208 WRX), 48 pts 5. Timmy Hansen (PEUGEOT 208 WRX), 47 pts 6. Timo Scheider (Ford Fiesta), 41 pts 7. Reiniss Nitis (Audi S1), 33 pts 8. Andreas Bakkerud (Ford Focus RS), 33 pts 9. Kevin Hansen (PEUGEOT 208 WRX), 33 pts 10. Toomas Heikkinen (Audi S1), 29 pts Teams’ standings 1. Volkswagen PSRX, 131 points 2. EKS Audi, 114 points 3. Team Peugeot Hansen, 95 points 4. Hoonigan Racing Division, 60 points 5. MJP Racing Team Austria, 59 points 6. STARD, 38 points