Team Peugeot-Hansen collected its second podium finish of the season at Hockenheim’s ‘Stadium’ which provided a spectacular backdrop to Round 2 of the 2015 FIA World Rallycross Championship (World RX). The vibrant 75,000-strong crowd was won over by the show which saw Timmy Hansen claim another third place in the PEUGEOT 208 WRX, thanks to a superb start in the final.
Barely has the 2015 championship started than the players in this exciting sport have discovered another great venue. For the first time, the calendar included a visit to the circuit of Hockenheim where it shared the bill with Germany’s extremely popular DTM series, a move which brought World RX to a new audience. Located in the heart of the circuit’s impressive Stadium section, the circuit employed part of the track used by the DTM competitors. This gave rise to some virile battling, especially as the predominantly wet weather made the conditions particularly slippery.
This set the scene for a weekend of ups-and-downs for Team Peugeot-Hansen. Indeed, the first day’s two heats saw the PEUGEOT 208 WRXs confirm the potential they revealed in Portugal. At this stage, Davy Jeanney was a promising second, while Timmy Hansen was fifth. Unfortunately, although Saturday’s conditions were brighter, the situation darkened somewhat in the Team Peugeot-Hansen camp. Heats 3 and 4 effectively proved harder for Timmy Hansen (17th and 7th) and Davy Jeanney (5th, then 15th) but both drivers made it through to the semi-finals.
Putting its troubles behind it, Team Peugeot-Hansen succeeded in changing its approach and revising the set-up of its cars for the weekend’s final phase which clearly caught the imagination of the spectators. This shift immediately paid dividends when Timmy Hansen, who was last on the list of drivers to qualify for the semi-finals, succeeded in progressing to the final. The Swede started from the third row but got away superbly to emerge in third place by the end of Lap 1. He went on to finish in the same position. Unfortunately, Davy Jeanney didn’t succeed in imitating his team-mate. His position on the grid for his semi-final was very wet and a sluggish start prevented him from earning a ticket for the final.
With two rounds completed, Team Peugeot-Hansen is provisionally third in the Teams’ standings, while Timmy Hansen is fourth in the Drivers’ points table. The next round will take teams to Mettet, Belgium, on May 15-17, and round three promises to provide another extremely close fight!
What a day! It feels great to finish on the podium after qualifying in 12th position! I was really disappointed on Saturday but the team didn’t lose faith and we managed to turn the tables. We changed the suspension set-up and switched back to a package we knew was competitive. I also changed my mind-set. It’s an incredible sensation to have performed such a strong comeback!
After the warm-up, we decided to fit slicks. It was the right choice. My start position for the semi-final was in lane two which was wet. I found myself back in sixth place and it was impossible to overtake.
It was a tough weekend which ended well. We learned a great deal. We expected better of a certain set-up but we changed it for the final day and that made a big difference to the car. It allowed Timmy to perform a superb comeback. He didn’t make any mistakes and was able to use 100% of his car’s potential. Davy was very strong, too, but a poor position for the start of his semi-final prevented him from obtaining a better result. I feel confident for the future.
Hockenheim (Germany), final standings:
1. Petter Solberg (SDRX, Citroën DS3)
2. Reinis Nitiss (OlsbergMSE AB, Ford Fiesta ST)
3. Timmy Hansen (Team Peugeot-Hansen, PEUGEOT 208 WRX)
4. Toomas Heikkinen (Marklund Motorsport, Volkswagen Polo)
5. Robin Larsson (Robin Larsson, Audi A1)
6. Andreas Bakkerud (OlsbergMSE AB, Ford Fiesta ST)
Drivers’ standings (after two rounds):
1. Petter Solberg (SDRX, Citroën DS3), 57 pts
2. Johan Kristoffersson (Volkswagen Team Sweden, Volkswagen Polo), 42 pts
3. Andreas Bakkerud (OlsbergMSE AB, Ford Fiesta ST), 37pts
4. Timmy Hansen (Team Peugeot-Hansen, PEUGEOT 208 WRX), 33 pts
5. Reinis Nitiss (OlsbergMSE AB, Ford Fiesta ST), 32 pts
6. Toomas Heikinen (Marklund Motorsport, Volkswagen Polo), 29 pts
Teams’ standings (after two rounds):
1. SDRX, 57 pts
2. Ford Olsbergs MSE, 69 pts
3. Team Peugeot-Hansen, 61 pts