The opening round of the 2017 FIA World RX Championship at Barcelona, Spain, saw the PEUGEOT 208 WRX 2017 reveal real potential for the fiercely-competitive campaign ahead.
♦ Saturday’s qualifying was troubled by rain, but Timmy Hansen overcame the adverse conditions to reach the final which saw him match the pace of his rivals. With overtaking never easy at Barcelona, he crossed the finish line in fifth place to get Team Peugeot Hansen’s 2017 campaign off to an optimistic start ahead of what promises to be an extremely competitive year as Audi and Volkswagen join Ford and Peugeot in the WorldRX.
♦ Sébastien Loeb had a less successful start to his second full season in the World RX Championship when an error during the assembly of his car’s front-left transmission scuppered his chances of reaching the final.
♦ Kevin Hansen celebrated his first outing as a full-fledged member of Team Peugeot Hansen WorldRX’s line-up with a strong, consistent weekend. Driving a 2016-specification PEUGEOT 208 WRX, he was frequently a match for the championship’s pacesetters competing in 2017-spec cars and his reward was a place in the semi-finals.
Kenneth Hansen (Team Principal)
“First of all, it’s great to be competing again. The level is very high this year and you really need a car at the peak of its potential, driven to its limits by top drivers if you want to be a part of the fight. In terms of outright pace, the weekend demonstrated that the PEUGEOT 208 WRX is up there with the very best. Unfortunately, a transmission-related issue prevented Sébastien from making it through to the semi-finals.”
Sébastien Loeb (PEUGEOT 208 WRX #9)
“It wasn’t the best of starts to the year for me. I had a small problem during Q3 which was a crucial heat after Saturday’s poor weather. The track was in a good state but I was unable to reach the finish after a drive shaft popped out. I ended up last in Q3 and I was first to run in Q4 when the dusty surface prevented me from reaching the semi-finals. It was very frustrating. The car feels good but we are up against some strong opposition.”
Timmy Hansen (PEUGEOT 208 WRX #21)
“It was interesting to see everyone’s speed at last. Our rivals are clearly fast but, from what we saw in the semi-finals and the final, I feel we have the speed, even though the way the weekend unfolded didn’t always permit us to make the very most of our car’s potential. I never found it a problem to keep up with the others, though, so we have good potential. I feel optimistic, even though we were a little down on luck this weekend, but I’m sure that’s going to change.”
Kevin Hansen (PEUGEOT 208 WRX #71)
“It felt like a pretty good weekend in terms of my pace and I like to think I have settled into the team okay. I feel my dialogue with the engineers was good but it was a weekend of ups and downs. I was a little lucky in Q2, but less so at other times. I don’t think I really managed to show my full potential. I was in sixth position for the start of my semi-final, so I had to find a way to move up the order. I attempted a move but it didn’t work out.”
FINAL POSITIONS – BARCELONA (April 2, 2017)
CHAMPIONSHIP POSITIONS AFTER 1 ROUND