Faced with a fiercer level of opposition than ever before in Istanbul (Turkey), the PEUGEOT 208 WRX drivers needed to pull out all the stops in the semi-final and final of the 11th round of the 2015 FIA World Rallycross Championship – and thanks to Timmy Hansen’s victory and fifth place for team-mate Davy Jeanney, Team Peugeot Hansen has taken a step closer towards clinching the teams’ crown with two rounds remaining to run.
The brace of PEUGEOT 208 WRX Supercars found themselves up against a stronger field than ever during the only Asian stop on the FIA World Rallycross Championship calendar. Timmy Hansen might have won the weekend’s opening heat race around a track that borrowed several corners from the former Formula 1 circuit, but the pressure applied by the Audis and Fords was relentless.
Notwithstanding this threat, Hansen succeeded in securing second place in the intermediate rankings, whilst despite enduring a more complicated time of things in the heats in the squad’s sister car, Davy Jeanney similarly qualified for the next stage.
Following an action-packed second semi-final, the Team Peugeot Hansen duo once again both progressed on to the all-important final by claiming the top two positions – no mean achievement in light of the breathless nature of the fraught six-lap contest!
In the final, Hansen maintained his momentum to lead from lights-to-flag, artfully fending off unrelenting pressure from Andreas Bakkerud – particularly over the last lap. Jeanney complemented his team-mate’s triumph with fifth place to tally a strong haul of championship points, enabling Team Peugeot Hansen to extend its advantage at the top of the Teams’ standings to 79 points with two rounds remaining, in Italy in a fortnight’s time and Argentina at the end of November.
With his third victory of the season, Timmy Hansen has further reduced the gap separating him from reigning world champion Petter Solberg in the drivers’ classification. The young Swede is now only 19 points in arrears.
In the RX Lites Championship, Peugeot Red Bull Hansen Junior Team driver Kevin Hansen is still in charge, 11 points clear of his closest pursuer with only a single round left to run in Italy on October 16-17.
Kenneth Hansen, Team Principal
“Another brilliant day for the team! I’m thrilled with Davy’s fightback after his problems both yesterday and this morning. It was encouraging to watch the progress he made throughout the day behind the wheel of his 208, and to see the two PEUGEOTs finish first and second in the semi-final was absolutely fantastic. Timmy encountered a number of technical issues but succeeded in overcoming them. The final was particularly intense. Timmy gave it his all to eke out a couple of hundredths here and a couple of hundredths there to stretch the gap between himself and Bakkerud, which was always extremely close. It was an incredible adrenaline rush to witness him winning the final and Davy finishing fifth. The team performed flawlessly as ever, and the outcome is that we have taken a vital points haul here in Turkey towards the Teams’ World Championship.”
Timmy Hansen, PEUGEOT 208 WRX #21, Winer
“They were probably the most exciting and enjoyable 12 laps of my career to-date, with a rare level of intensity. In the semi-final, I was struggling for power due to a blocked exhaust, which meant I had to immediately adapt my driving style and draw upon all the other qualities of the 208 to stay ahead. It was a chaotic race, but I emerged in the lead and was delighted to see Davy in my rear-view mirror. To finish first and second there was already a superb result! It was a similar story for me in the final, with the same lack of power as earlier. I pushed as hard as I could to retain a sufficient margin over Bakkerud – and that paid off with victory! With Davy in fifth, we scored more valuable points towards the Teams’ Championship – which is exactly what we had been aiming for.”
Davy Jeanney, PEUGEOT 208 WRX #17, P5
“My weekend began badly, with a crash in the third heat that significantly damaged the car. I must thank the team for all their hard work, which enabled me to tackle the fourth heat with a fighting chance and consequently to qualify for the semi-finals. We were in the same semi-final as Timmy, and after successfully avoiding the race’s various dramas and collisions, I found myself just behind him in second position. That was the first reward for all of the mechanics’ stellar efforts. In the final, our strategy to follow the Audis onto the joker lap proved to be the right one, since they were quick. Unfortunately, another car got in my way, which cost me all hope of finishing any higher than fifth. That said, we have maintained our advantage in the Teams’ standings, which is the most important thing.”
Final positions – Round 11 (Turkey - Istanbul) - October 03-04, 2015
1. Timmy Hansen (Team Peugeot Hansen, PEUGEOT 208 WRX)
2. Andreas Bakkerud (OlsbergMSE AB, Ford Fiesta ST)
3. Johan Kristoffersson (Volkswagen Team Sweden, Volkswagen Polo)
4. Mattias Ekström (EKSRX, Audi S1)
5. Davy Jeanney (Team Peugeot Hansen, PEUGEOT 208 WRX),
6. Anton Marklund (EKSRX, Audi S1)
FIA World Rallycross Championship standings after 11 rounds
1. Petter Solberg (SDRX, Citroën DS3), 256 pts
2. Timmy Hansen (Team Peugeot Hansen, PEUGEOT 208 WRX), 237 pts
3. Johan Kristoffersson (Volkswagen Team Sweden, Volkswagen Polo), 201 pts
4. Andreas Bakkerud (OlsbergMSE AB, Ford Fiesta ST), 188 pts
5. Davy Jeanney (Team Peugeot Hansen, PEUGEOT 208 WRX), 180 pts
6. Mattias Ekström (EKS, Audi S1), 179 pts
7. Reinis Nitiss (OlsbergMSE AB Ford Fiesta ST), 150 pts
8. Toomas Heikkinen, (Marklund Motorsport, Volkswagen Polo), 124 pts
1. Team Peugeot-Hansen, 417 pts
2. Ford Olsbergs MSE, 338 pts
3. SDRX, 281 pts