After winning his semi-final, Sébastien Loeb was on target for his second victory in Latvia but was instead forced to settle for step three of the podium at Round 10 of the 2017 FIA World Rallycross Championship.
Sébastien Loeb overcame a modest start to the weekend (10th in Q1) to win Q4 and appear in second spot after the weekend’s qualifying phase. He went on to win his semi-final and was optimistic for the final before he found himself at the back of the pack after being forced off line following a perfectible start. He nonetheless managed to recover three positions to collect his sixth top-three result of the year and the PEUGEOT 208 WRX’s eighth podium finish so far this season.
Timmy Hansen’s mixed weekend saw him emerge from qualifying in seventh spot. He ended up fifth in his semi-final, however, and failed to reach the final for the first time this year.
After coming sixth in Q1, then two places better in Q3, Kevin Hansen qualified for the semis with ease once again. His legitimate dream of reaching the final was unfortunately thwarted by a poor strategy in his semi-final.
Kenneth Hansen (Team Principal):
“We showed real potential this weekend but, for a variety of reasons, the different parts of the puzzle failed to fall into place, so that was disappointing. Timmy lost too much ground in his semi-final after a battle with Bakkerud and, in the other semi, we asked Kevin to perform his joker lap too soon and he missed out on what had seemed like a certain place in the final. Meanwhile, Sébastien won his semi and I was convinced today’s victory was on the cards but he didn’t get away to the best of starts. Then Ekström – not too sportingly – spoilt what remained of his chances. He fell down the order but fought back well thanks to a great run. I would like to congratulate Johan Kristoffersson on his title. He is a strong rival and always plays fair. He is a driver we appreciate and he’s a good friend of Timmy and Kevin, too. He fully deserves to have won the championship.”
Sébastien Loeb (PEUGEOT 208 WRX #9), 3rd
“It was a good weekend for me overall. I was second after qualifying, I won Q4, I won my semi-final and I then came third in the final. That’s not so bad. At the same time, I can’t help thinking a better result was possible in the final. I didn’t get away too well but Mattias did and he managed to squeeze the nose of his car inside of me. He pushed hard and I lost out in a big way because I found myself in the gravel. Everyone else got past, so I was running last, but I fought back and ultimately finished on the podium. I had good pace and it was nice to see we could mix it with the Volkswagens. Well done to Johan Kristoffersson for winning the title. He’s had a great season and is always consistent and smooth. He is also fast and never fails to be competitive.”
Timmy Hansen (PEUGEOT 208 WRX #21)
“Saturday morning didn’t go too badly but I had a poor run in Q3 after an average getaway. I won my race in Q4 but still ended up some way down the order because the conditions continued to dry out after my heat. I started well in my semi-final and had a close scrap with Bakkerud. At one point, I was on the outside and found myself on the grass. I managed to get past Nitiss but closing the gap to the leaders was out of the question. I then had an electrical problem. It’s the first time this year I haven’t reached the final, so that was obviously a huge disappointment.”
Kevin Hansen (PEUGEOT 208 WRX #71)
“I was pleased with my pace again and coming sixth in Q1, then fourth in Q3 were good results. I was really looking forward to my semi-final but the start was quite boisterous and Petter got hurt. We are all sorry about that. The decision to do my joker lap second time round didn’t turn out to be the best of choices and I found myself blocked in fourth place when I think I really had the potential to reach the final for the first time this year.”
FINAL POSITIONS – RIGA (September 17, 2017)
PROVISIONAL STANDINGS AFTER 10 ROUNDS
and Kevin Hansen (PEUGEOT 208 WRX), 84 points
* Score takes into account the 15-point penalty awarded this weekend following the use of a fourth engine this year in Timmy Hansen’s car.