Round four of the 2017 FIA World Rallycross Championship at Mettet, Belgium, concluded in a thrilling finale that saw Timmy Hansen lead for much of the race before harvesting a superb second place and Team Peugeot Hansen’s third podium finish on the trot.
♦ After completing the qualifying phase in third position, Timmy Hansen took a convincing win in his semi-final to confirm the increasing potency of the PEUGEOT 208 WRX. He then played a front-running role in the final, taking command early on Lap 3 before a last-lap puncture prevented him from claiming the day’s spoils.
♦ Sébastien Loeb unfortunately failed to follow up his promising first day in Belgium and was unable to join his team-mate in Sunday’s final. As in Q4, he was pushed by another competitor at the start of his semi-final and his car suffered too much damaged in the incident to be able to play any further part in the battle.
♦ It was a weekend of ups and downs for Kevin Hansen who, after putting in two strong performances at the heat stage, rolled his 2016-specification PEUGEOT 208WRX in Q3. The reigning European champion escaped unhurt but it was not possible to make repairs at the circuit. It will, however, be ready in time for the next round of the series.
Kenneth Hansen (Team Principal)
“We made good progress over the weekend and we had victory in our grasp when Timmy unfortunately picked up a puncture on the last lap of the final. He was forced to settle for second spot at the last moment, less than a second short of the day’s winner. Otherwise, the gaps suggest the PEUGEOT 208 WRX would have won. Sébastien, on the other hand, fell foul of the first turn at Mettet which can sometimes be something of a lottery. He was unable to show his true potential in his semi-final.”
Timmy Hansen (driver, PEUGEOT 208 WRX #21), 2nd
“I got away to a strong start in the final and succeeded in staying on Petter Solberg’s tail. I then found a way past on Lap 3 and held firm, despite his attempt to squeeze me into the tyre wall. After that, I put in some of the best laps I have ever posted in rallycross. I don’t think I will ever forget them. Once in front, I put in what felt like the perfect lap but they told me over the radio that I needed to go even faster, and that’s what I did, even though I didn’t believe that was possible. It was incredible! To be able to drive such a fantastic car is what I live for! Unfortunately, I punctured on the last lap and I finished my joker lap in second place. How frustrating! I had victory in my grasp, but it’s still great to have finished on the podium again.”
Sébastien Loeb (driver, PEUGEOT 208 WRX #9), 7th
“It turned out to be a pretty disappointing weekend for me. I was on the pace up to Q3 but things didn’t go so well in Q4, and my semi-final didn’t go any better. To begin with, I was forced out to the outside of Turn 1, but I managed to fight back. Then a turbo hose came free and stopped the car. I hope things will go better for me at the next round at Lydden Hill.”
Kevin Hansen (driver, PEUGEOT 208 WRX #71), 21st
“The weekend didn’t begin well for me when I didn’t have a good feeling during Friday’s practice session. We made a few changes for Saturday and they made a positive difference. Despite the state of the track, I picked up good results in Q1 and Q2 but then I rolled and my weekend came to a halt in Q3. I’m okay, apart from a few pains – especially my shoulder – which should clear up in a few days’ time and I will be ready for Lydden Hill. As usual, I am convinced my mechanics will pull out all the stops to get my car shipshape again. So a big thank you to them in advance for that.”
FINAL POSITIONS – METTET (May 14, 2017)
CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS AFTER FOUR ROUNDS