Riga, 15 September 2019 – Timmy Hansen has taken the lead of the FIA World Rallycross drivers’ championship heading to the final round of the season, scoring victory in an incredible reversal of fortunes.
After Qualifying 2 on Saturday afternoon Timmy was P15 and out of the Semi Final qualification places, after being pushed into a tyre barrier that broke his car’s right-rear wheel.
But an incredible run of results on Sunday ensured he turned around a potentially disastrous weekend into a race win, starting with topping both Q3 and Q4 to qualify second.
Kevin Hansen’s route to the Semi Finals was a model of consistency. A fantastic launch off the line in Q1 led to heat victory from fifth on the grid, and he continued that consistency across Saturday and Sunday to qualify fourth.
Those results led to Timmy and Kevin sharing the front row of Semi Final 2, with the pair finishing where they started and setting up a thrilling Final battle with title rival Andreas Bakkerud, who had taken the Top Qualifier spot.
Another fantastic start from second on the grid propelled Timmy to the lead by turn one, a position he held until the chequered flag. Kevin was a little less fortunate, trapped in the midfield squeeze that dropped him down to last at turn one. A valiant recovery ensured he finished in fourth place at the flag.
Timmy now has a one-point lead in the drivers’ championship over Bakkerud, while Kevin remains a strong contender in third, only eight points behind his older brother.
Thanks to both drivers’ incredible consistency throughout the year, Team HANSEN MJP needs only eight points at the season finale in South Africa to win the teams’ championship, having further extended its advantage over nearest rival GRX in Latvia.
Qualifying 1 – 7th
Qualifying 2 – DNF
Qualifying 3 – 1st
Qualifying 4 – 1st
Semi-Final 2 – 1st
Final – 1st
Qualifying 1 –3th
Qualifying 2 – 7th
Qualifying 3 – 10th
Qualifying 4 – 5th
Semi-Final 2 – 2rd
Final – 4rd
You can’t keep a good man down. Timmy won every single session in which he raced on Sunday after being down in P15 the day before.
Timmy is guaranteed to finish the 2019 World RX season as the only back-to-back round winner, following his France win with victory in Latvia. He remains the only multiple winner this year too.
Kevin “lost” the grid draw lottery and ended up choosing his grid slot last for the second consecutive weekend. Nonetheless, he still ran in the top five during qualifying all weekend.
This is the first time in World RX history that three drivers have gone to the final round still able to win the championship. The last time that the World RX title race went to the final round was 2015, when one of the two title protagonists was Timmy Hansen.
The number of positions Timmy gained in qualifying, following his Q2 retirement with a broken wheel.
“It was tough yesterday. First of all we were very disappointed, but then you can either decide to be angry or to be happy. We came together, we had nice evening and this morning we played some nice music. Everybody was pumped, everyone kept believing that if we made the perfect day today, anything can happen, nothing is certain.
“All four of my launches today were really good. To focus exactly on what you need to do and just drive your best in all these circumstances we’re facing with the championship, in the wet as well, after being in such a low position, is a massive win for the team. This really came from the heart, in wanting it and believing in it. To sit here after where I sat yesterday feels amazing. I’m so proud of these guys, of my big family, that they were with me and that we’ve achieved this together.
“I hope that all three of us have a good weekend in South Africa and a fair battle. Let the best man win!”
“I have always struggled a bit in Riga but I felt a lot better this year, which was nice. The one time I had a free run was Q1, where I think I made the launch of the weekend! I got a bit stuck the rest of the time but still had very good speed – I just wasn’t able to get any free air.
“We definitely made some big steps on the launches this weekend. That was the key to staying in front and being fourth at the end of qualifying, then second in the Semi Final. We knew that we were too weak in that area and we knew that if we want to win the championship, we would have to improve there.
“A lot can change in six weeks, so we will make sure to stay on top of our game, drive some TitansRX and prepare ourselves for the final showdown. It’s really important to keep the racing up: when everyone goes to Cape Town for Q1, they will not be as fresh and racing-minded as we will be. In total, with 12 qualifying starts – and hopefully four semi-finals and four finals – between now and Cape Town, we will be keeping our race game really strong. ”
“Everybody stepped up their game this weekend. Our crew always take responsibility but with Kenneth busy filming a TV show in Greece, we felt the absence of one member of a very small team not being here. Their extra effort made a big difference.
“When we came back this morning it had started to rain, so it felt like it was a new race, a new beginning after Timmy’s crash yesterday. It felt like a fresh start.
“What we’ve learned from these difficult moments is that when we turn our focus inwards, rather than looking outside, we begin to focus on every detail: what the spotter needs to say, that the mechanics double and triple check every detail on the cars, and the drivers having one more try at finding the best launch setting.
“This result means the world to us. Timmy and Kevin showed so much strength today and knew exactly what to do during such a rollercoaster weekend. I’m so happy for them and for the whole team.”
Killarney Raceway, located on the northern fringes of Cape Town in South Africa, hosts the World RX season finale on 16/17 November.
Like Biķernieki, it’s a purpose-built circuit racing facility that’s been adapted for rallycross, featuring high-grip asphalt. But unlike the Latvian track, it’s a fast, open, and wide circuit that pushes World RX machines to their highest speeds.
There’s an eight-week wait before the World RX titles are decided – so we’re itching to get back on track in Killarney!INCREDIBLE TURNAROUND GIVES TIMMY HANSEN WORLD RX LEAD IN LATVIA