Höljes, 07 July 2019 – Team HANSEN MJP strengthened its lead in both the FIA World Rallycross Championship drivers’ and teams’ classifications, with Kevin Hansen scoring a second place and both cars making the Final.
A challenging start to the weekend on Saturday left Kevin and Timmy Hansen P9 and P16 after Qualifying 2 respectively: Timmy had picked up a puncture in Q1 that left him P21, while Kevin faced the worst track conditions of all five heats in Q2 and lost time.
But a brilliant comeback in Q3 and Q4 put them both back into the fight, lining up second and third for Semi Final 1 on Sunday. Timmy went for the lap one joker strategy, while Kevin then took the lead a couple of laps in, ending up in a door-to-door duel as Kevin exited from his joker lap.
There were no orders from team boss and 14-time European RX champion Kenneth, with both free to race for position. A great fight ensued, with Kevin keeping the inside line for the Velodrome to take the lead back after losing it momentarily, leading his brother home in second.
The final was a mix of joy and sadness, as a potential double podium disappeared. A great overtaking move into the joker on lap one put Timmy third, which became second when Kevin took his joker. But a puncture on lap three ended his hopes, finishing sixth.
A determined Kevin locked his sights on compatriot Sebastian Eriksson after his joker, closing in during the final laps. A last corner move nearly worked, deftly trying to squeeze down the inside, though not quite enough to take the win.
Kevin has now retaken the lead of the FIA World RX drivers’ championship, six points ahead of his brother Timmy. Team HANSEN MJP’s lead in the teams’ championship is now up to 43 points, with four championship rounds remaining.
Qualifying 1 20th
Qualifying 2 4th
Qualifying 3 2nd
Qualifying 4 6th
Semi-Final 2 2nd
Qualifying 1 4th
Qualifying 2 17th
Qualifying 3 3rd
Qualifying 4 3rd
Semi-Final 2 1st
There was no home victory for Team HANSEN MJP but it was still a great weekend all around, with points gained on key rivals in both championships.
The number of spectators that came to Höljes for the ‘Magic Weekend’ of World RX action, a new record.
“It was a good day today, recovering to fifth position from 16th in qualifying. We saved a lot of points with a good result.
“The Finals were completely dry, which is how I prefer Höljes. The Semi Final was brilliant – it was a very interesting race and battle all the way through with Kevin. We came out side by side after the joker; the racing was very fair and we were still fighting very hard on the track, but in the right way. I did everything I could to overtake him but still gave him space. That’s how we race and this time he won the battle and the Semi Final, which was great for Kevin.
“The final was a good race. I made a nice pass on Grönholm into the joker on the opening lap, which put me in a good position to chase Eriksson for the lead. I was close but I tried too hard, pushed too much and went over the limit and got a puncture. I wanted to win too much, but that’s me, I need to try! If I’m in a position to win I will always try and give it everything. This time it didn’t pay off but it will another time.”
“It was really a tough afternoon. The whole weekend has been completely crazy! Having such different weather during the weekend makes it hard, but we managed to stay in the front, and that was really important for the Semi Final. When I came out of the joker, I saw someone on the inside. I almost spun and didn’t notice it was Timmy until I came back the right way! It was a big shock but we managed it well.
“In the final, when I took my joker and saw Timmy ahead, I thought we would work together to catch the leader but unfortunately he had a puncture, so I had to get past him quickly. It worked and I managed to catch Eriksson, thinking that he had a puncture. So I though he’d run wide at the final corner and I’d stick my nose up on the inside, but he didn’t have a puncture after all! So I had to back out.
“Second place at home feels amazing and in the end and we scored a lot of points for the championship, both for me and the team. It was a really cool event and a good weekend.”
“I’m the spotter for Timmy, with Graham Rodemark as Kevin’s spotter, so we get the best out of both of them and try to beat each other. That’s how we have done things and will continue that way. It looked hard, and of course we can have trouble sometimes like getting a puncture, but we don’t want to give up racing and have them queuing up; we want to fight and that’s our spirit.
“We want to push Timmy and Kevin, so during the final I tried to push Timmy to catch Eriksson and we were on the way there. Then unfortunately he was a little tight in one place and broke the wheel rim and got a puncture. We could have played the cards safe and just stayed in position to secure second place but that’s not how we are. We want to fight to the end, we want to give the maximum and sometimes you lose but it’s worth it; I said that to Timmy. We gave it our all. Kevin did the same and in the end he was catching Eriksson and was right on his bumper. That was a thrilling fight and it also shows that both drivers gave everything to try to win.”
Round seven of the FIA World RX tour takes place in Canada, at the Grand Prix de Trois-Rivières. It’s a unique challenge as the only street circuit on the 2019 calendar, which also features the longest straight of the season. The track’s long history is as a circuit racing venue but when rallycross comes to town, it becomes 40% gravel, where the wide start/finish straight narrows down and features a few twists, plus the joker. Team HANSEN MJP won this event in 2015 and 2016, so hopes are high for a repeat in 2019!