Lohéac, 01 September 2019 – Timmy and Kevin Hansen showed incredible fighting spirit during World RX of France at Lohéac, scoring victory and third place respectively after starting third and sixth in the Final.
Both had some difficult runs in qualifying, with faster starting cars able to jump ahead and take qualifying points away from both drivers.
But a sensational turnaround began in Q4 on Sunday afternoon, with Timmy leading the way thanks to the fastest race time and fastest single lap of the weekend on his way to being Top Qualifier. He was beaten to the first corner in his semi-final on older tyres, so lined up third for the final.
Kevin’s starting position on the outside of the grid in the first three qualifiers set him back and although he managed fourth in Q3, he qualified only 10th. But it was the beginning of a rousing comeback: he went from fifth to third in his semi-final, passing Timur Timerzyanov for fourth on lap one and then leaping past Timo Scheider for a place in the Final on the last lap, coming out just ahead when the German driver took his joker.
Qualifying 1 – 2nd
Qualifying 2 – 8th
Qualifying 3 – 6th
Qualifying 4 – 1st
Semi-Final 2 – 2nd
Final – 1st
Qualifying 1 –10th
Qualifying 2 – 12th
Qualifying 3 – 4th
Qualifying 4 – 10th
Semi-Final 2 – 3rd
Final – 3rd
Who says you can’t overtake at Lohéac? Kevin passed five cars in two races to turn a 10th place in qualifying into a third place finish in the Final. Incredible!
Timmy remains the only driver to win multiple World RX rounds in 2019. France was his third victory of the season.
It’s the second time this year that Team HANSEN MJP has had both cars on the podium: one of only two teams to achieve the feat to date this season.
It’s been close in the drivers’ championship all year, but this is the first time ever that Timmy and Kevin have been tied on points in the world championship.
The new World RX of France lap record in seconds, set by Timmy Hansen in Qualifying 1. He took the record only 10 minutes after younger brother Kevin had set a new benchmark in his earlier Q1 heat!
“This weekend has been amazing. Coming here, we have so much support from the French fans. We’re getting so much love from them, they’re supporting us, I can feel it going out on track.
“I also love to drive here. We can feel that the Peugeot is comfortable around these corners and I was also feeling very comfortable this weekend. I needed a perfect Q4 to be in the race and we got it just when we needed it, and got the pole, so that was very important for the weekend.
“I was all in for the final: I was going to push very hard and then Bakkerud and Grönholm opened the door for me, so I sneaked by. Those were six brilliant laps. On the last lap, I remembered that back in 2015, my dad told me to enjoy this lap, and I saw I had a big gap, so again, I took in the atmosphere, looked up at the grandstands, and I felt the feeling of leading the last lap in Lohéac. To cross the finish line first is such an amazing feeling.”
“I have no idea how I got into the final and semi-final! I pushed really, really hard. I was so unlucky with the draw. I don’t know if I’m lucky or it’s random but we are here. For the semi-final, I was sure on the last lap I was not going to make it. Then I saw Baciuška overtake Scheider, and Scheider lost a lot of time, and I saw that I could make it.
“We started last in the final but had a really good launch, then it was all kinds of mess in turn one. I saw Bakkerud got pushed out wide and I just knew: that’s the guy that I have to beat. When I took the joker it was mega-close against Baciuška: I selected a higher gear at turn five than I had used all weekend, kept the throttle lit up, almost lost it, Baciuška helped me save it, and that secured the podium.
“I am a rallycrosser and I am not a perfect man in all conditions, but I get through it like a machine! I never give up. This is why we are in the fight.”
“It’s such an amazing feeling, the pride of winning in Lohéac. It’s the best event to win! We struggled, we had to fight for it and give it all and we were in a bad position on the grid. For Timmy to come out and do it like this is absolutely marvellous.
“We were in difficult positions this weekend and arrived here after a bad race in Canada, so to come back and achieve a result like this was fantastic. Kevin was also in a bad position after qualifying but came back from 10th and got on the podium. Having both of them finish on the podium is wonderful.”
Biķernieki, located on the outskirts of Latvia’s capital city Riga, is still a recent addition to the rallycross calendar, yet has already cemented its status as a classic track.
It’s another high-grip track, featuring more asphalt than gravel thanks to Biķernieki’s decades-long history as a racing circuit.
These days World RX is the headline act, and it’s a track Team HANSEN MJP has won on in the past, with Sébastien Loeb winning the track’s inaugural event in 2016.