Nitro Rallycross will provide Team Hansen the chance to further develop its Peugeot 208 Supercar to “what we really believe in” according to boss Kenneth Hansen.
With three wins from five so far this year in World Rallycross, Team Hansen has had a successful 2021 to date and is also the only team to have ever won an NRX race, winning both single-event competitions at the Nitro World Games in 2018 and ’19.
For both of those contests, the team ran the same Peugeot 208s it was campaigning in World RX, off the back of World RX’s then-regular jaunt to Canada.
But with five US events set to take place this year, Hansen needs to base two cars in America for the duration of the season. However that does provide an opportunity to tailor the Peugeot Sport-built 208s to the unique demands that NRX’s new-build tracks are set to throw up.
“It’s nothing that we couldn’t use directly in World RX,” Kenneth Hansen explained to DirtFish. “The developments, the latest specs of the cars, have been quite a lot under the charge of Peugeot. Of course we did it together, but this is more the Hansen pick up from the basket, what we really believe in.
“This car could be used for World RX, but in World RX we have a book, a bit like a homologation book. And once you enter for the first race, you need to follow that – not for all areas, but quite a lot of areas, which [we] need to decide before the first race.
“And then you follow that, for example, gearing – transmissions, the gear ratios – turbo specifications, etc. Also engine and the rear spoiler, aerodynamics.
“But in NRX, we are a little more free to pick up and use other things. We could have done that before the season, but we don’t know exactly how it will work either. So this is a little bit of risk analysis, but we are ready to go for that.
“So we can be a little interesting. [It] can be good, but it could also be not the perfect version, but at least we can learn something.”
Other than the season opener at Utah Motorsports Campus, competitors are still somewhat in the dark about what to expect from NRX this year.
While the ability to change the car on the fly will of course help, expectations of what might come, as well as a wealth of experience over decades of competing in Europe, have allowed the Hansen team to set up what they feel will be a strong baseline.
“What we believe is that it will be a little more gravel specification,” Hansen said. “And we also know that some of them are quite new builds.
I'm sure they will do everything they can, but sometimes the circuits need a couple of winters [to] settle down and make it really stableKenneth Hansen
“With the knowledge of that, of course, then you know circuits which are new can be quite rough, so we need to have that in mind so the car can be used during rough conditions.
“When it’s a new build circuit, stuff quite often comes up because it’s very difficult to build the perfect circuit for the first year. I’m sure they will do everything they can, but sometimes the circuits need a couple of winters [to] settle down and make it really stable.
“When we go for the European tracks, many of them have been developed during many, many, many years. So no circuit is perfect because you can always work on it.”
Hansen expects the likes of Montalegre, Spa-Francorchamps and Höljes in Sweden to provide the best indication of what the NRX tracks will be like.