Hansen NRX Team will look to continue its undefeated run in Nitro Rallycross later this year with both Kevin and Timmy Hansen returning to what is now a full series.
Kevin Hansen will complete the full slate of five events as he looks to go back-to-back successes after his 2019 win.
“Coming back to the US to take on Nitro Rallycross again is going to be mega,” said the current world championship points leader.
“Utah Motorsports Campus is a circuit unlike anything I’ve driven elsewhere in the world – and now there’s going to be five of these insane tracks! How could I not come back and try to win it again?
“Travis Pastrana has done a super job with the original Nitro track, so I can’t wait to see what he has in store for us at the other locations.
“I want to win NRX again this year, of course, but it’ll be more difficult than ever before. There are some quality teams and drivers in this series so it will be a big ask to finish on top, but we are relishing the challenge.
Timmy Hansen meanwhile is currently down to race in the season opener at the Utah Motorsports Campus, but hopes to add further events around his World RX and Extreme E commitments.
“I am so happy to be coming back – I have such great memories of Nitro Rallycross from 2018 and ’19,” he said.
“Going over the jump in Utah was unlike anything I’d experienced before; this track is a rollercoaster with its big air and banked turns. And to be in history as the first ever winner of an NRX event is a really cool achievement. I can’t wait to go back.
He added: “I’d love to do the whole championship but it’s a bit tricky to know if that is possible – between NRX, World RX and Extreme E I have a lot of driving and traveling to do.
“So I’m going to go to Utah aiming to win, and then hoping I can come back and do some more races. It would be awesome to try out the new tracks.”
The Hansens join EKS JC (with RX Cartel and Dreyer & Reinbold Racing) in running dual programs across World RX and NRX, with Xite Energy Racing also expected to follow suit. It will once again run a brace of Peugeot 208s in the US, albeit with a few refinements to cater to the unique demands of the purpose-built NRX tracks.
“We’ve got a slightly different spec of car for NRX compared to the world championship, so all the hard work the team has been putting in to perfect my US 208 will hopefully put me in a great position to compete at the top,” explained Kevin.
Team boss Kenneth Hansen added that the team has been keen to return to the US since it last competed there, calling the new NRX series one of the world’s “two premier categories” of rallycross alongside the FIA’s world championship.
“Since we packed up our container in Utah two years ago, we’ve wanted to come back and race here again, so we’re very happy to have made it back onto the grid,” he said.
“We are pushing as a team to bring the best package possible to the US. With the drivers of course we have the best line-up possible; they are currently the top two drivers in the world championship and the only past winners of NRX after all! But also on the technical side, we have been hard at work preparing a car that is perfectly suited to the big jumps and slippery gravel the US circuits have.
“We want to give Kevin and Timmy the best tools to go out and win more races here – hopefully we’ll achieve that with this version of the 208.”
The team to beat?
While 2021 marks the first time Nitro Rallycross has been a fully-blown series, we have been treated to a pair of single-round competitions at the Nitro World Games in 2018 and ‘19.
At those, the Hansens came, saw, and won; beating the US regulars on their own turf.
At the inaugural Nitro Rallycross competition, Timmy ended a lengthy winless streak to lead home fellow European import Mattias Ekström. A year later he would win the World RX title.
Meanwhile, after watching from the sidelines in 2018, Kevin joined in the fun in ‘19. It was a busy year for the Hansen brothers, with NRX fitted in around full-time World RX and TitansRX campaigns on their packed schedule.
Kevin emulated his brother to win at his first attempt, heading another Swede in three-time Global Rallycross event winner Patrik Sandell. Hansen would follow up his NRX win with the TitansRX title as the family completed a clean sweep of every competition it entered for the year.
Their dominance in NRX to-date has led to series pioneer Travis Pastrana joking that Swedes are “banned”, but of course confirmation of their return – and it’s been a long time coming – is very much a welcome one.
Can they go three for three in 2021? It’ll be a tougher task, five-times tougher in fact, and they’ll be sure to have a target on their backs.