Hansen taking “risk” with test mileage to catch leaders

Reigning World RX champion Hansen is cautiously optimistic of pace breakthrough after Latvia

Timmy Hansen

Reigning World Rallycross champions Team Hansen has been “pushing the limits” in testing as it seeks its first round victory of the season.

The Peugeot team won five rounds from 10 last season, but with just four rounds remaining of the 2020 campaign, it is still in search of its first victory of the year, and fell further behind Audi team Team JC in the teams’ championship fight at last month’s Latvia rounds.

Since the Latvia doubleheader last month, 2019 Drivers’ champion Timmy Hansen has conducted several days of testing, with his team taking an approach of pushing its cars and equipment further than ever in its search for extra pace.

The reigning champion was left to develop the team’s updates alone, with younger brother Kevin called up as a replacement in the Red Bull Off-Road Junior Team’s rally raid line-up on the Andalucía Rally, where he finished fourth in the SSV class.

Hansen, a nine-time World RX event winner, hopes the extra risk will pay dividends.

“We’ve been pushing really hard with our testing programme since Latvia,” he said.

“We want to be winning races this year so we’re pushing the limits beyond what we’d normally do, running our equipment for much longer than usual to make sure we get it right

“But I like this level of commitment we’re taking, which of course carries some risk with it.”

“I’ve conducted many rallycross tests over the years and the results we got out of our test last week were some of the best we’ve ever had.”

Timmy Hansen

Photo: Jaanus Ree / Red Bull Content Pool

World RX returns to Barcelona this weekend and Team Hansen has only failed to finish on the podium there once in the five years that the Spanish Grand Prix venue has been on the schedule, scoring a one-two finish there last year

“I’m very excited to be coming to Barcelona with this fresh approach we’ve got and the multiple updates we’ve brought with us,” added Timmy Hansen.

“I’m feeling optimistic but the only way to know how much difference it’s going to make is once we’re up against the stopwatch at a race weekend.

“The car does feel drastically different, in a positive way, so my hope is that this is the step we’ve been looking for.

“There are so many good things going for us at this track, considering our history of results here and the updates we’re bringing, so I hope that will close the gap enough for us to win some races this year.”

Team boss Kenneth Hansen is cautiously optimistic about the progress the squad has made since Riga, saying that the coming weekend is set to be a good one for the team, but that the rest of the ultra-competitive World RX field can’t be discounted.

Kenneth Hansen

Photo: @World / Red Bull Content Pool

“We had a great result here last year but of course, we can’t take anything for granted, considering how strong our competition is,” he said.”

“But we haven’t been servicing the cars and sleeping since Riga. We’ve been doing testing and we’ve now got some updates on the cars that have shown positive signs.

“If those signs are as good as our first impressions suggest, this could be a good weekend for us.

“There were limits on how much we could test due to factors like the weather but we’ve done several test days with different set-up options, tweaks to the chassis and engine, and further optimizing the set-up of our Öhlins dampers.

“The plan is simple: to be battling for wins again. Let’s see what happens this weekend.”

Both Hansen drivers will have fewer rivals to contend with in Barcelona due to multiple withdrawals.

In addition to GCK pulling its Unkorrupted duo of Guerlain Chicheret and Rokas Baciuška, Finland podium finisher Juha Rytkönen’s move from GRX to Ferratum in World RX has been postponed due to a catastrophic engine failure for the team’s Ford Fiesta in Latvia, reducing the team to its lone Fiesta ERX entry in Projekt E.