Double heat win for Hansen puts team Peugeot-Hansen on top in France
Championship leader Petter Solberg is second in his Citroen DS3 Supercar.
Sweden’s Timmy Hansen leads the Bretagne World RX of France, round nine of the FIA World Rallycross Championship presented by Monster Energy, after taking two heat wins at the wheel of his Peugeot 208 WRX Supercar. Championship leader Petter Solberg is second in his Citroen DS3 Supercar despite a problem with his car’s gearbox while EKS driver Mattias Ekstrom is third in his Audi S1 EKS RX quattro.
Hansen – whose team-mate Davy Jeanney is fifth in Team Peugeot-Hansen's second car – was delighted with his performance but admitted he was capable of doing even better tomorrow. “The car is amazing and is doing exactly everything I want it to – it’s been a fantastic day,” explained the 22-year-old. “At this stage, I also have to think about other things such as tyre strategy so I’m not pushing to the maximum. I think there’s some room to go up a gear and go even faster. I’ve always loved Loheac – it’s a fantastic track and it’s great to see the support for our team - especially for Davy who is really popular with the home fans. It’s a really special event for us.”
It’s been a tough day,
Team Volkswagen Sweden’s Johan Kristoffersson is fourth after the Portugal RX winner scooped two top-four heat times. Ford Olsbergs MSE driver Andreas Bakkerud is sixth, with World RX Team Austria’s Manfred Stohl seventh – one spot ahead of Frenchman Jean-Baptiste Dubourg.
Elsewhere, it was heartache for Britain’s Guy Wilks as the Englishman was unable to start the heats following engine issues during free practice. The JRM Racing team is changing the engine on Wilks’ MINI RX Supercar overnight and he is expected to restart tomorrow.
Wilks summarised his day: “Practice didn’t go as planned - we were the first car out, the track was very slippery and we had a problem. We had to come back in and lost about an hour of running. When you’re trying to dial in a car to a rallycross circuit, that’s critical time. We got back on the circuit for the end of practice but the problem reoccurred so we couldn’t start the heats.”
Albatec Racing’s all-French team consisting of Euro RX front-runner Jerome Grosset-Janin and multiple World Touring Car Champion Yvan Muller were fifth and eight fastest respectively in heat one but dropped to 17th and 22nd after heat two. Grosset-Janin was slowed due to a front-left puncture while contact with Marklund Motorsport’s Topi Heikkinen ended up costing Muller crucial seconds.
“It’s been a tough day,” admitted Muller. “It started well and I had a good feeling in the car but I lost a lot of time in the second heat which dropped me far down the standings. I didn’t see exactly what happened with Topi – it’s hard to see with so much going on - but the problem with RX is that every heat counts and this will likely affect my chances of getting into the semis. I will come back tomorrow and fight, it’s not over yet.”
Denmark’s Ulrik Linnemann leads the 30 Super1600 cars entered for Loheac RX at the wheel of his Peugeot 208. He was fastest in the first heat and third fastest in heat two. Fastest in the second heat was Russia’s Egor Sanin, the Renault Clio driver making his first start in the highly-competitive S1600 category. Sandwiched between the two heat winners in the overnight standings is Set Promotion’s Timur Shigaboutdinov, who was second and then fourth fastest.
Heats three and four
Tomorrow’s World RX action will kick off at 8.30am local time with warm-up. Heats three and four will commence at 10am before the semi-finals and all-important final are scheduled from 2pm. The winners’ press conference will commence at 4.10pm.
FIA World Rallycross
World RX prepares for iconic Loheac event in France
Hansen wins Loheac RX for Peugeot at manufacturer’s home race