Team Hansen has not had the start to the season that they had hoped for after being crowned champions in 2019. However, after a 3-day test in Sweden, the team aims to take a step forward in Latvia.
PHOTO CREDIT: Red Bull Content Pool.
The Hansen brothers have claimed two podium finishes thus far in 2020, with Kevin picking up a second-place finish in Sweden (currently fifth place in the drivers' championship), and reigning World RX champion Timmy scoring third place in finish Finland (ranked fourth in the championship). Their combined efforts have put Team Hansen only 19 points off the top of the teams’ championship with more than half the 2020 season to go.
Latvia will mark the half-way point of this year’s World RX season, as it hosts the third double-header event of the year.
During the three-week gap since the previous round at Kouvola (Finland), the Hansen's have been hard at work making refinements to their Peugeot 208 WRX Supercars, conducting a three-day test at Lidköpings Motorstadion with their two drivers.
"The start to this season has been a little bit difficult at times but overall it's still been a positive beginning," Timmy Hansen said. "We did a three-day test near the workshop to evaluate the areas we'd been struggling with so far this year, as well as developing some new things. Hopefully, that'll pay off this weekend."
"We've definitely done everything we can to take a step forward for now and although this season is tricky, with there not being much time between the races, the test went well, so I'm excited to see what happens this weekend."
Timmy Hansen returns to Riga, a venue with fond memories after claiming a third-place finish in 2016, and a victory in 2019, which was key to his championship fight.
"I won here last year which was a key point in taking the world championship, so I'm excited to be coming back to Riga and see how we fare," he said. "With this being another double-header round, we need to be sharp and on the pace from the beginning, as there's no time to make any significant changes between the rounds."
With a return to a track expected to suit the team's Peugeot 208 better than the opening four rounds, the team is hoping for a first win of the year.
"Riga is a very nice track. It has suited us very well in the past; it's more of a high-grip circuit like Loheac, Abu Dhabi and Barcelona, which is the type of circuits we're best at," Kevin Hansen said. "Johan has won here twice in the past of course but I feel that we've got a good car for this track and it should suit us more compared to the tracks we've raced on so far this year."
“We've been testing recently to make improvements in specific areas and we feel like we're arriving in Riga with fewer question marks, which should hopefully bring us a little bit more performance from the first race of the weekend. It looks like it'll be a dry, warm weekend, and it's great to have fans safely back at the track for this event.
“Riga feels a bit like a street circuit; its corners are tight and twisty, with some fast stretches in between, but more than anything you need to watch out for the walls and barriers everywhere," the Swede adds. "There are plenty of run-off areas in Höljes and Kouvola but here, it's a bit like we're competing at the Monaco of rallycross."
The purpose-built Biķernieki circuit in Latvia features the longest lap of the year in both distance and time, with a lap length of 1.295km and a track record time of 48.485s.
"Riga is a bit more like circuit racing compared to what we had in the first two rounds," says Kenneth Hansen, Team Boss. "It's a challenging track because of how different it is, with it being the longest lap of the season and also the hard jump early in the lap, which requires a delicate set-up balance between softness to cope with the landing but stiffness for grip elsewhere in the lap."
Written By - Junaid Samodien