Sunday 22 April 2018

Team Peugeot targets consistency and performance in Portugal

Image Copyright: Peugeot Sport
The debut FIA World Rallycross race weekend for Team Peugeot Total was not without incident. Sébastien Loeb finished 2nd in the final, and Timmy Hansen proving to be very quick in his Peugeot 208 RX Supercar lead the semi-final convincingly but stopped as a result of an electrical problem. Kevin Hansen also showed plenty of promise in his independent Peugeot 208 RX Supercar. He qualified for the final but handed the place to Loeb who later finished in second place at the World RX of Barcelona-Catalunya as a result of Mattias Ekstrom's disqualification. 

Team Peugeot head off to Montalegre circuit in Portugal, with aim of matching the car’s obvious speed with even better consistency. The Montalegre circuit is 945 metres long and begins with a long straight down to the first corner hairpin, where the joker lap continues straight on. The rest of the track consists of a sequence of left and right turns, firstly on asphalt before changing to gravel.

Let's hear from the Team Peugeot Total drivers:

Sébastien Loeb
“On the one hand we got a good result in Barcelona, on the other hand it didn’t mean too much because you get the points in the qualifying heats and those weren’t very good. So hopefully we can go better in Portugal. There’s more gravel, it’s more slippery, and there’s also a risk of rain – which we experienced already in Barcelona, so we’re well-prepared for that possibility! It’s going to be interesting to see how competitive the car is in these different conditions. Last year we generally saw that our car was quite competitive when there was a lot of grip, but less so when it was looser. Driving on loose gravel is nothing new for me, but you can’t really compare rallying with rallycross: it’s a whole different experience. You have to make the best of what you have, right in the moment.”

Timmy Hansen
“I really love Montalegre now, but it was actually one of the circuits that I struggled with when I first started driving. It’s what we call a real gravel circuit and it was built specifically for rallycross without compromise. The good thing is that the gravel in Portugal is very consistent, so even after many cars have driven through it, it still feels the same. You have to really drive and slide the car there and it’s a lot of fun. I remember that Seb had a very strong performance last year in Portugal and came close to winning. So, I think we can do the same as we did in Barcelona, which was a perfect weekend: at least when it came to the factors that we could control! I know now that I’ve got the tools to fight this year, so I have a very big motivation.”

Kevin Hansen [Independent entry]
“I’m really looking forward to Portugal as it’s the track where I first drove the PEUGEOT 208 WRX last year, so I have some very happy memories and I know the track well. The joker lap is at the end of a long straight so sometimes you have to make a late call on your tactics if you see the person ahead of you not braking at the end of the straight – are they going for the joker lap, or just leaving their braking to the last minute? I think we have a very good car this year; we just need to put everything together. We are working hard on it.”

Currently, Sébastien Loeb and Timmy Hansen are 6th and 7th respectively in the FIA World Rallycross drivers’ championship, while Team Peugeot Total are 3rd in the team standings.

Source: Peugeot Sport
Image Copyright: Peugeot Sport
Written By: Junaid Samodien

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