Monday 2 July 2018

Peugeot Total tries to find positives from Höljes

PHOTO CREDIT: Peugeot Sport. 
The latest evolution of the Peugeot Total 208 RX Supercar was introduced at Höljes in Sweden, with the team swapping the previous specification for a brand-new learning curve. The Hansen brothers got their 208 WRX Supercars into the final, but the overall result does not tell the full story. 

Timmy Hansen scored the best result for Team Peugeot Total in 4th, but was running 2nd until the last lap, when he was hit and ended up in the gravel trap.

Hansen was rapid in every one of his qualifying heats, holding a top 3 position overall after Q4. "The guys in the team - engineers, mechanics, and me too – did a great job to adapt to all the changes with the updated Peugeot 208 WRX," said Timmy Hansen.

Timmy was all set to convert the Q4 result into a strong finish, after he clinched 2nd position in semi-final 2, but the Swede was taken out in the final run through no fault of his own. "I was in 2nd position on the last lap during the final," said Hansen. "First of all, Andreas Bakkerud pushed me off line and passed me. And then Mattias Ekström completely pushed me off the track – and I actually dislocated my shoulder in the impact. So I am in a bit of pain."

Timmy Hansen's car being recovered after the incident in the final.
PHOTO CREDIT: Peugeot Sport
"We still have a lot of potential to discover in all of these updates. So it's easy to be motivated for what comes next," the Swede said. "We will become faster and faster throughout the year.” Nonetheless he can take away more positives than negatives from the weekend, having shown the clear potential of the new-specification 208 WRX.

Sebastien Loeb also had a taste of the all new Peugeot 208 WRX Supercar, but had an unlucky weekend. "I'm not so satisfied with the weekend, I have to say. I had a difficult Q1 and Q2," said Loeb. "In Q3 this morning, I hit Timur Timerzyanov and broke my suspension, so I finished last in the heat."

Loeb's 7th position in qualifying reflected his struggle to find a clean run and the right rhythm with the updated car in a very high level of competition. "After Q4, I qualified 7th overall for the semi-finals. With that place, you start on the outside of the ​2nd row, which isn’t the best position," he adds. "So the race started off quite badly for me and didn’t really get any better."

The Frenchmen finished 4th in semi-final 1, narrowly missing out on going through to the final: less than 4 tenths of a second behind 3rd position. "Our objective for the championship is to collect points and we didn’t get many this weekend," says Loeb. "In the overall rankings, Johan Kristofferson is moving further away at the top and that wasn't the goal either." 

"Overall, the updated Peugeot 208 WRX feels better than the previous one,  but we ​still ​need to improve in the future. I think we have some good directions to work in now," he concludes.

Kevin Hansen in the older specification 208 WRX Supercar.
PHOTO CREDIT: Peugeot Sport.
Timmy Hansen's younger brother Kevin Hansen put in a great performance and thus show how he has developed throughout the season. The Swede was delivering consistent performances in qualifying and earning valuable championship points after finishing 2nd in his semi-final.

“It was a really good weekend. We worked hard to progress throughout the weekend for our first round with the Peugeot 208 WRX in basic 2018 spec," said Kevin Hansen. "It's a bit different from the previous car I drove, so it took a while to get used to it with the set-up and everything."

He started the final race side by side with his brother on row 2 but was not able to deliver the desired result due to mechanical issues: after a decent start, his engine cut out and the car stopped. 

"I think we progressed a lot both in terms of set-up and driving. And to get into the final once again is really amazing," said Kevin. "Unfortunately, we stopped on lap two with a technical problem. It's a shame but making it to the final here in Höljes is really great.”

Team Peugeot Total is now 3rd in the teams’ championship standings with 233 points: however, 2nd position EKS Audi Sport are only 6 points ahead. In the drivers’ championship rankings Sebastien is 4th,Timmy 5th and Kevin 7th. 

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