Wednesday 22 July 2020

"The biggest rival is myself" - Kevin Hansen.

Claiming two titles in 2019, Kevin Hansen will most certainly have his eyes on the 2020 FIA World Rallycross Championship title.

Coming from a rallycross family steeped in success;  Kenneth Hansen, a 14-time European Rallycross Champion and, Susann Hansen (mother) being one of the most successful women in rallycross having claimed the 1994 European Rallycross title; Kevin has experience and knowledge on his side. 

The Swede competed in rallycross since 2014 and knows what it takes to become champion having won titles in every championship entered, apart from the big prize in World Rallycross. 

Hansen joined the World RX field in 2015 and only received a full-time drive in 2017 with Peugeot. In 2019, he finally had equal machinery to his brother Timmy Hansen, the 2019 FIA World Rallycross Champion. While 2019 was a challenging season for Team Hansen, Kevin brought some joy by winning the inaugural Abu Dhabi RX event following a penalty awarded to Niclas Gronholm. The same success did not go for brother, Timmy, who suffered from a DNF at this point.

And while Kevin wants more “proper wins” in the premier class. He admits that leading the championship in the early stages of the 2019 season was very hard and as the season progressed he believes that Silverstone was a turning point in his championship fight having spun on the joker lap. 

The condensed 2020 season will leave no margin for error. And, while the risks are high. Kevin admits there are a few key factors that he can improve upon for the upcoming season. 

“I’ve picked up some key factors to improve in my driving, that will unlock some extra tenths that could be crucial in the long run,” he said. “Also the key to becoming world champion is all within me, and continuing to work very closely together with Timmy will again make the lives for the other competitors even harder!” 

Whilst the 2020 FIA World Rallycross Championship is yet to get underway due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, motorsport drivers require strict training, dietary allowances, etc. to keep them in tip-top shape. Hansen is keeping himself mentally and physically prepared for the season ahead by: “enjoying life, taking care of my body, and spending as much time as I can with friends. Also driving as much simulator, karting, and crosscars as I can to stay in great shape.”

Every driver is aware of what they need to find within themselves to achieve the ultimate result on a race weekend. And, in the pursuit of excellence drivers often come up against each other and rivalries form. 

We asked Kevin who he thinks will be his biggest rival in 2020. “The biggest rival is myself,” he said. “If I can concur, Kevin, then I know the rest will fall into place.”

It’s quite a task to balance racing in multiple series, as the Hansen brothers mastered in 2019 having competed in the Titans RX series and the FIA World Rallycross Championship. But in addition to this enormous balancing act, the Hansen brothers formed the “YellowSquad”, a young driver development programme. 

Kevin doesn’t see balancing the YellowSquad with his racing commitments as a challenge, because they have a well experienced former driver and team owner Eric Fären as the team’s manager. 

“I’m super stoked to enter the second year of the #YellowSquad. The ambition with the team is right where we want them to be, growing into RX2, expanding our capacity, working with great people that share the passion for RX just like we do,” he said.

“Eric Fären is the perfect team manager for the YellowSquad. We put a lot of trust into him on race weekends, which we feel very good doing. To have two mega fast drivers in Henrik Krogstad and Dan Skocdopole is making me very proud as a team principal. The work we have done during the winter with these two is just what we hoped to be doing. They will become greater versions of themselves, and they will work just like we do in Team Hansen.” 
Kevin leading older brother Timmy and Andreas Bakkerud in Cape Town.
PHOTO CREDIT: FIA World Rallycross.

Whilst most motorsport championships are issuing provisional calendars and others canceling their entire season (ie. Titans RX). Some countries are reducing their lockdown restrictions thus allowing racing within strict rules with no fans allowed to attend. The RallyX Nordic championship is an example of just that. The series opener was held in the first week of July and has been the perfect test bench for many rallycross teams in the past. So, we asked Kevin if Team Hansen RX intend to compete in any other series or championships this year. 

“Our main focus is World RX for sure, though we are looking at more races in 2020, but at the moment it's really hard to know what will be!” he explains.

While at the end of the 2018 season Peugeot withdrew from the championship as a factory team. The Hansen family were able to secure funding to purchase two 2017-spec Peugeot’s with some 2018 updates. And, in order to remain ahead of the field Team Hansen RX require two supercars capable of giving their drivers the best possible opportunities, which means the team needs to solve or fix any issues they might have had in 2019.

Kevin admits that the team had some weaknesses on loose gravel, and in 2020 they will have small upgrades on the Peugeot 208 WRX. 

“We know our weak spots from 2019, and we believe we have touched on those problems over the winter together with our partners,” he said.

Hansen adds that the team is working continuously with Oreca on the engine for more power and starts, but admits that “we know where to improve, and that sounds easier than it is to identify something like that when the car you have was the best in 2019.”

With the 2020 FIA World Rallycross Championship season set to begin in August in Höljes, Sweden. Double World RX champion Johan Kristoffersson returns, and biggest rival Andreas Bakkerud switches to Renault machinery. Kevin predicts that the 2020 season could be a five-way fight.

Can Team Hansen RX come out on top in 2020? We will find out in just under a month!

Written By - Junaid Samodien
Co-Editor - Franco Theron 

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