|PHOTO CREDIT: FIA World RX Media.|
Whilst Sweden ushered in the new season, it wasn't the smoothest of starts for Timmy Hansen on homesoil. However, his younger brother Kevin lifted the team spirit with a second-place finish in the second round of the championship at the same venue.
Team boss, Kenneth Hansen believes that his team were at a slight disadvantage compared to their rivals who competed in the RallyX Nordic "Magic Weekend" in Höljes with 2020 specification machinery.
And while the dust settles on the season opener in Sweden, the World RX championship moves to Finland for the second doubleheader of the season.
Kouvola's addition to the 2020 calendar was somewhat sudden but also highly welcomed, as other events dropped off the calendar due to complications from the ongoing Covid-19 situation. With past experience at the track for both Timmy and Kevin, it's a favourite circuit of both the team and drivers.
"Kouvola is a great track. It has strong character, good jumps, elevation changes, fast and slow corners, so it's nice to be driving there again. I think I have the lap record there but I'm not sure! I've had some good races there and I'm looking forward to going back," Timmy Hansen said.
The defending champion struggled with traffic all weekend in Sweden, but he firmly believes that Team Hansen has the package to challenge for wins in 2020.
"I believe we have what it takes in our package to win a couple of races and to be able to fight at the top," he adds. "Last weekend wasn't normal and my hope is Finland is closer to what we would consider 'normal'. The car is still good, so we're hoping for a better result in Finland."
Kouvola is a track of two very distinct halves: the first half almost like Rally Finland, with wide, fast roads featuring jumps, while the second half is tight, twisty and technical.
Kevin returns to a track with fond memories having made his first appearance at an international-level rallycross event and won his first-ever RX Lites race at the age of 16.
"Kouvola is quite similar to Höljes, with a lot of elevation changes. I love the track; it's got a good flow and I think we have a good car for it too," Kevin Hansen said.
Having stepped onto the podium in Sweden, the 22-year-old expects to score more podium finishes in Finland but admits that the team needs to keep pushing.
"I expect we'll be able to score podiums in Finland. That's the aim, and we need to keep on our toes and do the maximum possible," he said. "If we want to reach the podium or score wins, we have to keep pushing step-by-step beyond where we are now."
Whilst Team Hansen did not have the pace they expected in Sweden, rounds 3 and 4 of the condensed calendar will give the team strong motivation to perform at their best.
"It's good to be back racing so soon after the last round. We didn't have the result we expected last time, so we have strong motivation to be back on track again and trying to perform to our best," Team Hansen team principal, Kenneth Hansen said. "It's going to be quite unusual this time, as it's the first time we're racing with only World RX present and none of the support categories."
"Both Timmy and Kevin know and love this circuit, so they'll have a slight advantage over the drivers who've been here before. But there won't be a big difference compared to the top-calibre drivers who've not raced here before; they'll get into it quickly."
Written By - Junaid Samodien.