Monday, 23 August 2021

Timmy Hansen takes first home soil victory to snatch World Championship lead.

PHOTO CREDIT: Red Bull Content Pool.
Timmy Hansen led home younger brother Kevin to claim the teams' first one-two finish on home soil at the Swecon World RX of Sweden in Höljes (yesterday).

Wins for both drivers' in their respective semi-finals set up an all-Hansen front-row for the final, with the 2019 World Champion leading away from pole position, and holding the top spot all the way to the chequered flag.

Only 1.049s behind across the line was Kevin (Hansen), who briefly went side-by-side with his older brother through turn one in the final before ceding track position into the tight second turn.

Timmy’s run to victory had been confident, finishing as the top qualifier for the second consecutive race weekend ahead of Johan Kristoffersson. His performance in the first semi-final was well controlled, putting in an assured lights-to-flag win to bag a maximum 30-point haul from his home race.

"I am so happy, so excited, maybe even a little bit relieved, to finally have my first home win in World RX – one that’s mine to keep this time! This has been the one race more than any I’ve wanted to win. I think every racing driver gets a special feeling to win in front of their home crowd and even though Höljes wasn’t quite as packed as it normally is with the restricted number of spectators, it’s still an amazing feeling," Timmy Hansen said.

"It’s hard to believe we even managed this result – scoring a 1-2 is an amazing feat. To pull it off two rounds in a row seems impossible. And to do it here in Sweden is magical. But the real magicians in our team are the engineers and mechanics – I’ve never felt so good in a car around this track as I did on Sunday. The reliability we have is all thanks to them – it’s sad that we didn’t get to race against Johan in the final but it also shows how critical every member of the team is to our success on the track."

Hansen admits the 2021 season has been the best start to the season he has ever had. 

"It’s my best start to the season ever – 57 points from a possible 60 – and before I get back in the 208 at Lohéac in two weeks," he said.

PHOTO CREDIT: Red Bull Content Pool
Kevin Hansen found himself starting on the far side of the grid throughout qualifying sessions (outside line) and, finding himself stuck in traffic in every race, struggled to show his true pace and could only manage a sixth place in the final intermediate standings.

Starting third in the second semi-final, the 23-year-old followed up a strong start with an early joker strategy, as he leapfrogged Krisztián Szabó for the win. His progress up the order was also aided by Johan Kristoffersson retiring with double punctures, sealing a front-row grid slow alongside Timmy for the final.

"Today we showed everyone why we are the leading team in the championship. We have a strong car, great engineers and mechanics, and fast drivers – but when myself and Timmy are together on the track, we can score amazing results like these. We have waited so long to take a first-place trophy home from Höljes and it’s a great feeling to have finally pulled it off, especially in this style and even though it wasn’t myself scoring the win today," Kevin Hansen said. 

"I had two great starts in the finals but in the end, Timmy had just enough to stay ahead in the last race. If it had been any other driver I would have sent it up the inside at turn two, as there was maybe enough space to try and squeeze through. But if I’d done that here, it would have compromised Timmy and, as we showed in Barcelona, the priority is always to score the best-combined result for the team."

"It’s a shame I lost some points with qualifying but with my grid positions, there wasn’t much more I could do."

Timmy's win ends an eight-year wait for Hansen World RX Team to secure its first home win at world championship level. The Swede had previously won on the road in 2015 before a post-race penalty demoted him to second – but this time around no last-lap pass was needed to cross the line in first place.

"I feel really pleased for Timmy – he has worked hard for many years to get a home victory and now he finally has it. Kevin’s development over the course of the weekend was also great to see; he struggled a lot with his positions in qualifying but he rebounded in excellent style with his semi-final performance," Kenneth Hansen, Hansen World RX team principal said.

"Our second one-two finish in a row really shows the strength of our team and how much we are focused on the details. Our strategy was executed perfectly by Timmy and Kevin, while the car performance at this circuit was much improved on last year’s two rounds in Höljes."

"We didn’t necessarily have the rawest pace – Kevin Abbring was showing some great speed in the Mégane, and Johan was quick like always – but everyone in our team used their experience and knowledge to bring the maximum out of what we have."

The Hansen World RX Team further strengthened its championship lead, building its advantage over GRX-SET to 40 points. 

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