The dawn of a new era, an era that is set to thrill us in more ways than one… not talking about the electrification, but an era that could potentially see the championship thrive.
Manufacturers could return, and the racing could be a lot closer than before, not forgetting the return of Kristoffersson Motorsport with four-time World Champion Johan Kristoffersson in a Volkswagen Polo R5 (chassis), Guerlain Chicherit in a Lancia Delta Evo-e, and Hansen Motorsport.
Hansen Motorsport is the most decorated team in rallycross, and they have recently announced a multi-year commitment to the championship with the Hansen brothers returning in new-look electric cars, based on the previously used Peugeot 208 platform but re-engineered to adopt a homologated powertrain from Kreisel Electric, which generates 500kW – equivalent to 680bhp and 880Nm of torque.
Having competed in World Rallycross since the series inception in 2014. The Hansen's have tons of experience in building race-winning cars, having fielded the Peugeot marque since the very start.
14-time European Rallycross Champion and team principal Kenneth Hansen has explained why his team has chosen to stick with the Peugeot 208 platform for the electric era rather than switching to the Rally2 specification chassis, which is permitted by the FIA Regulations.
"You can choose two different specifications. You could either choose a Rally 2 regulation car or you can retrofit old cars, and Hansen Motorsport have chosen to retrofit our old cars. We think that is the most efficient for our team. It's cost-efficient. We also recycle something, so that's good, but it's also performance-wise. We also think it's good. We think also with the electric coming now, it's such a lot of other things we need to learn. So, if we have the same platform, we don't need to start all over with that at the moment," Kenneth Hansen said.
|The possible electric powertrain layout in the Peugeot 208.|
PHOTO CREDIT: Hansen Motorsport
Well! 2019 World Champion Timmy Hansen expects the performance differences to come from the installation of the new powertrain kits, development of the chassis, as well as the technology in the car, such as the dampers, etc.
"I think we are going to have the same power train, and we don't quite know exactly the regulation yet, but I expect there to be performance in finding the set-up of the drive train. But then, as always, as part of what we love Rallycross for, we're still developing our own chassis, and if you knew what was going on behind the scenes, like the technology in the Dampers, for example, with Ohlin’s, it’s mind-blowing, and there is a lot of performance to find," Timmy Hansen said.
“So, we are going to push as hard as we've always been on the chassis side, it won't be exactly the same car. We are going forward in the best way that we can do together with our partners. There will be a lot of performance in that and also currently in fitting the electric battery and everything. This heavy part into the chassis in the right position is important.”
Once all the hard work is done building the cars to specification, younger brother Kevin Hansen believes that it will then come down to the drivers putting in a lot of work to get on top of the changes to gain an early advantage, while others adapt to the new technology.
“In the end, us (drivers) behind the wheel needs to do a really good job to put it together and be on top of these changes when they come out in the early stages before everyone starts to find their way through and looking what others are doing and so on,” he said.
The 2022 FIA World Rallycross Championship is set to get underway at Höljes on 2-3 July, followed by rounds at Germany (Nürburgring), Norway, Rīga in Latvia, Montalegre in Portugal, fan favourite Spa Francorchamps in early October, and Cape Town rounding out the season in November.