|PHOTO CREDIT: Red Bull Content Pool|
As the extensive investigation continued over weeks and months, the 2023 championship seemed in doubt, however, the FIA World Motor Sport Council [WMSC] took an unprecedented decision through an e-vote to continue the season with equal machinery citing ‘logistical complications and the continued investigation.’
The decision was taken that all drivers will compete in equal cars – the ZERIOD X1 [RX2e] vehicles. A car that was designed to ‘emphasize the drivers' abilities behind the wheel, prioritizing his or her skill and ingenuity.’
The ZEROID X1 vehicles generate 270kW (362bhp) of power and up to 510Nm torque, but with equal machinery, what will be the defining difference between winning and losing with four rounds remaining?
“It’s got a lot to do with the driving,” Kevin Hansen explained. “When the cars are so similar. It then goes down to the driving and the very fine engineering details. Everyone will have the same or similar adjustments, so it will all come down to the absolute smallest of ideas, compared to when we develop our own cars.”
“It will all come down to finding the perfect balance with this type of car. I think for sure, it’s going to be a big challenge, but we have some experience, and hopefully, we can put that together.”
The Hansen brothers’ together with Kristoffersson Motorsport competed in the ZERIOD X1 cars earlier this year in the penultimate round of the RX2e championship in Mettet [Belgium], with championship leader Kristoffersson claiming victory.
The 25-year-old Hansen, admits that the ZERIOD X1 car “suits my driving” style.
“The ZERIOD X1 cars, which I actually used to drive [earlier in my career]. It is very similar in the base, and I have had good results, and a lot of learning from that style of car,” Kevin said.
“It’s a style of car that really, really suits my driving. and I really enjoy driving it a lot. I drove in the car in the last few months, we competed in Mettet [Belgium] earlier this year, where for the first time, we set the pace, as the Hansen team, and Kristoffersson team had to play a bit of catch-up.”
“[So, I think] we are in a good place, and we are hopeful, that we continue that strong performance. Obviously, Johan [Kristoffersson] is leading the championship, and he is a very strong driver, and my brother will be in the most similar material as well. So, it’s going to be very challenging. But, I think we have great support from our family team. And, I think we have the best chance coming down to Cape Town to win the race.”
|Kevin Hansen [left] and Timmy right] chatting in Belgium.|
PHOTO CREDIT: Red Bull Content Pool
“He [Johan] has had a fantastic season, and, he has a big lead in the championship. I’ve had two retirements earlier in the season. On two occasions, the FIA safety light came on after big G-force [impact], and I had to retire from the race[s], so me being in fifth, and Kevin is third. Of course, we want to get there, but it’s more about this stage of being in the middle and having to adapt to these new cars. You need to drive in a different way,” Timmy Hansen said.
The 2019 World Champion admits that he struggled to adapt to the ZERIOD X1 cars when driving in Mettet earlier this year.
“I was struggling a bit at the race in Belgium. I struggled with not having the power on the exit of the corners that I’m used to. These cars have about 200kW’s less. So, they are 300kW instead of 500 now,” he said.
“I need to adapt, but also I’ve been working super hard. I’ve been driving different cars, and I have been trying to get my head around this different driving style. That is really where my head is at, and I am going to arrive in Cape Town giving it my everything. I am going to do things differently from what I did in Belgium. I need to figure out exactly how to get the most out of this car, and then hopefully, we can fight for the win and whatever that means at the end of the story, whatever that means for the championship is a different story, but I want to be competitive, and that is the focus.”
“I think this is all very interesting – it’s a new equal playing field for us all, and it’s about who can get to that perfection the quickest, and it’s not going to be a big difference between the cars that we are in. It’s going to be more about the driver. So, I need to be sharp on the day, and just go fast.”
It's hard to tell who will reign supreme in Cape Town, so make sure you get your tickets today for the 2023 World Rallycross of South Africa.