Tue 15 Feb 2022

Hansen hails World RX’s ‘fresh start’

Former world champion Timmy Hansen has described the FIA World Rallycross Championship’s impending electric era as ‘exactly the fresh start’ the discipline needs, as he predicts ‘incredible’ racing with the sport’s new breed of electrified four wheel-drive beasts.

Former world champion Timmy Hansen has described the FIA World Rallycross Championship’s impending electric era as ‘exactly the fresh start’ the discipline needs, as he predicts ‘incredible’ racing with the sport’s new breed of electrified four wheel-drive beasts.

Hansen is one of the most successful and experienced drivers in World RX history, with 12 victories and 38 podium finishes to his credit from 88 starts – as well as the 2019 Drivers’ crown, clinched in dramatic fashion in the season finale in South Africa.

Last year, the Swede was again involved in a nail-biting title fight – this time with Johan Kristoffersson – ultimately missing out on lifting the laurels for a second time by the tiniest of margins at the Nürburgring in November, as his countryman prevailed on countback.

Despite that disappointment, he remains justifiably proud of both his and Hansen Motorsport’s achievements in 2021, while looking forward with a great deal of optimism.

“I’ve tried many different series in my career, but in the end, for me, World RX is the most competitive,” the 29-year-old reflected, “and I think last season was maybe the strongest I’ve ever had in rallycross, and for us together as a team.

“You have to be absolutely spot-on and push yourself further all the time, and that’s what drives me most as an athlete and what keeps me motivated – going up against the very best in the world. It’s not for nothing that it’s a World Championship.”

The multiple title-winning Swedish squad will tackle the forthcoming campaign with a pair of retrofitted Peugeot 208s, and Hansen believes the team’s familiarity with the car – in a situation where all competitors will have to adapt to the new, Kreisel Electric-produced powertrain – could reap early dividends as it seeks to hit the ground running right from the outset.

“I think knowing the chassis already and how it works will be an advantage, at least to begin with,” he explained, “as it means we can focus on the electric technology and how we need to drive the car now to get the best out of it. There’s a lot of performance we can still find on the chassis side, and we will push as hard as always to extract it.

“We have to learn from what we got wrong in the past, while trying to carry over what we did well. It’s very important that we are on our ‘A’ game as we develop the car, to make sure we start the season as fast as we can and leave as little as possible to chance.

“Being on-point at the first test and making sure the car is reliable from the word ‘go’ will be a big challenge, and that’s what we are focussing on right now – getting the 208 as prepared as possible, so that when we do go testing, we can concentrate on the finer details.

“You never really know how quick anybody is until the first event, and that will be especially the case this year, I think, but ultimately, I want to be world champion again and we want to be world champions again as a team – that’s what we’re aiming for.”

Hansen is also enthusiastic about the opportunities ahead now World RX is going fully electric for the first time, forecasting that the switch will herald a bright new dawn for the discipline as it plots a pioneering path over the years ahead.

“A rule change in any series is always exciting,” he said. “I love what this sport has given us with the combustion cars and it’s been a fantastic era, but the top level is evolving and we have to evolve too. I think World RX is stronger now with the new promoter and the teams we have in the championship, and this feels like the right direction to be taking.

“We are all struggling with the environment, and we all have to play our part but we still want to enjoy sport. Rallycross is perfect for electric cars, and I think it is very ready for this change. The suspension and everything else over the years has developed so much that it was about time we got some more power to be able to go even faster!

“I’ve driven some electric cars, but never anything even close to the power that this one will have – and without needing to worry about saving energy, we will be flat-out and using all that power and torque for the whole race, which will be incredible. I’m very much looking forward to the new season. This is a fresh start, and I think that’s exactly what rallycross needs.”

Latvia
Starts: Thursday, July 18, 2024 at 4:31:00 AM
Italy
Starts: Friday, July 26, 2024 at 8:30:00 AM
Hungary
Starts: Saturday, July 27, 2024 at 9:30:00 AM