Mon 18 Mar 2024

The day Hansen became his son’s hero in Hungary

Kevin Hansen remembers it clearly. It was his first passenger ride in a race car, and the day his father became his lifelong hero...

Kevin Hansen remembers it clearly. It was his first passenger ride in a race car, and the day his father became his lifelong hero – inspiring a career of his own that he hopes will lead, perhaps this year, to his ultimate goal of FIA World Rallycross Championship glory.

“I was very young – around ten-years-old, I think – and it was a super-hot day at Nyirád,” recollects the 2023 world championship runner-up. “My friends didn’t go to the race, so I was hanging out with the team a lot. I remember sitting with all the mechanics as they were tweaking the livery to the classic Kenneth Hansen black stripes on the front of the car.

“Later that day they did passenger laps, and I was eager to join. Kenneth allowed me. I remember jumping in the car, and the only thing he said to me was, ‘push your head as hard as you can into the seat!’ Then off we went. I remember it like it was yesterday, and it was at that moment my father took the spotlight as my idol for the rest of my life.”

Hansen Snr triumphed at Nyirád in 2008 – on the way to the last of his record-breaking 14 European Rallycross Championship crowns – as he and his red Citroën C4 T16 tamed the similarly-coloured ‘Red Cauldron’, so-called due to the distinctive hue of its unsealed sections, having been built on the site of a former bauxite quarry.

Hansen Jnr is also a winner at the popular old-school circuit, prevailing there in TitansRX in 2019 when he led home a Hansen Motorsport one-two ahead of team-mate and elder brother, Timmy Hansen – a result the pair would replicate in the overall standings that season.

The 25-year-old is excited to see Nyirád join the World RX calendar for the first time this summer (27-28 July), when he will be bidding to reach the top step of the rostrum once again as he continues his quest to clinch the sport’s ultimate prize.

“I love the track,” Hansen enthused. “It’s a classic European rallycross circuit – super-fast and super-fun with a lot of elevation, and somewhere you need to take risks to be quick, especially going down the hill. After winning there in TitansRX, I’ll certainly be looking to do the same with our electric Peugeot 208.

“The first turn and joker strategy are the highlights. You’ve got to make a great launch into Turn One as it’s really tight with a crest, and then you slide onto the gravel after Turn Four. The joker is long and challenging – you can win and lose a race in there – and the merge is fantastic, as fans can clearly see both cars on both lines at the same time.

“I can imagine it’s a huge step for Nyirád to join the world championship now. It’s such a cool place with very passionate people, and hopefully there will be a great-looking vibe. I think we will see a huge crowd.”

Starts: Thursday, July 18, 2024 at 4:31:00 AM
Starts: Friday, July 26, 2024 at 7:00:00 AM
Starts: Saturday, July 27, 2024 at 6:00:00 AM