At 19 points adrift of the summit of the standings as he approaches his second FIA World Rallycross Championship title showdown, Kevin Hansen acknowledges that he needs to ‘make things happen’ at the Nürburgring this weekend (27-28 November) if he is to have a chance of lifting the laurels – but he is ready to give it his best shot.
Hansen’s season could scarcely have got off to a better start than it did in Catalunya back in July, as the Swede artfully fended off three-time title-winner Johan Kristoffersson in a dazzling semi-final duel and then went on to undercut both his KYB EKS JC rival and team-mate Timmy Hansen for an emotional second career triumph at the international pinnacle of the discipline.
After overcoming a difficult run through the qualifying stages on home soil at Höljes, Hansen fought his way to the runner-up spoils before replicating that result at Lohéac to cement a third consecutive Hansen World RX Team one-two as he shadowed elder brother Timmy right the way to the chequered flag.
A troubled weekend in Riga marked the only time all season that the 23-year-old has failed to reach the rostrum to-date – winding up fifth on day two in the Latvian capital – but a solid run to second at Spa-Francorchamps kept his title bid on-track.
Another spectacular scrap with Kristoffersson at Montalegre last time out resulted in third place and a sixth podium finish of the campaign, and as he heads into this weekend’s inaugural Nürburgring double-header, Hansen is eager to cap what he calls his ‘best season so far’ with a championship-challenging performance.
“Coming into the finale sitting third in the title race and looking to make things happen isn’t a new situation for me,” he reflected, having previously contested the coveted crown in Cape Town two years ago. “I’m a little further behind now than I was in 2019, but I learned a lot then and I’ll be able to enjoy it much more this time around while trying to do my best for myself and the whole team to finish off the year in style.
“I’d rate my season an eight-out-of-ten up to now. Not having the pace in Riga was a bit of a setback and we’ve had some bad luck here and there, but overall, I feel it has been my best season so far in terms of pure performance and my ability to get the most out of the car.
“It will be two action-packed days in Germany. The sun goes down early at this time of year, so we’re doing a lot of racing in quite a small time window. That means we need to find a very clever balance between pushing and taking risks while avoiding mistakes, as there’s so little time to make changes and repairs between sessions.
“The circuit looks interesting. The gravel section looks absolutely proper, and it’s also a bit like Mettet in Belgium that the World Championship has visited in the past. It should be an exciting track and I’m looking forward to racing there. It will require precision at high speed and it has a nice even split of asphalt and gravel, so I feel like it will be a good track for me.
“Spending the last two weekends racing in America gives us a nice boost for this finale; it keeps everything fresh, and I’m already in the groove heading to the Nürburgring. The car I drive over there and the one I'll have in Germany are very similar and our outright pace in the last few weeks has been excellent, so I’m feeling good. I’ll be hoping for a good grid draw and if that goes well, it then comes down to focussing on getting the small details right.”
|Top Qualifier Spots||0|
|Qualifying Session Wins||1|