Wednesday | 23 Nov 2022

Hansen: Foundations already laid for 2023 title tilt

Despite the disappointment of Kevin Hansen’s post-race disqualification from second place at World RX of Germany earlier this month (12-13 November), Hansen World RX Team is heading into the winter in bullish mood, after treating the event as an opportunity to kick-start its preparations for a 2023 title challenge.

Despite the disappointment of Kevin Hansen’s post-race disqualification from second place at World RX of Germany earlier this month (12-13 November), Hansen World RX Team is heading into the winter in bullish mood, after treating the event as an opportunity to kick-start its preparations for a 2023 title challenge.

With Johan Kristoffersson having already clinched a fifth Drivers’ World Championship and Kristoffersson Motorsport all-but assured of the Teams’ crown travelling to the Nürburgring for the FIA World Rallycross Championship season finale, the principal focus for Hansen World RX Team was on securing second position in both standings with its brace of all-electric Peugeot 208 RX1e beasts.

That goal was duly achieved, as 2019 World Champion Timmy Hansen snared the Drivers’ runner-up spoils for the third time in his career at the highest level – with the family-run outfit similarly pipping Construction Equipment Dealer Team to second in the Teams’ table.

As he has so often been in recent seasons, the elder Hansen brother was Kristoffersson’s closest competitor for the majority of the weekend. Indeed, he led his countryman for much of the opening heat, but the 30-year-old came off worst in a three-way fight at the beginning of the final, restricting him to third in the race classification – his sixth podium finish of the 2022 campaign.

“To finish second in the Drivers’ Championship is fantastic and also second for the team in the Teams’ Championship is a great result,” he acknowledged. “Of course we want to win and I know we are all still very hungry to create a better package, but we will absolutely take this result and look to the future.

“I’m proud of our guys who kept the car in one piece all season long. We’re going to immediately get our heads down and get to work to make some proper improvements for 2023.”

Younger sibling Kevin was never far behind, and set the pace outright in heat two before crossing swords with Ole Christian Veiby at the start of heat three. After twice finding himself forced wide in the Nürburgring’s tight first turn, the former FIA European Rallycross Champion elected to brake early in the final to gain the undercut on the exit of the corner, which paid off handsomely as it set him up for a second-place finish.

That looked to have enabled Hansen to leapfrog Niclas Grönholm for third in the Drivers’ Championship at the last gasp – just as the Finn had done to him at the same circuit 12 months previously – only for a technical infringement to see him removed from the results, dropping the Swede to fifth in the points battle.

“Obviously we wanted to win, but sometimes you just need to maximise your performance and we really did that,” he reflected. “I’m pleased that the car felt great over the weekend and while we still have more performance to find, we are working on that. We have good signs and a better understanding now.

“Generally, the first season of electric World RX has been really fun and a huge milestone for Hansen Motorsport, but we want to win the championship and we will work very hard to find some more answers for 2023. We’ve never had these kinds of smiles and positivity in the team before, and we are very motivated to continue this journey.”

“With some different thinking, different people and different ideas, we found things over the course of the weekend,” echoed Team Principal, 14-time European Champion, Kenneth Hansen. “We had a good weekend with good speed and we learned a lot for next year. Overall, our 2023 season started already in Germany, and it’s a very positive feeling.”