With a total of 16 European Rallycross Championship titles Hansen Motorsport is the most successful team in Rallycross history. However, the kick-off of a new Rallycross era looked very promising for HM, but at the end of the Easter weekend they had to leave Lydden Circuit with less they had hoped for.
Timmy Hansen, the first born son of 14-times European Rallycross Champion Kenneth Hansen and 1994 ERA 1400 Cup winner Susann Bergvall [now Hansen], started year 1 of the RallycrossRX series with a bang. The 20 year old former Karting and Formula racer has left the all-tarmac race tracks to commit to the motorsport of his parents. His decision is the result of three reasons. Firstly: his career in single-seater racing got stuck, as, like in all other motorsport branches, the best seats need to be dearly paid with huge amounts of sponsor money. Secondly: the Swede has realised that the sport of Rallycross, and especially the all-new RX series, has a huge chance to become a mainstream affair in the World of car racing, since promoter IMG has taken over the helm now. Thirdly: being a member of the team of his father is the biggest chance of climbing up the stairway to Rallycross heaven. Hansen Motorsport is the Champions’ factory of the European series, even for those who do not belong to the clan from Götene. Russian Timur Timerzyanov joined the Swedish squad in 2011 to claim their 16th ERC title just one year later. And it will not be their last!
Hansen junior claimed the fastest times in three of the four qualifying heats as well as remaining the only competitor to do 4 laps of Lydden Circuit twice in less than 3 minutes. When the Citroën campaigner set the fastest time of the weekend with 2:58.810, in heat 4 on Sunday, American Tanner Foust with 3:00.297 made it to second place and the third fastest time of all 19 SuperCar drivers. “I’m really happy with the result, but almost more than that I’m really happy about the pace of myself and the car over the whole weekend”, said Hansen later. “I am so pleased with how the heats went. To be almost two seconds faster than the next driver in Rallycross is a huge gap. If you had told me we would have that pace before we came here it would have been hard to believe.”
Young Hansen finished qualification with 7 points (4 points would have been the perfect score). That makes it hard to believe that the 2013 RallycrossRX season opener marked only his third event in a 550+bhp strong Rallycross SuperCar. The second best driver after the four qualifying heats, Hansen’s compatriot Anton Marklund, scored three times as many points . However, in the finals Timmy’s surge towards victory was hampered by transmission problems of the Citroën DS3 SuperCar. “I had a transmission issue in the semi-final, and there wasn’t time to fix the car before the final, so I changed my driving to compensate”, Hansen claimed. “I stayed really focused on what I had to do. It’s amazing to finish third with such tough competition. I am going to enjoy this feeling. Portugal will be tough because I have never been there before, but I am going to study data and videos hard to learn as much as I can”.
The final was won by American Tanner Foust in his all-new Ford Focus Mark 7 ST, ahead of Jussi-Petteri Leppihalme in the ex-Andy Scott Ford Focus Mk2, rented by the young Finn from the Belgian team Pauwels Motorsport. Davy Jeanney made it to third place with his Citroën C4, but at re-scrutineering the underbody protection plate of the car was judged too heavy, thereby not corresponding with the FIA regulations for Rallycross cars. This breach of the rules resulted in a disqualification for the final, the Frenchman was downgraded from 3rd to 6th place overall and lost the 4 points from the last race of the weekend. Full advantage for Timmy Hansen who was awarded with the third place and an additional championship point. “Even if I couldn’t turn my actual speed into a victory, I think I’ve shown everyone I’m here to challenge for the title”, Hansen told with a smile. “I am very pleased with the weekend as a whole.”
Reigning European Rallycross Champion Timur Timerzyanov made it to Lydden this year, the previous problems with the British custom authorities had made the Russian do better homework for his Visa in due time. The man from the Republik of Tatarstan presented his all-new Hansen Motorsport Citroën DS3 SuperCar with Red Bull sponsoring for the first time. However, the maiden event for the 550+bhp vehicle delivered just one perfect result, “TT” won his semi-final from Davy Jeanney and reigning British champion Julian Godfrey. After qualification the champ found himself on 6th place of the ‘Intermediate Classification’, an early retirement due to a puncture in the 4th heat added 20 “heavy” points to his intermediate score.
Bad luck for “TT” once again in the last race of the day: “I hit a kerb too hard and got a puncture”, Timerzyanov said later. “These things happen. Last year I won the championship with an event to go and I didn’t even race at the first event, so it’s good to leave here with good points. It will be a long year.” Team principal Kenneth Hansen said: “It was a shame for Timur not to get the result he wanted in the final because he was going so well. We changed the set-up of his car after the first day to make him more comfortable and he was really on it through the semi-final and final.”
The third HM SuperCar driver, Norwegian Alexander Hvaal, had the worst of luck in England. The first engine of his Citroën DS3 collapsed already during practice and was quickly replaced by another one. Too quick seemingly, as later on it turned out of being not the best of an idea. According to the rules, it was going to cost him 15 championship points, while the maximum of points one can score is a total of 28 [16 for the best driver after 4 qualifying heats, plus 12 points for winning the semi-final as well as the final], making an engine change nothing but a gamble. Nevertheless, the motor was changed, Hvaal scored a total of 12 points in his four heats – and eventually missing the finals out after another engine breakdown. With the more than poor result that the Norwegian is currently to be found at the very bottom of the point standings, having 3 minus points now…
In the Super1600s category HM man Eric Färén dominated qualification, securing himself the first place of the ‘Intermediate Classification’ as well as 16 championship points. The Citroën C2 driver won also his semi-final, to add another 6 points to his score. However, in the last race of the weekend Färén missed the start and was subsequently beaten to third place by Dane Ulrik Linnemann and his runner-up Russian Vadim Makarov.
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