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06 Sep 2015

WRX: Hansen’s back-to-back

Category: News, WRX Posted 06.09.15 20:15 by

Timmy Hansen today claimed his second consecutive 2015 WorldRX victory at Lohéac in France, after winning the Norwegian WRX round in Hell only two weeks ago. Reigning World champion and series leader Petter Solberg made it to runner-up, while the real sensation was the third place of homeboy Jean-Baptiste Dubourg.

 

Sweden’s Timmy Hansen won the Bretagne World RX of France in style by triumphing at the ninth round of the FIA World Rallycross Championship presented by Monster Energy at home for Peugeot. It is the second event in a row that Hansen has won in his Peugeot 208 WRX SuperCar and the result sees the squad extend its lead at the top of the Teams’ Championship. Points leader Petter Solberg clinched the runner-up spot while Frenchman Jean-Baptiste Dubourg finished third in front of an elated home crowd.

 

The Lohéac SuperCars podium with (from left) runner-up Petter Solberg, winner Timmy Hansen and third JB Dubourg. © JKR/ERC24

The Lohéac SuperCars podium with (from left) runner-up Petter Solberg, winner Timmy Hansen and third JB Dubourg. © JKR/ERC24

 

At record crowd of 75,000 people was claimed to have attended the three days meeting. © JKR/ERC24

At record crowd of 75,000 people was claimed to have attended the three days of the meeting. © JKR/ERC24

 

A record crowd of 75,000 fans attended this weekend’s Lohéac RX as Hansen took top qualifier for the third event in a row and scooped the maximum 16 points available at Intermediate Classification. Solberg continues to lead the World RX Drivers’ Championship, 37 points ahead of Hansen. Third in the overall standings is Team Volkswagen Sweden’s Johan Kristoffersson, who finished fourth this weekend after another impressive drive in his VW Polo RX SuperCar.

“If there is one place I wanted to win it’s Lohéac – the home of Peugeot,” said race winner Hansen, who also wins the Monster Energy Super Charge Award for beating the other drivers to the first corner of today’s final. “It feels so good to take this win – the fans have given me so much support this weekend and it’s amazing to be able to give something back to them. The heats were tough – we had a strategy to save the tyres for the semi-finals and it felt so good to get through all four heats with the maximum 16 points and pole position. I pushed in the semi-finals with the new tyres. For the final, I had six clear laps and the team pushed me so hard on the radio, which kept me going right to the end. This victory is for all the supporters this weekend and to everyone who believed in Team Peugeot-Hansen.”

 

4-times Touring Car World Champion Yvan Muller (left) competed in his first Rallycross, but made it to 19th place only. © JKR/ERC24

4-times Touring Car World Champion Yvan Muller (left) competed in his first Rallycross, but made it to 19th place only. © JKR/ERC24

 

Guerlain Chicherit found them RX grapes also hanging pretty high, he finished 28th overall. © JKR/ERC24

Guerlain Chicherit found them RX grapes also hanging pretty high, he finished 28th overall. © JKR/ERC24

 

Solberg was pleased with second place as the Norwegian explained he had a clear strategy going into the weekend: “We had a plan this weekend to get as many points as possible during the heats – this is why we changed tyres for the third heat and didn’t save them for the semis,” explained the SDRX driver. “We’ve worked out that we need an average of 21 points at each race to keep ahead in the standings and this has been my focus. We’ve had some problems such as the gearbox on day one but I’m very happy with our performance and second place is brilliant for the Championship. Timmy was fast in the final – I knew it would be hard to catch him on new tyres but I want to say that I’m very impressed with Jean-Baptiste [Dubourg] – he is a proper talent and should be in the World Championship next year for sure.”

Euro RX front-runner Dubourg finished third driving his fellow-countryman Davy Jeanney’s former Citroën C4 RX SuperCar. He said: “This is a dream come true and a gift before Christmas. The semi-final was always the goal but when I made it to the final, I thought to myself that anything could happen and that I might be in with a chance of top three. A podium in an FIA World Championship – wow! It is just unbelievable. I’m going to enjoy celebrating with my team tonight, this victory is for them – I want to thank them for everything.”

 

The two Dubourg brothers did very well at Lohéac, while Jean-Baptiste made it to third in SuperCars... © JKR/ERC24

The two Dubourg brothers did very well at Lohéac, while Jean-Baptiste made it to third in SuperCars… © JKR/ERC24

 

...Andréa Dubourg became the runner-up to winner Ulrik Linnemann in Super1600s. © JKR/ERC24

…Andréa Dubourg became the runner-up to winner Ulrik Linnemann in Super1600s. © JKR/ERC24

 

Rounding out the top five at Lohéac RX was two-time DTM Champion Mattias Ekström who had a good run of form in his Audi S1 EKS RX quattro. Ekström, whose team-mate Anton Marklund made the semi-finals for the second event in a row, was knocked out of podium contention when he spun on turn one of the final and broke his car’s driveshaft. Robin Larsson was sixth, the Swede failing to finish the final after suspected gearbox problems in his Audi A1 SuperCar.

Elsewhere, it was a tough weekend for Solberg’s team-mate Liam Doran who showed good pace in his Citroën DS3 RX SuperCar but was deprived a semi-final position after breaking his car’s suspension in two of the heats. “My luck has got to change at some point – we’ve proved we’ve got the pace,” explained the Englishman. “The car is working well enough. We’ve got four chances left so we need to keep trying.”

 

The Super1600s rostrum with (from left) Andréa Dubourg, Ulrik Linnemann and Timur Shigabutdinov. © JKR/ERC24

The Super1600s rostrum with (from left) Andréa Dubourg, Ulrik Linnemann and Timur Shigabutdinov. © JKR/ERC24

 

In the Super1600 category, where there was a total of 30 cars entered, it was Denmark’s Ulrik Linnemann who took the overall victory and also his second win of the season. Frenchman Andréa Dubourg finished second much to the delight of the home crowd, while Russia’s Timur Shigabutdinov secured the third podium spot.  Linnemann’s win this weekend sees the Dane catapulted to second in the S1600 driver standings – one spot behind series leader, Jānis Baumanis. There are just two rounds remaining in this year’s S1600 category: Barcelona and Italy.

Paul Bellamy, the new World RX Managing Director for IMG, commented: “Once again Lohéac has delivered a phenomenal event and I would like to congratulate the organisers for their tremendous efforts in making this year’s Lohéac RX more popular than ever before with attendance figures reaching a staggering 75,000. There’s no denying that Lohéac RX deserves a spot on the World RX calendar with its sell-out crowd and fantastic race action. Congratulations to Timmy who took the victory, he drove a mature race and thoroughly deserves his second win of the season for Peugeot. It was also great to see a Frenchman in today’s final – the atmosphere was palpable as Jean-Baptiste received a standing ovation from the fans for his podium position. Now it’s onto Barcelona where the season is expected to reach fever pitch as the drivers scramble for crucial points in this year’s Drivers’ and Teams’ Championship.”

 

Final results of the WRX SuperCars to be found here.

Final results of the WRX SuperCar Teams to be found here.

Final results of the ERX Super1600s to be found here.

 

More images from WorldRX of France to be found here.

 

Top photo: At Lohéac Timmy Hansen claimed a back-to-back victory after winning in Hell. © JKR/ERC24