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08 Mar 2016

Lallemand: “Reliability is key”

Category: Miscellaneous, News, WRX Posted 08.03.16 14:54 by

Philippe Lallemand, the Team Peugeot-Hansen engine engineer, has been in the Rallycross arena since 2010.  Now embarking on his seventh season with Team Peugeot-Hansen, Lallemand took some time to speak about new engineering challenges and exciting times ahead.


Philippe Lallemand, has been a Hansen Team engine engineer, and in the Rallycross arena since 2010. From ORECA in Magny-cours, France – Team Peugeot-Hansen have valued his expertise for several years. Philippe both looks after the two Peugeot 208 WRX Supercars at Rallycross rounds and meticulously builds and develops engines in the Oreca workshop throughout the year.

Philippe has been a bystander during some of the biggest and most accelerated changes in the sport in recent years and his calm and methodical approach to his work has helped the Peugeot-Hansen team build and run hugely competitive and successful cars that consistently challenge for team and driver titles. With the new team points system, it’s now not only performance but also consistency that is key. And with the most successful Rallycross driver at the helm, in Kenneth Hansen, the team have been guided to a Team championship title in 2015, with driver championship titles in 2013 and 2012.

And it doesn’t end there, especially with the recent news of what is no doubt the signing of the season. With Sébastien Loeb perhaps the most decorated driver to enter Rallycross confirmed for 2016 – the team again seem destined for continued success. Lallemand shares his thoughts.


ERC24: Firstly, with news confirmed this week, what are your thoughts on new signing Loeb?

PL: “Yes of course you have heard, there will no doubt be new challenges for the coming season. But it is definitely very exciting!”


No stranger to RX -Sebastien Loeb will join Team Peugeot-Hansen. © JKR/ERC24

No stranger to RX -Sébastien Loeb will join Team Peugeot-Hansen. © JKR/ERC24


ERC24: Can you explain your background and how you got into Rallycross?

PL: “After being involved at ORECA Magny-cours in Motorsport programs such as Touring cars (BTCC) and GT1 class cars (24H of Le Mans, FIA GT, French GT Championship), I got the opportunity to get involved in some track assistance within Rallycross. And in my first season started working in the French Championship and European Championship in 2010.”

“From then, I’ve continued to work year after year in a Rallycross program. The passion for this sport in particular, actually came at a young age. When I was a child I went few times with my Dad to Essay in France at the Circuit des Ducs for the French and European events. Then after that I was involved in Cross Kart for around 4 years as a driver – so Rallycross was a great opportunity for me to come back to some dirt racing!”


ERC24: What is your job for Team Peugeot-Hansen Motorsport and what does it entail?

PL: “My job at Team Peugeot-Hansen is to give to them support on the engine and electrical side. But also on the track assistance side, it consists of checking engine parameters such as temperatures, pressures, turbo control, and start strategy. Running mileage and engine reports after each event. Adjusting engine parameters to achieve a good compromise between ‘drivability’, performance and reliability.”

“But it’s also about listening to the drivers and the Team for their thoughts about what can be improved engine wise.”

“It’s great to also be able to advise the drivers which start strategy would be the best from my point of view. And of course give my thoughts about some improvements for future engines and electronic development.”

Lallemand pictured (central) with French compatriot Davy Jeanney. © JKR/ERC24


ERC24: You have been around the sport for some years, how big has the change been since you started in 2010?

PL: “From my point of view, since 2010, the cars and drivers levels have been getting more and more professional. The overall level of performance and engineering has also been making a step up year after year.”


ERC24: Since the takeover by IMG and then the change to the World Championship, has there been any significant changes/difficulties in the last 2-3years?

PL: “Technically, there of course have been a few changes.  Three engines per year and two Turbos per event, if we have to use more there is standing points penalty.”

“And of course in the Racing format (all 4 qualifying heats count for the overall standings before Semis). So for my part performance and consistency and reliability are very important for the team. There have also been engine regulation modifications that are important for my job. For example the FIA allows Teams to use fresh-air engine air intake bypass to the exhaust and GDI (gasoline direct injection) systems from 2015, there will also be E-Throttle and ECU homologated software from 2016.”


ERC24: So what has been the real difference?

PL:  “Its simple in one sense, reliability is one of the keys to success.”


ERC24: In your opinion is it still possible for smaller teams to compete at the top level?

PL: ” It all depends what we mean about ‘small’ Teams, for sure the budget is important but it’s not all about money. I’m not a statistics specialist but in 2015 we saw a lot of different winners from different Teams and manufacturers, it means the competition is very tough and a lot of drivers/Teams have their chance to be among the top level.”

“In Rallycross, you can make the difference with some details and it’s never finished till the checkered flag.”


ERC24: What are the biggest engineering challenges for the upcoming season and in Rallycross in general?

PL: “My main engineering challenges for the upcoming season are the fact that we are allowed to use DBW (drive by wire / e-throttle) and we must use (only in WRX for the moment) ECU (engine control unit) homologated software. This means that the ECU software (maximum 2 ECU types can be homologated by ECU manufacturer) is fixed at least for the upcoming year by the FIA.”


Top Photo: Lallemand pictured (central) next to JB Dubourg (left). © JKR/ERC24