[dropcap]R[/dropcap]ound seven of the 2017 FIA World Rallycross Championship saw Sébastien Loeb play a front-running role once again, this time in front of a record-breaking 45, 100-strong crowd at Holjes, Sweden, where he claimed Team Peugeot Hansen’s fifth podium honours of the campaign.
The twoPEUGEOT 208 WRX drivers kicked off the 2017 season’s second half by puttingadditional pressure on the championship’s provisional leaders. Sébastien Loeb started the ‘Magic’ weekend at Höljes in emphatic fashion with Q1 victory. He then came second in Sunday’s first semi-final before adding anothertop-three result to his burgeoning WRX record.
After his crash in Norway, Timmy Hansen had anew shell for his home meeting where he concluded qualifying in fifth place. He ultimately bagged fourth spot, just behind his French team-mate.
Team Peugeot Hansen’s harvest of 42 points at Holjes has strengthened its grip on second place in the provisional Teams’ classification.
It was a frustrating weekend for KevinHansen, however. The reigning European champion was running well in his 2016-specification PEUGEOT 208 WRX when a half-shaft failure ruined his chancesof an appearance in the semi-finals.
To Kenneth Hansen (Team Principal), it was another special weekend at Höljes where the atmosphere was really superb.
“We knew it would be close because the championship’s current leader is very fast,” he recalled. “But we proved a real threat, as illustrated by Sébastien’s victory in the opening qualifying session. We have improved our starts and we gave it our best shot, so there is every reason to feel pleased with the third and fourth places we scored in the final.
“We would obviously have preferred to have won but we haven’t given up hope of notching up a victory very soon. The points scored by our two drivers have strengthened our hold on second place in the championship.”
In his part, Sébastien Loeb (PEUGEOT 208 WRX #9), 3rd, had this to say:“It was pretty good weekend on the whole. We have succeeded in closing the gap to Volkswagen, especially when grip is good. My car ran well and I found a good set-up which meant we were on the pace. I won Q1 and was then second in my semi-final, which suggests we are progressing in the right direction. We just lack a little outright performance. My diary is quite packed ahead of the next round in Canada since I’m off to Russia on Wednesday morning to take part in the Silk Way Rally in the new PEUGEOT 3008 DKR Maxi.”
FINAL POSITIONS – HOLJES (July 2, 2017)
- Johan Kristoffersson (VolkswagenPolo GTI)
- Andreas Bakkerud (Ford Focus RS)
- Sébastien Loeb (PEUGEOT 208 WRX)
- Timmy Hansen (PEUGEOT 208 WRX)
- Kevin Eriksson (Ford Fiesta)
- Janis Baumanis (Ford Fiesta)
PROVISIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS AFTER SEVEN ROUNDS
- Johan Kristoffersson (VolkswagenPolo GTI), 181 points
- Petter Solberg (Volkswagen PoloGTI), 150 points
- Mattias Ekström (AudiS1), 143 points
- Sébastien Loeb (PEUGEOT 208 WRX), 125 points
- Andreas Bakkerud (Ford Focus RS), 124 points
- Timmy Hansen (PEUGEOT 208 WRX), 121 points
- Ken Block (Ford Focus), 77 points
- Timo Scheider (Ford Fiesta), 67 points
- Kevin Eriksson (Ford Fiesta), 64 points
- Timur Timerzianov (Ford Fiesta), 60 points
- Volkswagen PSRX, 331 points
- Team Peugeot Hansen, 246 points
- EKS Audi, 201 points
- Hoonigan Racing Division, 201 points
- MJP Racing Team Austria, 142 points