[dropcap]T[/dropcap]eam Peugeot Hansen travels to Portugal this weekend for round two of the 2017 FIA World Rallycross Championship at Montalegre where Sébastien Loeb and Timmy Hansen are targeting maximum points.
In contrast to Barcelona, which was more of an asphalt-biased track, with hard-packed gravel, Montalegre features much softer dirt andcalls for a very different set-up, especially in terms of the cars’ damping.
The Portuguese circuit is located near the border with Spain at an altitude of almost 900 metres, which makes it prone to poor weather. WRX’s last two visits therewere marked by torrential rain, and competitors even saw snow in 2013! Theywere greeted by bright sunshine in 2014, however, so how will it turn out thistime round?
Team PeugeotHansen has used the three-week break since the season’s opener to continue the developmentof the PEUGEOT 208 WRX 2017. Testsessions at Barcelona, then at Estering, Germany, enabled the team toevaluate new parts which are due to be used competitively very soon.
Team PeugeotHansen will have officially-entered 2017-specification PEUGEOT 208 WRXs for SébastienLoeb and Timmy Hansen in its bid to win this year’s Teams’ and Drivers’ titles, while the young defending European Rallycross Champion Kevin Hansen will continueto familiarise himself with the sport’s premier series in a 2016-spec PEUGEOT208 WRX.
According to Team Principal Kenneth Hansen, Circuits like Montalegre, which features big kerbs and tight corners, have caused Peugeot a few problems in past two seasons.
He said: “We worked particularly hard on these points during the winterbreak and I think we are much better prepared for the Portuguese round thistime. We should also have some new parts on the cars following the testing workwe have done since Barcelona.
“We will need to be ready for whatever the weatherthrows at us – even down to team clothing! – and focus on scoring as manypoints as possible by getting both cars into the final. That will call for somesmart thinking both on and off the track!”
Sébastien Loeb (driver, PEUGEOT 208 WRX #9) said:“I think the car has improved on this sort of rougher surfacesince last season and I believe we will be more competitive. In 2017, theweather was appalling, so I hope the conditions will be milder this time round, but that’s by no means a foregone conclusion given the circuit’s location inthe mountains. I absolutely need to reach the final this weekend to make up formy result in Barcelona.”
“Montalegre is great fun,” enthused Timmy Hansen (driver, PEUGEOT 208 WRX #21), adding, “It’s got some big kerbs but you can settle into a good rhythm. My record isn’t particularly brilliant there, though, and that’s something I want to put right.
“I feel quite confident thanks to the test programme we got through over the winter. Compared with Barcelona, it’s a different sort of venue, with the emphasis more on the gravel section which calls for different engine, chassis and damper settings.”
Friday, April 21
- 4:00pm: draw
Saturday, April 22
- 10:20am: free practice
- 1:30pm: qualifying 1
- 3:00pm: qualifying 2
Sunday, April 23
- 9:00: warm up
- 10:30am: qualifying 3
- 12:00 noon: qualifying 4
- 3:00pm: semi-finals and final