After securing the team’s title in style in 2015, the Peugeot 208 WRX is ready to roar once more when the car’s third campaign in the spectacular FIA World Rallycross Championship kicks off in Montalegre, Portugal, on Saturday and Sunday April 16 and 17.
Brian Joss – For its third season, the Peugeot 208 WRX has undergone further modifications. Those introduced in 2015 chiefly concerned the chassis, so the engineers have paid particular attention to the engine this time
Bruno Famin (Director, Peugeot Sport) said of the team’s chances: “We worked hard over the winter break to improve the car. This season, we hope we will continue to progress and defend our team’s crown, while also challenging for the driver’s crown, helped by our new WRX novice signing, Sébastien Loeb. Sébastien will need time to acclimatise to the world of rallycross. We know he’s a fast learner but we are also aware that the level of the sport is increasing year after year. It’s a discipline for specialists and everything will be new to Sébastien, whereas Timmy is last year’s vice-champion.
“Given Davy Jeanney’s outstanding run in 2015, it was important for us to capitalise on his experience and speed, and he will consequently continue to drive a 208 WRX with the Peugeot Hansen Academy.
“The arrival of big names like Sébastien Loeb and Ken Block is sure to expand the championship’s audience, so that’s good news. We just need to make sure that this growth doesn’t detract from the original spirit of rallycross which is a very open sport that is close to its fans. World RX has all the ingredients in place to keep growing.”
Kenneth Hansen (Team Principal) said: “After two seasons working with Peugeot Sport, our association is really optimal and we feel confident going into 2016. We have improved our preparation thanks a programme of tests but there is still a lot of work to be done to be fully ready. We can hardly wait to get the 2016 season started. This year, we have two teams, although that was already the case with the Junior Team, so it’s not a major upheaval for us. I think our squad is perfectly capable of rising to the challenge. It certainly hasn’t changed our desire to win!”
Sébastien Loeb (Peugeot 208 WRX #9, Team Peugeot Hansen): “I’m thrilled to be facing a new challenge. The car is a pleasure to drive. It is powerful and handles very nicely. Compared with a rally car, it has much more grunt and it responds a bit less progressively. You need a driving style that allows you to keep on top of it and that’s great fun! At the same time, I need to find out for myself about things like fighting door to door, race strategy, tyre management, joker laps, etc. I will need to learn quickly and, above all, sense things like when to make an attempt to overtake because you don’t get that many chances! I also hope I will be fast enough. For the moment, I have a good feeling but I know that there isn’t much opportunity to practice in order to get into the swing…”
Said Timmy Hansen (Peugeot 208 WRX #21, Team Peugeot Hansen): “We were very strong during the second half of 2015 and I hope to continue on that momentum. I felt like I was at one with the car. For 2016, we have made some improvements to the programme and I’m really looking forward to competing again. The world championship is tremendous fun! Also, I will have a new team-mate in Sébastien Loeb. He’s one of the world’s greatest drivers, so it’s going to be interesting and I’m sure we will both be able to learn from each other to take the team even further forward…”
Davy Jeanney (PEUGEOT 208 WRX #17, Peugeot Hansen Academy) said: “As usual, I will give it my very best shot. I will notably focus on the 10 rounds of the world championship when I will try to do better than I did last season at the same events. I will also try to give Kevin some useful tips. Whether I’m racing alongside Kevin or Timmy, it makes no difference to my approach. We will swap our impressions openly, right from the very first race in Portugal. Montalegre is a great setting and there is always a big, enthusiastic crowd. I was fifth there in 2013, then fourth in 2015, so I’m hoping for a top-three finish this time!”
Kevin Hansen (PEUGEOT 208 WRX #71, Peugeot Hansen Academy): “It’s a really exciting opportunity for me to have joined the Peugeot Hansen Academy and to have Davy as coach. My aim is to focus on the European Rallycross Championship, the rounds of which all take place at the same time and at the same tracks as the world championship. To drive a Supercar is obviously very different to an RX Lites car, so I will try to familiarise myself as quickly as possible. After the event I did at the end of 2015 in Argentina, I hope it won’t be too long before I’m competitive. Last year, I was second in the RX Lites class at Montalegre and I can’t wait to race there again with a more competitive car.”