There was more double success for Hansen World RX Team at Lohéac in France during the third round of the 2021 FIA World Rallycross Championship today (September 5). Timmy Hansen (Peugeot 208) won the World RX final while his younger brother Kevin [Hansen] (Peugeot 208) finished second and therefore repeated the success from the previous round at Höljes. Also at Lohéac Dorian Deslandes (RX2e), René Münnich (SEAT Ibiza Mk4) and Kobe Pauwels (Audi A1) were victorious in respectively RX2e, Euro RX1 and Euro RX3.
Defending champion Johan Kristoffersson (Audi S1) was the top qualifier at Lohéac recording fastest times in Q2 and Q3. Fastest in Q1, Niclas Grönholm (Hyundai i20), qualified second with Timmy Hansen ending qualifying in third after the latter drove to the fastest time in Q4. Kevin Hansen and Kevin Abbring (Renault Mégane Mk4) completed the top five.
In the first semi-final Kristoffersson was on pole with Timmy Hansen the other front row starter. Kevin Abbring and Timo Scheider (SEAT Ibiza Mk4) were on the second row. Kristoffersson went into the lead ahead of Hansen, Scheider and Abbring. Abbring was the first one to pass through the joker lap section in lap two. When the Dutchman afterwards was not able to close the gap with Scheider in third the German was sent into the joker lap section and kept his third spot in the race. Then Kristoffersson and Hansen both went in in the penultimate lap but positions didn’t change. During the final lap Kristoffersson had to deal with a mechanical issue (driveshaft failure that turned out to become a gearbox change) and therefore Hansen and Scheider were able to pass the Swede. Kristoffersson was still able to hold off Abbring, finished third and qualified for the final.
Semi-final two had Grönholm and Kevin Hansen on the front row. Krisztián Szabó (Hyundai i20) and Enzo Ide (Audi S1) were placed on the second row. Hansen was leading it from Szabó and Ide after the first lap while Grönholm went down from pole on the grid to fourth in the race. Ide was the first one to pass through the joker lap section. He was followed by Szabó and in the final lap by Kevin Hansen and Grönholm. Hansen won the semi-final from Szabó and Grönholm leaving Ide out for the final.
In the final both Hansen World RX Team drivers were placed on the front row with Timmy [Hansen] on pole. Further down on the grid were Szabó and Scheider sharing the second row. Then Grönholm was placed on place five and Abbring was brought in to take place six leaving out Kristoffersson for the final. The Swede got his gearbox replaced after the semi-final but failed to meet the time limit to be present on the pre-grid for the final. Therefore the final went underway without the defending champion. After the green light was shown the Hansen brothers went side by side through corner one and corner two limiting the options for the rest of the field. Timmy [Hansen] lead it from Kevin [Hansen] after the first lap with Szabó running third. The Hansen brothers controlled the race and passed through the joker lap section in the final lap to finish one and two. Grönholm who ran third also kept his position when he came out of the joker lap section, finished third and was allowed to join both of the Hansens on the podium.
“What an amazing season we are having,” today’s winner Timmy Hansen said. “I think this is a time in my career and our lives that we will always remember, with one-two finishes for the team in each of the first three events, it’s just magic.
“I must say I was lucky in many ways to get the win. It was a shame that Johan [Kristoffersson] had his technical issue but that’s the way it goes sometimes and today it went my way.
“Rallycross is about much more than just being quick, and there have been many races in my career where I have had the speed but not come away with the result.
“Kevin [Hansen] was super-fast in the final. He was on my bumper the whole time, so I had to keep pushing as hard as I could.
“To share the result with him once again is fantastic, and this victory is 100 per cent for the team, who worked so hard to get us back on-track after yesterday. I’m super grateful to each and every one of them.”
After three events Timmy [Hansen] and Kevin Hansen are on top of the standings with respectively 85 and 75 points. Krisztián Szabó who came in fourth today is currently in third with 58 points one point ahead of the unfortunate Johan Kristoffersson (57 points).
Overnight leader in RX2e Dorian Deslandes drove to a third fastest time in the remaining qualifying session on Sunday morning sufficient to claim this weekend’s top qualifier position. Fastest in Q4 was Guillaume De Ridder (RX2e) putting him second in the intermediate standings ahead of Reinis Nitišs (RX2e), second fastest in Q4, and Cyril Raymond (RX2e).
In the first RX2e semi-final Deslandes lead it from lights to flag holding off Reinis Nitišs. Jesse Kallio (RX2e), winner of the previous event at Höljes, was third and through to the final as well. Then points leader in the standings before Lohéac Guillaume De Ridder won the second semi-final with Conner Martell (RX2e) and Isak Sjökvist (RX2e) respectively finishing second and third. Surprisingly Cyril Raymond did not make it into the final after he came in only fourth in his semi-final.
In the final Deslandes had once more the better start with Nitišs going into second by the end of the first lap and De Ridder in third. With Nitišs taking the joker in lap four De Ridder won a position. Then De Ridder became race leader as Deslandes made it into the joker lap section in the penultimate lap. With De Ridder passing through the joker he dropped to three and therefore Dorian Deslandes won the RX2e final from Nitišs and De Ridder. De Ridder remains on top of the standings after three events with 76 points. He is now 7 points clear on Jesse Kallio (69 points) who finished fourth today.
Andreas Bakkerud (Škoda Fabia Mk3) who was leading it in Euro RX1 on Saturday evening kept the lead and became the top qualifier after a third and fourth fastest time in Q3 and Q4. Fabien Pailler (Peugeot 208), fastest in Q4, qualified second ahead of Andréa Dubourg (Peugeot 208) and René Münnich. There was drama for Jean-Baptiste Dubourg (Peugeot 208) who was forced to record a DNF in Q4 after he made contact in turn one with the car of Romuald Delaunay (Citroën DS3). Prior to Q4 he was second eventually he finished qualifying as sixth.
In semi-final one for Euro RX1 Bakkerud now shared the front row with Andréa Dubourg. ES Motorsport’s Jānis Baumanis (Škoda Fabia Mk3) was on the second row together with Romuald Delaunay. The last named had the better start and lead it after the first turn ahead of Bakkerud and Dubourg. Bakkerud as well as Baumanis both went into the joker lap section in the second lap joining the main track again as third and fourth. With Delaunay passing through the joker lap section the lap after both won a spot as the Frenchman joined again as fourth. Only by the end of the semi-final there was some tension with Baumanis and Dubourg with the latter coming out of the joker lap section and trying to gain second place. Eventually Bakkerud, Baumanis and Andréa Dubourg were through to the final. However, Baumanis saw a 1.5-seconds time penalty applied afterwards for ‘unsportsmanlike’ behavior and was set back to place three in the semi-final result in favor or Andréa Dubourg.
The second semi-final was ran without Jean-Baptiste Dubourg who was still sixth overall in the intermediate standings after his DNF in Q4. However, following the Q4 incident with Romuald Delaunay the oldest of the Dubourg brothers was reported with a hand injury following the impact of his spin off the track. Therefore local driver Emmanuel Anne (Peugeot 208) was brought in and was allowed to start the semi-final. Unfortunately for him he did not make it through to the final. René Münnich had the better start from the front row and beat the other front row starter Fabien Pailler. Münnich lead it throughout the six laps ahead of Pailler and Tamás Kárai (Audi S1). With the passings through the joker lap section positions didn’t change and the three named drivers qualified for the final.
In the final, Bakkerud and Münnich were occupying the front row, on the second row were Frenchmen Fabien Paiiler and Andréa Dubourg while the grid was completed with Jānis Baumanis and Tamás Kárai on the third row. After the start Bakkerud lead it from Münnich with Pailler and Dubourg in third and fourth. First Münnich and then Bakkerud the lap after passed through the joker lap section keeping their positions. Then in lap five Bakkerud’s Fabia suddenly slowed down allowing René Münnich to go into the lead. Also behind the leading duo Pailler was forced to retire from the race. Therefore Münnich was celebrating his first ‘big’ international win. Andréa Dubourg and Tamás Kárai completed the podium after finishing second and third. The unfortunate Andreas Bakkerud brought the car in in fourth. In the standings after two events Bakkerud (43 points) now goes into the lead, two points clear on today’s winner René Münnich (41 points). Andréa Dubourg goes in three with 39 points.
There were only Audi A1’s on the first five places in the Euro RX3 intermediate classification. Top qualifier position went once more to Yury Belevskiy (Audi A1) ahead of Kobe Pauwels, Marat Knyazev (Audi A1) and Timur Shigaboutdinov (Audi A1), all in by Volland Racing prepared cars. The first non Audi was local driver Maximilien Eveno (Citroën C2) in sixth.
Belevskiy and Knyazev were out on the track during the first semi-final. Then after four laps with the Russians running one and two the race was red flagged following an incident with Frenchman Jérémy Lambec (Škoda Fabia Mk2). Then race control went on with the second semi-final and decided to hold the re-run of semi final one only afterwards. The second semi-final went underway with Pauwels and Shigaboutdinov as the front row starters and the first non Audi in the intermediate standings of Maximilien Eveno on the second row. Pauwels lead it from Shigaboutdinov and Eveno throughout the race and finished in the same order nevertheless Janno Ligur (Škoda Fabia Mk3) gave Eveno still a hard time in the final lap. The re-run of the first semi-final (with five cars) was won by Belevskiy ahead of Knyazev. Jan Černý (Škoda Citigo) claimed the final spot for the final by coming in third.
The Euro RX3 final had Belevskiy on pole with Pauwels besides him. Knyazev and Shigaboutdinov were placed on the second row where as Eveno and Černý were completing the grid as non-Audi A1 drivers. The start was for Belevskiy ahead of initially Knyazev. However, by the end of the first lap Knyazev was down to fourth in favor of Pauwels and Shigaboutdinov who were running second and third. Then Knyazev was the first one of the Audi’s to pass through the joker lap section and kept his position. The lap after Pauwels and Shigaboutdinov did the same and also kept their positions. With only race leader Belevskiy to pass through the joker lap section Pauwels was closing the gap with the Russian and in the final lap with Belevskiy coming out of the joker lap section Pauwels was able to overtake him and won his first European Rallycross event. The podium was a complete Volland Racing lock out with Pauwels, Belevskiy and Shigaboutdinov who beat Knyazev for third. In the standings after three events Belevskiy (87 points) still holds a comfortable 15-points-lead on Pauwels (72 points). Knyazev is third with 63 points.
The next rounds of the 2021 FIA World Rallycross Championship are taking place in two weeks time (September 18-19) in the Latvian capital of Riga (Biķernieki Sport Complex) with a double header event for World RX (rounds 4 and 5) as well as for the 2021 FIA European Rallycross Championship for RX1 cars (rounds 3 and 4).
World RX – Final: 1. Timmy Hansen (S), Peugeot 208; 2. Kevin Hansen (S), Peugeot 208; 3. Niclas Grönholm (FIN), Hyundai i20; 4. Kevin Abbring (NL), Renault Mégane Mk4; 5. Krisztián Szabó (H), Hyundai i20; 6. Timo Scheider (D), SEAT Ibiza Mk4;
RX2e – Final: 1. Dorian Deslandes (F), RX2e; 2. Reinis Nitišs (LV), RX2e; 3. Guillaume De Ridder (B), RX2e; 4. Jesse Kallio (FIN), RX2e; 5. Conner Martell (USA), RX2e; 6. Isak Sjökvist (S), RX2e;
Euro RX1 – Final: 1. René Münnich (D), SEAT Ibiza Mk4; 2. Andréa Dubourg (F), Peugeot 208; 3. Tamás Kárai (H), Audi S1; 4. Andreas Bakkerud (N), Škoda Fabia Mk3; 5. Jānis Baumanis (LV), Škoda Fabia Mk3; 6. Fabien Pailler (F), Peugeot 208 – DNF;
Euro RX3 – Final: 1. Kobe Pauwels (B), Audi A1; 2. Yury Belevskiy (RUS), Audi A1; 3. Timur Shigaboutdinov (RUS), Audi A1; 4. Marat Knyazev (RUS), Audi A1; 5. Jan Černý (CZ), Škoda Citigo; 6. Maximilien Eveno (F), Citroën C2;
World RX (3/9): 1. Timmy Hansen (S), 85; 2. Kevin Hansen (S), 75; 3. Krisztián Szabó (H), 58; 4. Johan Kristoffersson (S), 57; 5. Kevin Abbring (NL), 55; etc.
World RX Team (3/9): 1. Hansen World RX Team (S), 160; 2. GRX-SET World RX Team (FIN), 109; 3. KYB EKS JC (S), 94;
RX2e (3/5): 1. Guillaume De Ridder (B), 76; 2. Jesse Kallio (FIN), 69; 3. Fraser McConnel (JAM), 49; 4. Patrick O’Donovan (IRL), 45; 5. Pablo Suárez (E), 41; etc.
Euro RX1 (2/4): 1. Andreas Bakkerud (N), 43; 2. René Münnich (D), 41; 3. Andréa Dubourg (F), 39; 4. Fabien Pailler (F), 36; 5. Jean-Baptiste Dubourg (F), 35; etc.
Euro RX3 (3/5): 1. Yury Belevskiy (RUS), 87; 2. Kobe Pauwels (B), 72; 3. Marat Knyazev (RUS), 63; 4. Timur Shigaboutdinov (RUS), 58; 5. Jan Černý (CZ), 52; etc.