Timmy Hansen (Peugeot 208 RX1e) won the eighth round of the 2022 FIA World Rallycross Championship at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya at Montmeló in Spain today (October 29). For Timmy Hansen and Hansen World RX Team it was the first win of the season. In the final he beat Niclas Grönholm (PWR Hyundai i20 RX1e) and Gustav Bergström (VW Polo RX1e). Championship points leader Johan Kristoffersson (VW Polo RX1e) finished outside the podium and got classified as fifth.
The RX1e event this weekend at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya has become the last (of four in total) double header events this season. The last race of the season, taking place at the Nürburgring mid November is now set to be a single header as earlier this week was announced. Being able to suit the short daylight hours in the region in November and a “requirement from the venue to observe a local religious holiday (meaning Sunday gates will open only at 13:00)” were given to motivate the decision.
Back to Barcelona then and this weekend’s action where Johan Kristoffersson started the weekend with a 41 point lead on Kevin Hansen (Peugeot 208 RX1e) and can clinch his fifth World title. The Saturday morning practice went another time to Kristoffersson with his teammate Ole Christian Veiby (VW Polo RX1e) on third, separated by Timmy Hansen second fastest. One and two, Kristoffersson and Timmy Hansen, was then repeated in the SuperPole. Unfortunately for Veiby, he ran into trouble with this car during his ‘one lap on the track’ preventing him from taking the start in the first and second heat as his car underwent a battery change.
Fastest times in the first and second qualifying heats were set by Kristoffersson. Next, in the first Progression Race he initially got beaten by Timmy Hansen. The second Progression Race went to Kevin Hansen and had also Ole Christian Veiby among them as the Norwegian got the permission of the Stewards of the Meeting to take part in it starting from the last spot. The Stewards then overturned the result of the first Progression Race in favor of Kristoffersson by giving a three seconds time penalty to Timmy Hansen for an earlier action on Kristoffersson in turn nine. After the grids for the semi-finals were updated accordingly, the first one went underway with Kristoffersson, Niclas Grönholm, Gustav Bergström and Klara Andersson (PWR Hyundai i20 RX1e). Kristoffersson won it from Grönholm and therefore both qualified for the final. The second semi-final with the four other drivers went to Kevin Hansen who won it from his brother Timmy [Hansen]. Gustav Bergström was the third place finisher in the semis who made it through to the final.
When the final went underway Kristoffersson and Kevin Hansen went off the track in the first corner. Grönholm was the lucky one with the first corner incident as he kept the inside and came out of it as race leader followed by Timmy Hansen with the latter passing through the joker lap section during the opening lap. He then joined the main track again behind Grönholm and Bergström. When Bergström made it in the joker lap section Hansen won one spot and climbed to second. With Grönholm ahead of him and Kristoffersson behind him but none of them having passed through the joker lap section yet it looked promising for the oldest of the Hansen brothers. After five laps on the track he came in first ahead of Grönholm. Gustav Bergström won it for third place beating Kristoffersson. Kevin Hansen was the last finisher in fifth. For the incident immediately after the start in turn one the Stewards gave a three seconds time penalty to Kristoffersson afterwards setting him back to fifth place in the final result.
“Finally,” was Timmy Hansen’s first comment after his win. “We’ve come so close so many times this year, and today it’s great to have finally won a race in this new electric era, we’ve proven we can do it.
“We’ve been fast all day, track conditions have been hard to compare between races but we’ve been there on the pace.
“We had a good start in the final when it really counts and from there on Niclas [Grönholm] took the lead on four new tyres. He ran fast but I managed to catch the gap to him with an early joker and pass him when he went into the joker on the last lap.”
In the championship, with two more rounds to come and 40 points up for grabs, Kristoffersson (142 points) remains on top with a comfortable lead of 35 points on Timmy Hansen (107 points) who moves up to second in the championship.
“We need to stay focused now for tomorrow and the next round, fine turning both the driving and the car to try and win again,” concluded Timmy Hansen.
In RX2e the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya plays host for the final event of the season with the title decided among Belgium’s Viktor Vranckx (RX2e) and Sweden’s Isak Sjökvist (RX2e). Also on the Barcelona start list were the names of former Formula 1 and Formula E driver Nick Heidfeld (RX2e) and former Superbike World Champion Carlos Checa Carrera (RX2e).
Vranckx opened the even with a ninth time in the first heat after he hit the tyre wall in the first corner in his first heat race. In the second heat he set a third time giving him position six overnight. Leading after two heats are Isak Sjökvist and Nils Andersson (RX2e) who both set a fastest and second fastest time in the heats. Nick Heidfeld and Carlos Checa Carrera are respectively seventh and ninth overnight.
The action on the track resumes on Sunday morning with the penultimate round of the 2022 FIA World Rallycross Championship and the remaining heats and finals in the 2022 FIA RX2e Championship.
World RX – Final: 1. Timmy Hansen (S), Peugeot 208 RX1e; 2. Niclas Grönholm (FIN), PWR Hyundai i20 RX1e; 3. Gustav Bergström (S), VW Polo RX1e; 4. Kevin Hansen (S), Peugeot 208 RX1e; 5. Johan Kristoffersson (S), VW Polo RX1e.
World RX Team: 1. Hansen World RX Team (S), 32; 2. Construction Equipment Dealer Team (S), 25; 3. Kristoffersson Motorsport (S), 21.
RX2e (after two heats): 1. Isak Sjökvist (S), 95; 2. Nils Andersson (S), 95; 3. Patrick O’Donovan (IRL), 80; 4. Raül Ferré (AND), 80; 5. Pepe Arqué (E), 78; etc.
World RX (8/10): 1. Johan Kristoffersson (S), 142; 2. Timmy Hansen (S), 107; 3. Niclas Grönholm (FIN), 103; 4. Kevin Hansen (S), 102; 5. Ole Christian Veiby (N), 99; etc.
World RX Team (8/10): 1. Kristoffersson Motorsport (S), 241; 2. Hansen World RX Team (S), 209; 3. Construction Equipment Dealer Team (S), 183.