New start for Team Hansen MJP as World Rallycross gets underway in Abu Dhabi

The first of 10 rounds of the World Rallycross Championship takes place in Abu Dhabi: a brand-new venue that uses parts of the world’s most advanced Formula 1 circuit.

It’s a glamorous start to a spectacular season that takes in nearly every continent, combining traditional venues with exciting new adventures. It’s a fresh start to for the newly-reformed Hansen team too: a historic name from the past that is re-born as a fully privateer team this year. At the wheel of two identical 2018-specification Peugeot 208 WRX Supercars are Timmy Hansen and Kevin Hansen, while former rallycross champions Kenneth Hansen and Susann Hansen make up the team management (as well as being mum and dad). Strap yourselves in and enjoy the ride.

 

The track: Yas Marina Circuit

The circuit’s pre-existing asphalt sections are particularly wide, having been designed to offer modern F1 cars the best opportunities to overtake one another. The RX action in these turns therefore promises to be especially thrilling. In particular, the stadium hairpin that will serve as Turn 3 can be taken through a number of different lines.

 

What to look out for

The joker lap section is particularly interesting and complex, with the cars carrying plenty of speed through it and providing an opportunity to overtake. It’s important to be defensive against cars re-emerging, but not too defensive – or too much time can be lost.

Turn 2 is crucial for a quick lap: it’s a long gravel off-camber right-hander with quite a narrow racing line, which sets the tone for the following section. Turn 1 is also tricky: there have been many incidents there in the past.

 

Ideal set-up: Yas Marina Circuit

The team starts off with a base set-up as everything is unknown: it will then be tweaked according to the lessons learned from the on-track action.

The track is very wide with plenty of overtaking opportunities and a variety of different possible racing lines.

There’s also a lot of elevation as well as quite aggressive, high-grip asphalt: all these will be factors to consider when it comes to setting up the car.

The car is the same 2018-specification Peugeot 208 that started the World RX season last year, but with a few modifications that can be described as the “Hansen touch”!.

 

 

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Timmy Hansen:

timmy hansen
Photo: Jaanus Ree / Red Bull Content Pool

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Kevin Hansen:

kevin hansen
Photo: Jaanus Ree / Red Bull Content Pool

“In some ways, this year feels very familiar – as it will be my sixth year driving a Peugeot, the livery is similar, and many of the team members are the same as last year – but at the same time, it also feels very different. I’m back driving the car that I had at the start of 2018, which is the same specification as Kevin’s car, and that was actually the car I felt most comfortable with and suited my driving style best. The Abu Dhabi track looks very exciting: quite quick but also rewarding to drive and with plenty of opportunities to overtake. I’ve always watched the Formula 1 Grand Prix on TV there, so that gave me a little bit of an idea about what to expect.”

“After the hardest winter of my career so far, I’m really glad that we’re here for the start of the first round with our family team, where there’s a fantastic atmosphere. We’re all looking forward to the challenge ahead. I’m driving the same car as I did at the end of last year, and I think it’s going to be well suited to the Abu Dhabi circuit. It’s really nice to have such a glamourous start to the season here: I think it’s a good sign of the completely fresh start that we have with the championship now. The competition will be different but no less difficult than before: it’s really impossible to make a prediction about who will come out on top.”

THE BOSS:
Kenneth Hansen:

kenneth hansen
Photo: Jaanus Ree / Red Bull Content Pool

“We’ve had some big changes over the winter and just being on the grid is a massive victory in itself. Now we’re here, we have to make the best of it as a small team again and that’s a great challenge for us, which we’re all looking forward to. We saw the Abu Dhabi track for the first time during the track walk and I have to say it was a very nice surprise: there was more up and down than I thought and it was also wider than I thought. It reminds me a little bit of the track that was in Turkey, so I think it has the potential to be a really good rallycross circuit. As for our approach to the event, it’s definitely going to be wait and see. It’s impossible to say now who’s going to be quick and where we’re going to end up – and that’s what makes it so exciting!”

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