Team Hansen MJP at full strength for Spanish adventure

After a winning start to the season in Abu Dhabi, Team Hansen MJP now returns to Europe for FIA World Rallycross Championship round two in Barcelona, with Kevin Hansen leading the drivers’ standings.

Abu Dhabi was an emotional rollercoaster for the family-run Hansen team, as Kevin took his debut win while elder brother Timmy Hansen was sidelined after a perfect start by a big accident that wasn’t his fault. But in Barcelona everything starts again, and with Timmy’s Peugeot 208 WRX now back in perfect condition, he can’t wait to open his points score for the season – while the whole squad is also within touching distance of the teams’ championship lead. Unlike last year, conditions should be warm and sunny in Barcelona, so get ready for a fast Spanish fiesta!

 

The track: Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya

Barcelona is a fast and flowing track in the modern style of rallycross circuit, that uses part of a Formula 1 track with a specially created infield.

For the first time, Team Hansen arrives with its own trucks and infrastructure set-up: all material that was previously used in 2017 as a semi-factory squad. Now, with two cars instead of three, it certainly looks the part!

 

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: Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya

With bad weather characterising the race last year, a different set-up should be needed for the warm conditions expected this weekend.

The final corner, a long hairpin that is half gravel and half asphalt, is particularly technically demanding, effectively requiring two different driving styles for each surface in quick succession.

 

 

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Timmy Hansen:

timmy hansen
Photo: Jaanus Ree / Red Bull Content Pool

71
Kevin Hansen:

kevin hansen
Photo: Jaanus Ree / Red Bull Content Pool

“I’m coming to Barcelona absolutely determined to make up for the disappointment that we had in Abu Dhabi. I feel really, really motivated and I just want to get back into the rhythm of driving the car again and taking up from where we left off: we had the speed and the momentum in Abu Dhabi, and I’m so eager to get back on top. I’d like to thank all the mechanics for rebuilding our car: it was a very big job that took around nine days in total, and I appreciate their hard work – with long hours over Easter as well – so much. It took me a little while to feel better physically too, but now I’m in top form again. I like this fast and modern style of rallycross track like Barcelona very much and I know we can do well there as a team.”

“After winning in Abu Dhabi, it’s great to start on the right foot. As the for the rest, now we just have to keep pushing. We know what we’ve got, and I love the Barcelona circuit. I won the European title there, so I’ve got some good memories of the place, and last year I got to the semi-final, but I had to give my place up because of team orders. However, it’s going to be very difficult to compare to last year as in 2018 it was mostly raining. This time, we expect it to be dry, so there’s going to be more rubber on the gravel and the line will be different too: everything will be faster. I’m feeling confident but once again it’s hard to know what to expect. I’ve been working hard on my fitness: I celebrated by going for a 28-kilometre run!”

THE BOSS:
Kenneth Hansen:

kenneth hansen
Photo: Jaanus Ree / Red Bull Content Pool

“Timmy’s car is back as good as new again after his accident in Abu Dhabi, and we had a small shakedown too after the rebuild, so as a team we are feeling confident. Also because Barcelona is a track that we know and one where we have been strong in the past. Abu Dhabi confirmed that we’re in the fight and we have the pace: it’s a great feeling to start the weekend in the lead of the drivers’ championship. It would be great to come away from Barcelona leading the teams’ championship too, but it we don’t it’s certainly not a disaster: the year is long and we’re still in the early stages. One thing that’s clear is that our rivals are very strong, so we’ll have to perform at our maximum if we want to achieve our goals this weekend.”

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