Team Hansen MJP taking a Spa break with a difference

Team Hansen MJP pulled off a maximum points score from the previous round in Spain and left leading both championships. While it’s mathematically impossible for the team to improve on their last outing, it won’t stop them from trying to repeat the same feat again this weekend in Belgium.

Timmy and Kevin Hansen will be looking to do their very best and maximise the score for their team, pushing hard to try and repeat the heroics of their 1-2 finish at Barcelona, but this time on a brand new track for the FIA World RX Championship.

For many years, the Belgian round of the series was held at Mettet, but now it comes to the country’s most famous motorsport venue: Spa-Francorchamps. Not only that, but the best-known part of this epic circuit – the breath-taking Eau Rouge complex – forms the centrepiece of a brand new rallycross track. With everyone starting on a level playing field, it’s another totally new challenge for Team Hansen MJP.

 

The track: Circuit de SPA-FRANCORCHAMPS

Belgium has a long and esteemed history in Rallycross but this year, it’s all change. Spa-Francorchamps, one of the most revered racing circuits in the world, is hosting an FIA World Rallycross round for the first time.

As the drivers start the lap of the new track, they cross Eau Rouge, head up the hill at Raidillon, take a hairpin turn and fly back down the incline, then turn right into a brand new, purpose built gravel section containing a wide, sweeping, banked gravel turn.

There’s one last blast of glory as drivers take a jump just before crossing the start/finish line and approaching Eau Rouge anew.

 

What to look out for

Everyone will have one eye in the sky, keeping tabs on Spa-Francorchamps notoriously changeable weather conditions. World RX rounds run in the wet are pretty rare but here of all places it’s quite likely; the last occurence was at the Belgian round last year, when it was held at Mettet.

There’s also a huge banked turn to finish the lap, though drivers taking a joker lap will take a narrower, flat lane on the inside. No one’s really sure what the fastest way around it will be, so watch out for drivers experimenting with different lines in search of crucial tenths of a second.

 

Ideal set-up: Circuit de SPA-FRANCORCHAMPS

With Spa being a new track, nobody really knows what to expect. However, it’s going to be fast with gravel that’s quite compact; so a car that’s suited to a high top speed and rapid direction changes is needed.

Teams are going to have to find a wet set-up quickly if it rains, which is normally the case at some point during the Spa weekend, given the circuit is located in the Ardennes hills. That means making the car softer to provide better traction in slippery conditions.

 

 

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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

“Spa is a circuit that I’ve driven several times during my circuit racing career. I like the circuit a lot, so the rallycross track is going to be fantastic. I actually noticed it in the background while watching the World Endurance Championship race recently on television, and it looks really good. It seems like quite an extreme track: it’s taken on some cues from the Nitro World Games which is good because rallycross really should be about the extremes. It should be challenging, it should be extreme.”

“There’s no way we can do as well as we did in Barcelona last time so we have to expect that things won’t be easy, that things won’t always go my way because that’s just part of the sport. But in myself I’m just determined to drive as hard as I can and we’ll see what happens.”

“I’m really looking forward to going to Spa for the first time. It looks like a really exciting track: the final corner is a banked gravel corner, inspired by the Nitro Games, and of course you have the classic Eau Rouge as well. To be racing in these sorts of famous places shows that we have really arrived as a world championship, so it’s a real privilege.

“I’m not going to change my approach at all even though we’re leading the championship: there’s still a long way to go, so my aim is just to relax and enjoy the racing. The next few weeks are going to be very important.”

THE BOSS:
Kenneth Hansen:

kenneth hansen
Photo: Jaanus Ree / Red Bull Content Pool

“Our experience of preparing for events like the Nitro World Games definitely stands us in good stead for this event because we know how to prepare a car for this sort of rallycross race. But really we’re taking nothing for granted. Timmy was very happy with the car after Barcelona: he said the car fit him like a glove. He wants to continue this way. And of course Kevin is leading the championship, so we’re in a very good position. We have to manage our expectations but at the same time, if you’re in that situation, it’s because you’re winning and you’re in front, and that’s always the best place to be. We’re under no illusions that our rivals are very strong and we will do what we can.”

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