Hansen going for World RX gold at Silverstone

The fourth stop on the 2019 FIA World Rallycross Championship tour takes Team Hansen MJP to Silverstone, where it will defend the lead in both the drivers‘ and teams‘ championships. Kevin Hansen leads elder brother Timmy by 11 points heading to Britain, while the team has a single point in hand over its nearest team rival.

Last year’s event at Silverstone, the first since Great Britain’s slot was switched from Lydden Hill, resulted in mixed feelings for Team Hansen MJP. All of the team’s cars had the speed to make the Final in 2018, with Timmy setting the fastest lap of the weekend, although unfortunately a car problem forced him to retire from the Semi-Final.

Kevin made it through to the Final on that occasion, however, so the team is confident that another successful weekend with a strong points haul may be on the cards.

 

The track: Silverstone

Silverstone’s World RX track made its series debut last season to much fanfare, acting as the centrepiece of the SpeedMachine festival.

This track is a rarity on the calendar due to being more gravel than sealed surface. But it’s flat and quite smooth, with more than one straight, so it’s still quite a quick circuit.

It gets slower as the lap goes on, with the final section containing the joker section. Not that the ‚fast‘ route is particularly fast, with drivers threading their cars through the final chicane before blasting back towards the start/finish line.

 

What to look out for

The joker lap at Silverstone is tricky thanks to two surface changes in quick succession. Gravel becomes asphalt as drivers barrel towards the braking zone for the joker’s hairpin, only to switch back to gravel again on exit.

All eyes are likely to be on the massive man-made jump between turns four and five, given the stratospheric heights the cars hit. Thankfully, the Öhlins dampers fitted to the Peugeot 208 WRX are more than up to the challenge of absorbing the landing impact.

 

Ideal set-up: Silverstone

Silverstone is one of the few World RX circuits that’s more gravel than asphalt. It’s also low-grip with lots of slow, technical bends, so a softer set-up will help. But go too soft and problems arise when landing after the big jump between turns four and five. It’s a tricky balance to find.

The fastest set-up for Q1 probably won’t be so quick come the Semi-Finals and Final. The forecast is for rain on Friday but none on Saturday or Sunday, so expect the track to dry out as the first day of action progresses and set-ups becoming a little firmer.

 

21
Timmy Hansen:

timmy hansen
Photo: Jaanus Ree / Red Bull Content Pool

71
Kevin Hansen:

kevin hansen
Photo: Jaanus Ree / Red Bull Content Pool

“Spa-Francorchamps wasn’t ideal but we’re still recovering well from our setback at Abu Dhabi. I’m looking forward to Silverstone because I know we have the pace to succeed here; I have the track record for fastest lap as it stands, after all! A problem with the car last year stopped me from making the Final but generally speaking our Peugeot 208 WRX is tough as nails. It took a beating in the rough gravel at the final turn at Spa, plus we brushed the wall, but it was still quick regardless. Of course I’ll be keeping an eye on the big jump and the sometimes heavy landings it can generate but I’ve got the speed to win, so I’ll be pushing as hard as ever.”

“I’m really looking forward to Silverstone because it’s a track that I know really well. It’s quite technical and I think it suits my driving style. I went well there last year. Spa-Francorchamps wasn’t so easy for us, so I’m looking forward to getting to Silverstone and seeing what we can do. We’re leading the championship but that doesn’t mean we’re thinking about the championship situation and the points. I really want to push hard at Silverstone and squeeze a little extra out of myself to see what I can do. Obviously that comes with a little more risk, but it’s a risk that’s worth the reward. I’ve got some confidence, so let’s see what happens.”

THE BOSS:
Kenneth Hansen:

kenneth hansen
Photo: Jaanus Ree / Red Bull Content Pool

“Silverstone is very different from Spa: the corners are much slower and it’ll be more slippery, especially if it rains. Our cars went well last year and we had some good speed. The jump is something to look out for at Silverstone because of how big it is. Last year we had an issue with damage after that jump, so that’s something to pay attention to.

“After Spa we’ve prepared all the cars again. We had some damage after the last round; nothing significant, but quite a lot all together. It was a good event and good to be driving at Spa but it’s tough on the cars! So the emphasis since Spa has just been putting;our cars back together again. But we’re looking forward to Silverstone now; it should suit us and it should suit the car.”

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