- 208s head to Argentina this weekend looking for FIA title glory in debut year
- Points gap closing to leader since performance breakthrough
- Successes make PEUGEOT Sport Director optimistic for 2015
The all-action FIA World Rallycross Championship heads to the spectacular setting of San Luis in Argentina for the season finale this weekend (Friday 28th and Saturday 29th November) with Team PEUGEOT-Hansen still challenging for the teams’ title. To cap a strong first year in the all-new series, Timmy Hansen can still finish runner-up in the drivers’ championship too.
Although 2014 marked Team PEUGEOT-Hansen’s debut in rallycross, it has been fighting at the front of the field from the very first round. Thanks to consistent improvements to the 208 WRX, the team has come on strong in the latter rounds with Timmy Hansen finishing on the podium in three of the last four finals and winning the Italian race. With a total of 56 team points up for grabs in 2014’s season finale, Team PEUGEOT-Hansen can still overhaul rivals Ford and Volkswagen.
PEUGEOT Sport Director Bruno Famin is happy with the progress the team has made. “We actually won the very first race this year and Timur Timerzyanov was leading the championship after the knock-out heats in the Portuguese season opener. But we knew it wasn’t going to be that simple. In World Rallycross you need to avoid having problems either technically or with competitors and sometimes that is easier said than done.
“Timmy has been pushed off a couple of times. Then we had some problems with the engines in the UK round and we had to learn the best way to work between Team Hansen and PEUGEOT Sport. I think we’ve found that now. And since the French race in Lohéac we’ve made an interesting step with the car and now know how to get the best from it.”
Between round eight in France and the 11th and penultimate round in Turkey, the Team PEUGEOT-Hansen drivers have scored 61 points towards the teams’ title – more than the drivers of either rival squad. In the final round, Hansen and Timerzyanov can score 31 points for qualifying first and second in the heats. If they each win a semi-final that’s another 12 points and they could take 13 points for finishing first and second in the final. The total is 56 and Team PEUGEOT-Hansen currently lies 39 points behind current leader, Volkswagen’s Marklund Motorsport.
In the drivers’ championship, Timmy Hansen lies fourth. He is just three points behind Latvian Reinis Nitiss and 21 shy of second-placed Toomas Heikkinen from Finland. A driver can score a maximum of 30 points if they win all their races.
Bruno Famin added: “If our current form continues we hope to take the teams’ championship. But we haven’t done too badly considering we took the decision to enter late and the car didn’t test before the first race.”
Whether Team PEUGEOT-Hansen wins the teams’ championship or not, Bruno Famin has enjoyed the first year of the FIA World Rallycross Championship. “Rallycross is a very good show because it’s real racing; there is no artificial performance balancing. And you don’t have any more crashes than in some GT races.
“It’s good to have car makers involved and promoter IMG is improving things step by step. The 2015 calendar will be better than this year’s and they’re keeping costs down. One of the reasons we joined the FIA World Rallycross Championship was that the ratio between competing and coverage gave us a good return on investment so I’m hoping that will continue going forwards.”
The PEUGEOT Brand can trace its roots back to 1810, and it was in 1889 that it began producing automobiles, thus in 2014 it celebrates 125 years of vehicle production with over 60 million sold. Conveyed through its brand signature ‘Motion & Emotion’, PEUGEOT is present in 160 countries with some 10,000 Franchised Dealers and recognised for its Excellence, Allure and Emotion.
In 2013 PEUGEOT sold 1.5m vehicles worldwide, represented in the majority of markets around the world with a strategy to continuously move the Brand up-market. The UK is currently the 3rd largest market for PEUGEOT.