Team Peugeot-Hansen boss Kenneth Hansen is set to remain part of the French car maker’s World Rallycross Championship programme in 2018, despite the team’s operations being run from France.
Peugeot has been involved in World RX since its inception in 2014, operating as Team Peugeot-Hansen in partnership with Swedish team Hansen Motorsport, run by 14-time European Champion Kenneth Hansen. It won the Teams’ Championship title in 2015.
The French firm confirmed its continued rallycross involvement in October, but with no mention as to whether team principal Hansen would remain part of the outfit.
“We are going to keep working with Hansen most likely, but the job share will be quite different from where it was,” Peugeot Sport boss Bruno Famin told Motorsport.com, while also confirming that the cars will be developed and run from Peugeot Sport’s Velizy workshops.
“Kenneth is Mr Rallycross, I think it would be a big mistake not to have him in the team and our wish is to have him of course. It’s not signed, it’s agreed but not signed.”
Asked what role Hansen would take, Famin said: “He will be the sporting director, the guy in charge of making the team work with all the sporting aspects, with the organisers, the other teams and the drivers using his incredible know-how of rallycross.”
2017 was the first year that a Peugeot 208 hasn’t won a World RX round.
Rally legend Sebastien Loeb will continue to race for Peugeot next season, but additional driver(s) are yet to be announced. Confirmation isn’t expected until after the marque’s final Dakar rally attempt in January
“It’s true that we have been very happy with the Hansen brothers [2017 drivers Timmy and Kevin Hansen],” said Famin. “The point is to finalise the decision, which is not very easy.”
Peugeot’s increased rallycross involvement marks a shift in focus from promoting its SUV range with its successful Dakar programme, to aiming to promote its electric road vehicles in the proposed electric rallycross category from 2020. Before then, it is targeting the World RX title in 2018 and 2019.
“We decided to change discipline [from Dakar to rallycross] in order to change the communication, to switch more to electric rallycross.
“That is the target for 2020 and to be efficient we have to be more involved in rallycross to be fully ready when we change the technology,” said Famin.
He also commented on speculation about the amount Volkswagen has invested in the development of its Polo Supercar, used by the PSRX squad to dominate the drivers and teams World RX championships this season.
“I think the [Peugeot-Hansen] team and car were pretty good this year. Unfortunately Volkswagen came with the WRC car, they had the opportunity to do it [due to ending its WRC programme in 2016].
“They had a rallycross engine from the GRC. It was just an opportunity do it for not a lot of money I’m sure,” said Famin. “It was an opportunity they seized and I would have done the same for sure in the kind of situation. Now we have to react. Our goal in WRX is to win.”