Stewards gave the maiden World RX victory to Kevin Hansen
Kevin Hansen (Team Hansen MJP) clinched his maiden World RX victory in the season-opening round of the 2019 FIA World Rallycross Championship at Abu Dhabi’s Yas Marina Circuit. The 20-year-old driver of the #71 Peugeot 208 received a victory after the race, following stewards’ decision to give a three-second penalty to provisional winner Niclas Gronholm (GRX Taneco, Hyundai i20) because of a contact during the Final.
The third man on a podium was Liam Doran (Monster Energy RX Cartel, Audi S1). The other three finalists were Krisztian Szabo (EKS Sport, Audi S1), Janis Baumanis (Team STARD, Ford Fiesta) and Timo Scheider (Münnich Motorsport, Seat Ibiza).
The World Rallycross Championship visited Abu Dhabi for the first time on the purpose-built 1.2-km track Yas Marina Rallycross Circuit. For the first time, the event took place under the lights. Seventeen Supercar drivers participated in the season-opening round.
Kevin Hansen topped the order after four qualifying heats after winning Q3 and Q4. His elder brother Timmy was the fastest in Q1 and Q2 but he failed to progress to semi-finals after a heavy crash with Andreas Bakkerud‘s Audi in Q3. As a result of that collision, Bakkerud was disqualified from Q3 and didn’t qualify for the semi-finals while Timmy Hansen missed the Q4 and semi-finals due to extensive damage on his car.
Kevin Hansen and Niclas Gronholm were the winners of two semi-finale race and then two youngsters clashed in the Finals. Hansen was in the lead for five laps but then Gronholm tapped him, taking the lead and a victory which he eventually lost after stewards’ decision.
“A win in the stewards’ room is not the perfect way. It has been a great job by all the guys in the team to get the cars here and prepared. But this one is for Timmy as he should have been on the podium,” Kevin Hansen said. Niclas Gronholm added: “It was not an intentional hit but sometimes the stewards look at things differently to us so I have to accept it, move on and fight back in Barcelona.”
The second round of the championship has been scheduled for April 27-28 in Barcelona, Spain.