Nine Questions With World Rallycross Driver Timmy Hansen

Timmy Hansen
Timmy Hansen

Timmy Hansen

With the FIA World Rallycross Championship in full swing we were fortunate enough to catch up with Team Peugeot Hansen driver Timmy Hansen during a rare bit of downtime.  Not only is Timmy the eldest son of Swedish rallycross legend Kenneth Hansen, he has also accumulated quite the racing resume at the ripe old age of 22. Timmy started out in karting, winning the KF2 Swedish Championship in 2008, before switching to Formula BMW, continuing on to Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0., and settling into the exciting discipline of rallycross.

What are your thoughts about the growing popularity of rallycross, especially World Rallycross and the number of drivers from different disciplines wanting to jump in and give it a try?

“It’s no surprise to me that drivers from other disciplines want to try RX, I did it myself a few years ago and I loved it! The power and the kind of racing you get in these cars isn’t possible to get anywhere else!”

In terms of racing technique, what are you focusing on or working on this season?

“As I’m coming from a background of racing and formula it’s quite obvious that I have to work on the gravel sections. I need to learn to be very aggressive through the gravel corners while still keeping my smooth driving style on the tarmac.

Photo from teknikensvarlde.se

Photo from teknikensvarlde.se

If there was one racer in the series that you really want to beat, who is it and why do you want to beat them?

“All of them! ;) I want to win.”

Have there been any unexpected challenges this season?

“Me and Team Peugeot Hansen have gone through so many rough patches yet this year. Those times we have to stay stronger then ever as a team and believe that our time will come if we fight this through to the end.”

Is there any other motorsport you would like to try someday?

“Since some of the F1 drivers are looking to do rallycross after they quit, perhaps I should try Formula One after I’m done in rallycross… haha!”

Photo by European Motorsport News

Photo by European Motorsport News

Out of all the tracks you have raced on, which do you find the most challenging?  Which is your favorite?

“Every circuit has its own challenges that you have to work on that weekend. Höljes though is probably the most difficult circuit, and also the most prestigious race to win!”

Have you ever considered racing over here in the U.S. in the Red Bull Global Rallycross series?

“I always follow Red Bull Global Rallycross when they’re racing. We will have to wait and see if I will ever try my luck there.”

After a rough day on the track, who do you vent to or discuss the day’s events with?

“After the finals the team always sits down together to relax, have a Red Bull, and talk about the race for a while.”

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

“To be honest, I have no idea. For the moment I’m focusing on doing a great job where I am now, then we will see where that takes me!”

You can follow Timmy this season at hansen-motorsport.se, on Twitter, on Facebook, and on Instagram.

Fan POV: A Rally Nut’s Quick Perspective

Tanner Foust taking the win in New York - photo by Andy Casson
Tanner Foust taking the win in New York - photo by Andy Casson

Tanner Foust taking the win in New York – photo by Andy Casson

I became interested in rallycross when I was 13 and went to my first international race in ’79 in Ypres, Belgium. Originally from England, I’ve seen my share of rallycross events over the years. Now flash-forward to 2014 in New York at round four of a Red Bull Global Rallcross event. Rallycross here in the States is still a relatively new sport, but thanks to Red Bull GRC it’s gaining momentum and people are taking notice. If you’re a newbie to rallycross or someone who’s followed it for years, you can’t help but get caught up in the excitement surrounding the GRC events. For first-timers, it’s cool to have an event in a major metropolitan city. It’s not just about the manic cars, it’s about the people…the rally community. I was able to catch up with old “rally” friends and meet some new ones.

Photo by Andy Casson

Photo by Andy Casson

I arrived early at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Uniondale, New York, and the weather was great with low cloud coverage and the temperature wasn’t too nutty for a usual New York City summer day. Access to the event was very straight-forward and there was more than ample parking. Some access was limited, such as the VIP areas and certain sections of the outer fencing for the media folk and photographers.

In the paddock, I found it nice to be able to walk around and see all the high-tech cars being prepped and checked over. Both the GRC Lites and the Supercars were easy to view and it was fascinating to watch the crews as they worked on the cars adjusting tires, suspension settings, and so forth. There was easy access to the drivers of both Supercars and Lites. They walked around the paddock chatting with the fans and signing autographs. I was able to meet Tanner Foust and tell him that he is actually taller in real life! Sunday was special for me because 2014 Rally America champions David Higgins and Craig Drew had arrived straight from their win in round six at the New England Forest Rally.

With David Higgins & Craig Drew

Andy Casson (middle) with Craig Drew and David Higgins

Many of the teams were doing promotional giveaways such as posters of drivers, stickers, and key chains. On occasion, Royal Purple would shoot free t-shirts into the stands for the fans to grab. There were scheduled autograph sessions near the start/finish line on Saturday and Sunday. That made it very easy for fans to get autographs from their favorite drivers.

The schedule of the various races was simple and easy to follow. Watching the free practices was good fun and the cacophony of sound from the cars firing up and launching at the start was thrilling. (I would highly recommend that little rallycross fans use ear plugs or headsets.)

Photo by Andy Casson

Photo by Andy Casson: Sverre Isachsen and Bucky Lasek

So, the summary of my experience at a Red Bull Global Rallycross event is this: GRC has made it easy and fun for the fans. When I go to the events, it’s all about my interaction with the people and enjoying the atmosphere. It’s a great outing for family and friends and a fantastic way to be up close to some great drivers, teams, and fast machinery.

Would I go again? As Oliver Twist would say, “Please, sir, I want some more.”

For more fantastic photos, you may visit Andy’s photo album at http://www.hellofish.net/hellofish.net/home.html.

Block Takes Win at The Dirt Track

Photo by Red Bull Global Rallycross
Photo by Red Bull Global Rallycross

Photo by Red Bull Global Rallycross

Ken Block took the win this past weekend at The Dirt Track at Charlotte, making this the second win of his Red Bull Global Rallycross career and moving him up to fifth place in driver points. Block had a fantastic weekend by qualifying first, winning all of his heat races, and topping off the weekend with the win.

“For me, most of my career has been on gravel and dirt, so I wish more of these GRC tracks were like this,” said Block. “We were very quick to get the car set up right. The team did a tremendous job getting my Ford Fiesta out to the front. We just got the starts and in the final we left everyone behind us. The gravel gives us so much more of an opportunity to find different lines and try different stuff, and the track constantly changes. I love that — I grew up racing dirt bikes, and to be able to go inside out and find a different line. That’s just something you can’t do on tarmac tracks. I hope they start dumping more gravel on these tracks, because it favors me and what I do with the car.”

Right behind Block in second place was Sverre Isachsen, driver for Subaru Rally Team USA. This was Isachsen’s first podium win this season. “The weekend was great,” said Isachsen. “The team is working really hard and the car is good. We can fight for first place. Yesterday I had a good practice, found good speed in the car, and we won a heat. The start was good today, but we broke something in the rear suspension in the car and could only make it to second place. But the weekend was really good, my Subaru team is working really hard, and I’m really proud to be part of it.”

Photo Red Bull Global Rallycross

Photo Red Bull Global Rallycross

Coming in third was SH Racing Rallycross driver Nelson Piquet Jr. So far, Piquet has been on the podium four times out of five events this season. This podium win puts Piquet 46 points ahead of Scott Speed who was the points leader going into round four in New York. Speed initially took second in the New York final only to find himself disqualified after it was determined that a crew member violated Article 7.7 of the series’ supplemental regulations. This regulation states that a team may only complete certain specified repairs during the event of a red flag. Thus dropping Speed down from second to ninth position, negatively affecting his point lead.

“It was good to spend a weekend here at home and see friends and family,” Piquet said. “I saw a lot of NASCAR friends that I made last year. It’s good for them to see a new world and a more open sport. The weekend had a lot of ups and downs. Coming in with the points lead we tried to eliminate all the risks we had. But until the final it was a rollercoaster ride of emotions. We were just up and down and running around.”

GRC Lites driver Mitchell DeJong earned his third podium win of the season. Coming in just ahead of his Olsbergs MSE teammates Kevin and Oliver Eriksson. DeJong is the current points leader in GRC Lites by 10 points.

Results from Red Bull Global Rallycross at Charlottee:
1. Ken Block, #43 Hoonigan Racing Division Ford Fiesta ST
2. Sverre Isachsen, #11 Subaru Rally Team USA WRX STI
3. Nelson Piquet Jr., #07 SH Racing Rallycross Ford Fiesta ST
4. Joni Wiman, #31 Olsbergs MSE Ford Fiesta ST
5. Scott Speed, #77 Volkswagen Andretti Rallycross Polo R
6. Bucky Lasek, #81 Subaru Rally Team USA WRX STI
7. Steve Arpin, #00 Royal Purple Racing/OMSE2 Ford Fiesta
8. Tanner Foust, #34 Volkswagen Andretti Rallycross Polo R
9. Brian Deegan, #38 Rockstar Energy Drink Ford Fiesta ST
10. Austin Dyne, #14 Barracuda Racing Ford Fiesta
11. Rhys Millen, #67 Hyundai/Rhys Millen Racing Veloster Turbo
12. Emma Gilmour, #27 Hyundai/Rhys Millen Racing Veloster Turbo
13. Patrik Sandell, #18 Olsbergs MSE Ford Fiesta ST

UNOFFICIAL DRIVER POINTS:
1. Nelson Piquet Jr., 227
2. Scott Speed, 181
3. Steve Arpin, 164
4. Joni Wiman, 162
5. Ken Block, 155
6. Patrik Sandell, 120
7. Tanner Foust, 112
8. Sverre Isachsen, 109
9. Austin Dyne, 102
10. Bucky Lasek, 87
11. Brian Deegan, 85
12. Rhys Millen, 68
13. Emma Gilmour, 24
14. Pat Moro, 3

Source(s):  Red Bull Global Rallycross; Red Bull Media

NELSON PIQUET JR SIGNS WITH THE KINC

nelson piquet jr 1

nelson piquet jr 2
PRESS RELEASE 7/23/2014

Marketing and talent representation agency The KINC is delighted to announce it has signed Red Bull Global Rallycross driver Nelson Piquet Jr to its motorsport talent roster.

Piquet Jr, a former Formula 1 driver, NASCAR race winner, GP2 Series runner-up and British F3 Champion, is currently competing in his first full rallycross season and has made an impressive start, achieving two podium finishes from the first three races.

Piquet Jr has followed his agent Steve Hewett, who joins The KINC from his previous role as Head of Athletes Relations for North America at Alpinestars where he worked on several motorsport series including IndyCar and Formula Drift. Piquet Jr retains NASCAR representation in the USA with FUEL Sports Management.

Piquet Jr said: “My career is quite diverse – this year I am participating in Global Rallycross, FIA GT and some NASCAR activities and so it’s important to have the right team around me. I have great NASCAR representation in the US and now with The KINC I believe I have a great European based company to work with. I am really looking forward to working with them.”

Kristoffer Hansson, Head of Rights and Athlete Representation at The KINC, said: “Nelson is a driver who has demonstrated his skill and adaptability by competing at the highest level across a range of different racing formats from F1 to NASCAR. He’s a great addition to The KINC team and we’re looking forward to working with him.”

The KINC adds Piquet Jr to its growing list of talent, which includes Dakar Rally driver Guerlain Chicherit and Nike SB athlete Halldor Helgason.

Foust Finally First

foust wins
Tanner Foust wins in New York - Photo courtesy of Red Bull Media

Tanner Foust wins in New York – Photo courtesy of Red Bull Media

Was Tanner Foust’s win in World Rallycross last month in Finland the beginning of a winning streak?

Foust put in a tremendous performance in New York to win round four of the Red Bull Global Rallycross Championship, his first GRC win after a rough start to the season. In round one in Barbados, Foust was looking good in heat three when he lost part of his car after a hard landing on the jump, causing a red flag. The race was called and Foust found himself in the Last Chance Qualifier. During the LCQ he ended up taking the Joker Lap twice, causing a time penalty that put him out of contention.

At the X Games in Austin, Texas, for round two, he rolled his VW Polo R in the semifinal and failed to place at all. At the Washington, DC, round in June he placed fifth. But this weekend he seemed to still have his Finnish groove by taking third and first in his heats and first in his semifinal.

foust wins“It’s been a tough year,” said Foust. “The guys with the most finely tuned road racing skills have really dominated this year, and this was a course that road racing skill really played in, and (Nelson Piquet Jr. and Scott Speed) were quickest all weekend. Luckily, I was able to use a little bit of rallycross-ness skill, focusing on starting, because the track was really hard to pass on in order to get the job done. Fundamentally, I still have to go to school and get quicker, and I’m getting closer and closer to fine-tuning my road racing skills, but GRC has set the stage that its courses and races are going to be very much like what you see here.”

Coming in right behind Foust was his teammate, Scott Speed, who was the current points leader entering round four. After coming in second in the final, according to race officials Speed was penalized for “…making unapproved adjustments to his vehicle during the first red flag under Article 7.7 of the series’ supplemental regulations.” This penalty dropped Speed to ninth position at the end of the final and elevated Nelson Piquet Jr. to second place.

Speed and Piquet have been battling it out on the track for the series points lead since the beginning of the season. With the disqualification, Nelson Piquet Jr. takes a 35-point lead over Speed. “It’s been a really good weekend for us,” said Piquet. “We won the heat race, the semifinal, and finished the finals in second. Obviously, we want to take the points lead on the track, but regulations are regulations. We’ve had three podiums in four races now. The consistency is great and the result this weekend is great for the team. I work great with my team, I love them, and next weekend in Charlotte we’ll be trying to win our first race of the season. We will keep thinking about the championship and scoring as many points as we need to.”

Coming in third place was Ken Block who had been looking forward to racing at the New York venue: “For me, to be able to come out to a bunch of new venues is really cool so I’m stoked to go to such a wide variety of great cities, like New York, Los Angeles, X Games in Austin, and Vegas,” said Block. “For me, it’s just cool to see that we’re actually working to make this sport bigger and bigger and take it to better locations.”

“The season gets progressively better for me, so I’m stoked to have third. It was a tough day today, we had a bunch of restarts, and unfortunately I had some really good starts that were wiped away by some red flags. But it is what it is — that’s rallycross. I had some good battles going in the final, but unfortunately somebody hit my rear suspension and bent it, so I really struggled to get fourth. Then, of course, with the penalty, I ended up with third. I’m pretty happy with that, I need the points! It’s been such a bad season so far — I’ve driven well, qualified fairly well, things just hadn’t come together for the final, so I’m stoked.”

Photo courtesy of Red Bull Media

Photo courtesy of Red Bull Media

An unfortunate result from this weekend was when round three winner, Patrik Sandell, fought his way through the LCQ into the final only to encounter a red flag in the first lap of the final due to a mishap causing damage to the front end of Sandell’s car. The crew was unable to fix the problem in time for the restart, putting Sandell’s chance for his second win in a row out of reach.  Despite that disappointing result, he still ranks fifth in overall driver points.

The stakes are getting higher as we reach the midway point of the season. Next round is at “The Dirt Track” in Charlotte on July 26. Tickets can be purchased at: http://www.charlottemotorspeedway.com/tickets/red_bull_global_rallycross/

Final Results of Round Four:

  1. Tanner Foust, #34 Volkswagen Andretti Rallycross Polo
  2. Nelson Piquet Jr., #07 SH Racing Rallycross Ford Fiesta ST
  3. Ken Block, #43 Hoonigan Racing Division Ford Fiesta ST
  4. Joni Wiman, #31 Olsbergs MSE Ford Fiesta ST
  5. Steve Arpin, #00 Royal Purple Racing/OMSE2 Ford Fiesta
  6. Austin Dyne, #14 Barracuda Racing Ford Fiesta
  7. Rhys Millen, #67 Hyundai/Rhys Millen Racing Veloster Turbo
  8. Sverre Isachsen, #11 Subaru Rally Team USA WRX STI
  9. Scott Speed, #77 Volkswagen Andretti Rallycross Polo
  10. Patrik Sandell, #18 Olsbergs MSE Ford Fiesta ST

CURRENT DRIVER POINTS:

  1. Nelson Piquet Jr., 184
  2. Scott Speed, 149
  3. Steve Arpin, 140
  4. Joni Wiman, 124
  5. Patrik Sandell, 116
  6. Ken Block, 99
  7. Tanner Foust, 95
  8. Austin Dyne, 94
  9. Brian Deegan, 70
  10. Rhys Millen, 65
  11. Sverre Isachsen, 60
  12. Bucky Lasek, 57
  13. Emma Gilmour, 21
  14. Pat Moro, 3

QUICK FACT:  “This was Tanner Foust’s fifth career Red Bull Global Rallycross victory and 15th career podium finish in 27 career starts. All three statistics are series records; he is tied with Marcus Gronholm and Toomas Heikkinen for most career wins and holds the podium and event appearance records outright. It was his first victory in 12 races, dating back to the 2012 season finale in Las Vegas.” – Red Bull GRC

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