Kevin Hansen grabs maiden WRX win following late drama

Courtesy of Red Bull Media Service Team

Swedish driver claims victory in Abu Dhabi after stewards’ investigation.

Kevin Hansen is celebrating his first win in the FIA World Rallycross Championship after a post-race inquiry reversed the top two positions. Finland’s Niclas Grönholm received a three-second penalty for making contact with Hansen’s Peugeot 208 during the Final. Here is all you need to know:

– Hansen also took his first TQ (top qualifier), winning Q3 and Q4 to qualify in pole position for his Semi Final.

– Older brother Timmy had lead qualification after day one with fastest times in Q1 and Q2, only for a huge coming together with Andreas Bakkerud in Q3 to force his retirement with a damaged roll cage. Bakkerud was penalised for the incident, which saw his Q3 time wiped and cost him a place in the Semi Final.

– The Final was a fiercely contested affair with just half a second between Hansen and Grönholm at the head of the pack. The decisive moment came on lap four when Grönholm made a passing manoeuvre through turns 10 and 11. Slight contact was made, with Hansen running wide and Grönholm taking the lead.

– The drivers celebrated on the podium, but Grönholm – for whom this would also have been a maiden victory – was subsequently hit with a three-second penalty for pushing and overtaking; enough to hand the win to Hansen. Britain’s Liam Doran claimed his first podium by finishing third.

– Speaking after the result had been confirmed, Hansen said, “A win in the stewards’ room isn’t the perfect way. It’s been a great job by all the guys in the team to get the cars here and prepared, but this one’s for Timmy as he should have been on the podium.”

– The race was the 2019 WRX season opener, the first to be held under lights and the first at Abu Dhabi’s Yas Marina Rallycross Circuit.

– The result was not only Kevin Hansen‘s first WRX victory, but also his first podium finish. It was a hugely successful event for Team Hansen MJP, with the brothers winning every race they entered over the weekend.

FIA World Rallycross Championship
1. Kevin Hansen – 30pts
2. Niclas Grönholm – 26pts
3. Janis Baumanis – 20pts
4. Timo Scheider – 20pts
5. Krisztián Szabó – 18pts

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