Hansen Motorsport has for many years been at the forefront of European rallycross. The title won by the team last season was arguably one of its finest in recent years, the most recent of fifteen in total.
The special thing about the 2012 title was that, for the first time, it wasn’t won by team principle Kenneth Hansen. If it was ever in question, winning the championship with Kenneth as team manager rather than number one driver proved that it had the strength and depth to continue winning, hailing a new era for the Swedish outfit.
The driver who has excelled in the team’s evolution is Russian star, Timur Timerzyanov, who took the championship win for the team last year with one event to go. More impressive still, the 26-year-old didn’t event attend the first round of the championship, visa problems preventing him from making the start at Lydden Hill for round one.
Moving to Hansen Motorsport in 2011, after taking the Super1600 crown with Set Promotion in 2010, Timerzyanov was team mate to Liam Doran in his first Supercar season, the first year that (Kenneth) Hansen hadn’t driven full time. As Doran moved on for 2012, Timerzyanov took number one status in the team, and excelled. Six wins from nine starts in a new generation Citroen DS3 with a transversely mounted engine.
RallycrossRX 2013 has heralded a new dawn for Timerzyanov, energy drink giant Red Bull recognising both the potential in the Russian driver and the sport as a whole to back the defence of his championship title.
“It’s a dream come true!” Said Timerzyanov, before the first round at Lydden Hill. “I feel honoured to become a Red Bull driver and to join such a respected company, with a great band of skilled athletes.”
Lydden Hill started well for Timerzyanov, a consistent run through the early heats was followed by a dominating victory in semi-final two, massively faster than any of his rivals. The stage was set for a battle with his recent nemesis Tanner Foust, only to be ruled out of a chance at fighting for victory by hitting a kerb too hard early in the race.
“I hit a kerb too hard and got a puncture. These things happen. Last year I won the championship with an event to go and I didn’t even race at the first event, so it’s good to leave here with good points. It will be a long year,” said Timerzyanov after Lydden Hill.
As a mark of how competitive the Hansen Motorsport camp know they can be, at the end of the first day in England, Hansen Motorsport drivers Timmy Hansen, Timerzyanov and Alexander Hvaal were lying in first, second and third places respectively. A pretty good day for most, but not so for perfectionist team principle Kenneth Hansen; “Yes we are in the top three places, but where we were first, second and third in the first heat we were only first, fourth and fifth in heat two so there is lots of room to improve yet.”
RallycrossRX moved on to Montalegre in Portugal for round two. During the heats Timerzyanov showed his style. Third fastest in the first two heats while other drivers stole the headlines for various reasons, the Russian went fastest of all in the third and fourth heats to sit on top of the Intermediate Classification. Winning semi-final one from pole position, Timerzyanov lined up on the front row of the final with Norwegian Petter Solberg. With a good start Timerzyanov led into the first corner and for the first lap until again suffering a puncture, slowing the Citroen DS3 to a crawl.
“I am pleased with the pace from me and the car but I am very disappointed about the result in the finals,” said Timerzyanov. “We have been so unlucky this year so far, hopefully I won’t have another puncture for a very long time now.”
Following both the British and Portuguese events there was a distinct air of disappointment within Hansen Motorsport that Timerzyanov had been unable to win two events where podium finishes were the certainly on the cards. However, the Russian champion left Montalegre leading the championship after two events. It’s a clear indication of the level Hansen Motorsport strive for that they can be so disappointed and yet still be leading the table.
“Last year Timur won the title and didn’t even race in the first event,” said Kenneth Hansen. “We changed the car and Timur was much happier in Portugal than he was at Lydden Hill. He was so unlucky in the final, he and the car were going really well, but that’s motorsport. He will come back and win again soon I’m sure.”
Many drivers who had just failed to achieve their intended goal in a particular race could be forgiven for wanting to forget all about it for a short while. Not Timerzyanov though. Hours after the final had finished in Portugal he was still watching in-car videos from the event, looking at where he could make incremental improvements with both his set-up and driving. The mark of a real champion.
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