Fickle, showery weather made conditions particularly difficult in Sweden but they didn't prevent the three Peugeot 208 WRXs from reaching the semi-finals in Höljes, one of the key WRX fixtures. Timmy Hansen leapt from fifth on the grid of the first semi-final to win his race in style and he went on to appear in front for a time in the final. He was forced to settle for third place, however, just behind Sébastien Loeb.
Sébastien Loeb won his first qualifying heat and was competitive all weekend. It looked like the Swedish round might provide him with his first world rallycross victory but, in the end, a last-turn manoeuvre in the final earned him second place which has narrowed his deficit to the provisional championship leader.
Team Peugeot Hansen pocketed the weekend's biggest points haul in the Teams' championship to edge even closer to the top of the standings. With the first half of the season now completed; the Franco-Swedish outfit is second overall, 32 points short of the leader.
Höljes also hosted round three of the 2016 European Rallycross Championship which saw Kevin Hansen shine once again. Although most of his races were perturbed by rain, he produced an assertive performance to clinch his third win in a row. His Peugeot Hansen Academy team-mate Davy Jeanney reached the semi-final stage of the WRX competition but a puncture prevented him from defending his chances all the way.
Round 7 (6th-7th August) will take teams to Trois Rivières, Canada, where the Peugeot 208 WRX finished on top in 2015.
Kenneth Hansen (Team Principal)
"As a venue, Höljes is magic. On Friday, we had trouble settling into Free Practice but a set-up change put us back into contention. We had one or two problems during the qualifying heats but we still managed to put up a fight in the final phase. Sébastien was pleased with his car. We made a few adjustments to Timmy's set-up for his semi-final and that enabled him to push, just as he did here last season. Both Timmy and Sébastien reached the final and it was globally a good weekend for us because we were up there battling for the victory. Kevin produced another fantastic run. He had a much harder time than in Norway and frequently had to cope with rain but he didn't allow that to unsettle him. It's almost as though he's a veteran who's been competing for 25 years! Three of our four drivers took part in the weekend's podium celebrations!"
Sébastien Loeb (Team Peugeot Hansen, N°9 Peugeot 208 WRX)
"It was a weekend of ups and downs with a bit of everything. I won my first heat but then I made a costly mistake in the second one and I was only 18th after a spin and a puncture. I had a good ruin in Q3 but I was unfortunate to pick up another puncture in Q4. I still managed to qualify on the front row for the semi-final and I ended up second both in that race and in the final, so I scored some good points. I feel a little frustrated because I believe we could have done better. The positive thing is the fact that car felt much better in Sweden. Now I've got the Silk Way Rally coming up in the Peugeot 2008 DKR. That should be an interesting 20 days!"
Timmy Hansen (Team Peugeot Hansen, N°21 Peugeot 208 WRX)
"What a race! I had a hard time in the qualifying heats but then I had an incredible semi-final. I started from the back row but, when I saw the drivers ahead of me go wide at the first turn, I knew I had a chance to win the race. I started the final from the front row and got away to a strong start and found myself in the lead. On the second lap, however, I dislocated my shoulder which was very painful. If it hadn't been for that, I think I could have won. My hand brake came on through the final corner, and that allowed Sébastien to sneak past into second place. Two cars on the podium is our best result since the start of the 2016 championship!"
Kevin Hansen (Peugeot Hansen Academy, N°71 Peugeot 208 WRX)
"Fantastic! I pushed hard all weekend but it wasn't easy. It started to rain a few times just as I was lining up for the qualifying heats but I managed to keep a cool head. It's a great feeling to have won our home race here in Höljes, a place where I have watched my father compete so many times..."
Final Positions - Höljes, Sweden:
1. Andreas Bakkerud (Hoonigan Racing Division, Ford Focus RS),
2. Sebastien Loeb (Team Peugeot Hansen, Peugeot 208 WRX),
3. Timmy Hansen (Team Peugeot Hansen, Peugeot 208 WRX),
4. Anton Marklund (Volkswagen RX Sweden, Volkswagen Polo),
5. Johan Kristoffersson (Volkswagen RX Sweden, Volkswagen Polo)
6. Mattias Ekström (EKS, Audi S1)
Championship Positions after 6 rounds
2016 FIA World Rallycross Championship - Drivers:
1. Mattias Ekström (EKS, Audi S1), 142 pts
2. Petter Solberg (Peter Solberg World RX Team, Citroën DS3), 137 pts
3. Andreas Bakkerud (Hoonigan Racing Division, Ford Focus RS), 110 points
4. Sebastien Loeb (Team Peugeot Hansen, Peugeot 208 WRX), 106 pts
5. Johan Kristoffersson (Volkswagen RX Sweden, Volkswagen Polo), 106 pts
6. Timmy Hansen (Team Peugeot Hansen, Peugeot 208 WRX), 86 pts
7. Toomas Heikkinen (EKS, Audi S1), 82 pts
8. Robin Larsson (Robin Larsson, Audi A1), 61 pts
9. Janis Baumanis (World RX Team Austria, Ford Fiesta), 57 pts
10. Timur Timerzyanov (World RX Team Austria, Ford Fiesta), 52 pts
11. Kevin Eriksson (Olsberg MSE, Ford Fiesta ST), 49 pts
12. Davy Jeanney (Peugeot-Hansen Academy, Peugeot 208 WRX), 48 pts
2016 FIA World Rallycross Championship - Teams:
1. EKS, 224 pts
2. Team Peugeot Hansen, 192 pts
3. Volkswagen RX Sweden, 152 pts
2016 Calendar (*) rounds which also count towards the European Championship
1. 16th-17th April: Portugal (Montalegre)
2. 7th-8th May: Germany (Hockenheim)
3. 14th-15th May: Belgium (Mettet)*
4. 28th-29th May: Great Britain (Lydden Hill)
5. 11th-12th June: Norway (Hell)*
6. 2nd-3rd July: Sweden (Holjes)*
7. 6th-7th August: Canada (Trois-Rivières)
8. 3rd-4th September: France (Lohéac)
9. 17th-18th September: Spain (Barcelona)*
10. 1st-2nd October: Lithuania (Riga)*
11. 15th-16th October: Germany (Estering)
12. 26th-27th November: Argentina (Rosario)