The 9th round of the FIA World Rallycross Championship in Latvia was extremely closely-fought: to the extent that the winning margin in one of the Qualifying races (Q1) was just 0.009 seconds – or 23 centimetres on track! In the end, it was another podium for Team Peugeot Total, with Sebastien Loeb taking 3rd position, his 3rd straight podium finish in Riga and 6th of the season so far. On top of that, all 3 Peugeot 208 WRX lined up together in the Final: a great achievement for the team in only its 1st year in this complex discipline.
Even if the Final race didn’t entirely go to plan for Timmy Hansen and Kevin Hansen, who finished 5th and 6th respectively, it was still a strong team showing, with a useful points haul. Loeb was the second-best points-scorer of the weekend, while the team scored more points (45) than any other team in Riga. Peugeot Sport remains in line with its target of challenging for wins, and there is still plenty to hope for from the next adventure in the USA, in just 10 days.
Bruno Famin, Peugeot Sport Director
“Despite a Saturday that was quite tricky for us, with a few incidents in the Quali 2 session, we were able to fight back on Sunday, with 2 strong performances in Quali 3 and Quali 4 in the morning, which led to an extremely strong Semi-final. I will admit that we were quite proud of this achievement. The Final was less good, which characterises what was quite a mixed weekend for us in the end, with some positives and some negatives.”
— Peugeot Sport (@peugeotsport) September 16, 2018
“On the positive side, we have seen once again that the speed of the car is very good, allowing Sebastien to claim his 6th podium from 9 events. On the other hand, it’s clear that we still have some work to do, as we expected in our very 1st year with a full factory programme on the FIA World Rallycross Championship. The launch off the line is still one of our weakest points. We will be applying ourselves to that task, diligently and humbly, over the coming weeks and months. Again, I send all my thanks to all the people involved in this project, who are working relentlessly behind the scenes.”
“The weekend went quite well: we made a good start right from Q1, then we struggled a bit more in Q2, hitting a barrier, which cost us some time. Q3 and Q4 today were especially good: I think we have a solid pace but the problem we have is that the 3 manufacturers here have nearly the same speed, so it’s very hard to make a difference on the track, and at the moment we’re not consistent enough at the race starts. Quite often I lose a place by the 1st corner, and that’s actually what happened in the Final today.”
“But I’m happy to be back on the podium, of course! We just need to find a little bit more to be challenging for the victory and that’s going to be our objective between now and the end of the season. There aren’t any miracles in this sport, but you just have to work hard to understand how to improve. It’s definitely only a question of time, for the whole team.”
P3 ici au @LatviaRX ?? Le 6e podium en 9 courses ? J’aimerais gagner plus … mais @JohanKMS88 et son équipe sont plus forts ! À nous de travailler plus dur encore ?? #WorldRX #LatviaRX #PeugeotSport #Peugeot208WRX pic.twitter.com/Zzdcm9Jc1D
— Sébastien Loeb (@SebastienLoeb) September 16, 2018
“I’m happy with the result of this weekend overall and I think 5th is a fair reflection of what I deserved. My start wasn’t perfect in the Final and I was probably missing a bit to be challenging at the very top, but overall the speed was very, very good and we’ve seen some good progress; especially when we ended up with 3 Peugeots in the Final. If we carry on working in this way, I think we can definitely achieve our goals.”
“My highlight of the weekend was Qualifying 3: it’s a race that we won, where we were able to run in clean air and maximise all our opportunities away from traffic. I really enjoyed myself driving the Peugeot 208 WRX Evo. Now I will fly to the USA, where I will participate in the Nitro Games organised by Travis Pastrana prior to the next WRX race. So it’s only fun ahead!”
“I’m actually more than happy: I’m really delighted. I got through to the Final, for the 4th time this year, and I raced well all weekend. What makes me particularly pleased was the way that we reacted to the setbacks we experienced on Saturday. It was looking really tough but with the help of the team, we dug deep and were able to fight back: it’s really an extraordinary group of people here who never give up. From my perspective, I feel that I’m learning more all the time with this car and that we’re continuing the learning curve that we embarked on. I’m eager to make more progress now!”