Hansen poised to defend World Rallycross title

Hal Ridge

Hansen won his first FIA world crown in a dramatic season finale in South Africa last year, which included a clash with nearest rival Andreas Bakkerud in the last race of the campaign.

The pair finished level on points, but Hansen secured the crown as his family’s Team Hansen MJP team scooped teams’ honours.

“We are still working on everything, it’s all looking good, but if it was today, we don’t enter,” Hansen told Motorsport.com recently. Entries with the FIA for the 2020 season close this week.

He added: “I guess I look at it the same way that everyone would look at it, like ‘Yeah, they’re world champions, of course they’ll be back on the grid.’ And I try to tell myself the same; of course we’ll be back, but then finally coming to work, there’s a lot of things to do.

"But, we need to be on the start line in Barcelona. We aren’t 100 percent yet, but of course that is where our goal is and I hope we will be able to confirm soon."

Kristoffersson was absent from the World RX grid after winning his second successive drivers’ crown in 2018, when the Volkswagen-backed PSRX team withdrew from the series.

Following a year racing in WTCR, Kristoffersson is known to be working on a return to World RX, an addition to the field that Hansen would welcome.

“I would be the happiest of everyone except for Johan himself if he came back,” said Hansen. “I want to race against him again. He’s a brilliant competitor; he’s very hard and very fair. I want to get the chance again to race against him and try to beat him, of course.”

Kristoffersson won 11 of the 12 rounds in the 2018 campaign.

“I would say that if he came back in the same form again, that makes me really motivated because it makes me see that I have to raise the level again,” added Hansen.

“We took a step forward in 2019, but it forces us to think outside the box and take another step and continue that push to go forward, it’s a big motivation. If he came back with the [works-built Volkswagen] Polo that is infamous now, I would be very motivated to take that challenge.”

Hansen thinks the sport would benefit from having the winner of the most recent three titles on the grid this year.

“It would be great,” he said. “If rallycross is not doing well, I don’t have a job, so also my job is to work for and hope that rallycross is healthy and exciting and people want to watch it.”