Peugeot bringing new World RX car for Loeb and Hansen at Holjes

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Peugeot is planning to introduce a new 208 Supercar at the next round of the World Rallycross Championship in Sweden for Sebastien Loeb and Timmy Hansen.

The French manufacturer took its World RX programme in-house for 2018, after previously running it in partnership with Kenneth Hansen’s Hansen Motorsport concern.

Having announced pre-season that it would bring developments throughout 2018, Peugeot Sport director Bruno Famin believes the car set to be introduced for the Holjes event in two weeks’ time will be the single biggest upgrade of the year.

“In Sweden we should have some of the technical evolutions that we have been working on since the beginning of the year,” Famin told Autosport.

“We still have a couple of technical questions to solve and the main importance will be to have the parts for the racecars.

“Right now, the decision is not finalised, but it’s the target to have the evolution in Sweden.”

Although aesthetically the new 208s will appear the same as the cars raced by Loeb and Hansen in the opening five rounds of the campaign, the new machines will feature a revised chassis and a new engine.

Peugeot has previously used ORECA-supplied engines for its World RX programme, and though Famin suggested pre-season that engine development would be taken in-house it has not been confirmed if the new unit is Peugeot-built.

Loeb is the only driver other than reigning champion Johan Kristoffersson to have won a World RX round this season and is currently second in the points, 31 behind Kristoffersson.

But Famin is adamant he has not changed his pre-season prediction that Peugeot does not have to target the drivers’ title this year.

“It’s not our target,” he said. “But, if the evolutions are good, then why not?

“If the gap is not too big with Johan and Volkswagen, of course we’ll have a look at it, but it’s not the main goal.

“The main goal is to win more races this year, and obviously if we win more races then the situation with the championship will be better.”

Peugeot’s third driver, Kevin Hansen, who equalled his best ever result with fourth at the Norwegian round last weekend, will switch to racing one of the 208s driven by either Loeb or his older brother Timmy so far this year.

“Kevin will still stay one step behind, unfortunately for him, but it’s just because we cannot do it, we cannot do three new chassis like that,” said Famin.

“After, until the end of the season I don’t know, but right now it’s just impossible.”