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Round seven of the 2017 FIA World Rallycross Championship saw Sébastien Loeb play a front-running role once again, this time in front of a record-breaking 45,100-strong crowd at Holjes, Sweden, where he claimed Team Peugeot Hansen’s fifth podium honours of the campaign.

• The two PEUGEOT 208 WRX drivers kicked off the 2017 season’s second half by putting additional pressure on the championship’s provisional leaders. Sébastien Loeb started the ‘Magic’ weekend at Höljes in emphatic fashion with Q1 victory. He then came second in Sunday’s first semi-final before adding another top-three result to his burgeoning WRX record.
• After his crash in Norway, Timmy Hansen had a new shell for his home meeting where he concluded qualifying in fifth place. He ultimately bagged fourth spot, just behind his French team-mate.
• Team Peugeot Hansen’s harvest of 42 points at Holjes has strengthened its grip on second place in the provisional Teams’ classification.
• It was a frustrating weekend for Kevin Hansen, however. The reigning European champion was running well in his 2016-specification PEUGEOT 208 WRX when a half-shaft failure ruined his chances of an appearance in the semi-finals.

Quote, unquote…

Kenneth Hansen (Team Principal)
“It was another special weekend at Höljes where the atmosphere was really superb. We knew it would be close because the championship’s current leader is very fast, but we proved a real threat, as illustrated by Sébastien’s victory in the opening qualifying session. We have improved our starts and we gave it our best shot, so there is every reason to feel pleased with the third and fourth places we scored in the final. We would obviously have preferred to have won but we haven’t given up hope of notching up a victory very soon. The points scored by our two drivers have strengthened our hold on second place in the championship.”

Sébastien Loeb (PEUGEOT 208 WRX #9), 3rd
“It was pretty good weekend on the whole. We have succeeded in closing the gap to Volkswagen, especially when grip is good. My car ran well and I found a good set-up which meant we were on the pace. I won Q1 and was then second in my semi-final, which suggests we are progressing in the right direction. We just lack a little outright performance. My diary is quite packed ahead of the next round in Canada since I’m off to Russia on Wednesday morning to take part in the Silk Way Rally in the new PEUGEOT 3008 DKR Maxi.”

Timmy Hansen (PEUGEOT 208 WRX #21), 4th
“I love the team spirit you always get at this round. It wasn’t a bad weekend for me because I reached the final for the seventh time from seven starts this year. Unfortunately, I still haven’t managed to finish on the top step of the podium this season but I’m not far off. We were really strong in qualifying, in the semis and in the final and it’s great to be in the thick of the fight.”

Kevin Hansen (PEUGEOT 208 WRX #71), 13th
“Everything went well for me on Saturday. I had a good rhythm and I posted some decent lap times which was encouraging. My time in this morning’s warm-up session made me think that form would continue today, so I was very disappointed when a driveshaft broke at the start of Q3. I did my best to recover the situation in Q4 but the track was fairly slow so I couldn’t manage any higher than 13th after qualifying. That was so frustrating because I believe I was faster than I have been since the start of the season.”

FINAL POSITIONS – HOLJES (July 2, 2017)
1.Johan Kristoffersson (Volkswagen Polo GTI)
2.Andreas Bakkerud (Ford Focus RS)
3.Sébastien Loeb (PEUGEOT 208 WRX)
4.Timmy Hansen (PEUGEOT 208 WRX)
5.Kevin Eriksson (Ford Fiesta)
6.Janis Baumanis (Ford Fiesta)

PROVISIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS AFTER SEVEN ROUNDS

Drivers
1.Johan Kristoffersson (Volkswagen Polo GTI), 181 points
2.Petter Solberg (Volkswagen Polo GTI), 150 points
3.Mattias Ekström (Audi S1), 143 points
4.Sébastien Loeb (PEUGEOT 208 WRX), 125 points
5.Andreas Bakkerud (Ford Focus RS), 124 points
6.Timmy Hansen (PEUGEOT 208 WRX), 121 points
7.Ken Block (Ford Focus), 77 points
8.Timo Scheider (Ford Fiesta), 67 points
9.Kevin Eriksson (Ford Fiesta), 64 points
10.Timur Timerzianov (Ford Fiesta), 60 points

Teams
1.Volkswagen PSRX, 331 points
2.Team Peugeot Hansen, 246 points
3.EKS Audi, 201 points
4.Hoonigan Racing Division, 201 points
5.MJP Racing Team Austria, 142 points
6.STARD, 104 points

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