Team Hansen maintained their perfect start to the season after winning the opening two rounds in Spain and Sweden as they controlled the final, following one another around the tight and twisty track like a train. Timmy Hansen’s victory extends his world championship lead to 10 points ahead of his younger brother Kevin Hansen as not only one team, but one household looks set to run away with the 2021 title.
But spare a thought for defending world champion Johan Kristoffersson, who has been dogged by bad luck all season. After double punctures put him out of the running in Sweden, the three-time world champion had dominated qualifying, setting the fastest time in the final round to reach Semi-Final 1 on pole position on one of his best tracks.
To prove his mastery of the KYB EKS JC Audi S1, Kristoffersson started on four fresh tyres and was perfectly set up for a run at victory. But while he comfortably kept Timmy Hansen at arm's length in the opening laps, his Audi developed a problem with the driveshaft and began to lose pace. By the final lap, he managed to cross the line in third place ahead of Kevin Abbring, just clinching the last of the qualifying places in the final.
Worse was to come. His mechanics raced to change his gearbox, ready for the final but missed the deadline by a few seconds. It meant Kristoffersson could only look on as the last qualifying place was handed to Abbring as a first reserve, and the Dutch rookie lined up P6 in his Renault Mégane.
In the final, Krisztián Szabó threatened the Hansens in the opening lap, but damage to the rear of his Hyundai i20 saw his challenge fade. Abbring also pushed, taking his Joker lap early to set up a late charge, but he couldn’t get close to third-placed Niklas Grönholm, who held on for his first podium of the season.
Lohéac is always a special race in the World RX and a massive event in France, behind only the French Grand Prix and the 24 Hours of Le Mans in terms of popularity and the French fans were rewarded with a glimpse into the future of motorsport and a rising star of dirt track racing.
Making his debut, 18-year-old Dorian Deslandes was the field's pick in the all-electric RX2E final, beating World RX race winner and European champion Reinis Nitišs to the top spot. Deslandes is the protégé of another World RX legend, Cyril Raymond, who was visibly moved by the emphatic victory.
The championship moves on to a double header in Latvia in two weeks’ time. Watch every round live on Red Bull TV
World RX Championship (Top 5)
- Timmy Hansen (SWE) – Peugeot 208 – 85 points
- Kevin Hansen (SWE) – Peugeot 208 – 75
- Krisztián Szabó (HUN) – Hyundai i20 – 58
- Johan Kristoffersson (SWE) – Audi S1 – 57
- Kevin Abbring (NED) – Renault Mégane RS – 55