The 2023 FIA World Rallycross Championship concluded in amazing fashion in Hong Kong city centre, as Swede Kevin Hansen secured the vice-champion position in the Drivers’ Championship and British debutant Patrick O’Donovan scored a maiden podium with Hansen World RX Team (November 12).
Following victory in the penultimate round of the year on Saturday, Kevin Hansen set the fastest time in SuperPole on Sunday morning, then again in Heat 1 to get the second day off to a strong start. But, come the semi-finals he lost out in the battle to make the final. But, such had been the strength of the 2016 European Rallycross Champion’s performance over the weekend that he had scored enough points to be assured of second in the Drivers’ standings, even without making the final grid.
Meanwhile, British Rallycross Champion Patrick O’Donovan and 2019 World Rallycross Champion Timmy Hansen did make it into the very last race of the year, witnessed by a huge, highly-enthusiastic, new audience, and it was O’Donovan who climbed from the back of the grid to third in the first corners. Thereafter, the 19-year-old delivered a mature performance to fend off team-mate Timmy Hansen, the pair finishing third and fourth at the finish. Timmy Hansen ended the season sixth in the Drivers’ standings.
Kenneth Hansen said: “There were a lot of ups and downs this weekend. After his win yesterday Kevin had a more difficult day today, in the latter part at least, but Timmy had a much better day. For Patrick, he had a fantastic ending to the final, and it was brilliant to have him on the podium. Of course we wanted both of our drivers in the final to be on the podium but you can’t have it all, and to see Patrick and his family so happy was incredibly nice. The event here has been a big success. We have shown how rallycross can work in city centres, working alongside the traditional tracks we already have.”
Kevin Hansen said: “What a great weekend in Hong Kong – probably the best rallycross weekend we have ever had. To win yesterday in front of the epic backdrop in front of a massive crowd was incredible, then to finish second in the championship after today, I’m very happy. There’s just one more step to go next year. The race here was magical and I really look forward to coming back to Hong Kong.”
Timmy Hansen said: “It was a good weekend in pace, performance, and everything we always focus on, but for some reason the result never came together for me. I think we did everything right but in the wrong moments I had the wrong things happen and I missed the podium. Today was a bummer to miss the podium because the guys had to work really hard to repair the car. After some damage in Heat 3, they did a mega job and I really wanted to have some celebration for them. Unfortunately in the end it didn’t come off, but I’m super happy for Patrick, and for Kevin with his win yesterday and P2 overall in the championship. For myself it’s been a tough season, missing the goal all the time, so I’m looking forward to the future.”
Patrick O’Donovan said: “It was a weekend full of highs and lows, but it was amazing to finish on the podium on my World RX debut, especially in Hong Kong. I had better pace today than on Saturday – my race win in the Heats was one of my highlights, but to move up from the back of the grid in the final to go up the inside to P3 and hold on to the finish was just amazing. After the first corners the suspension wasn’t in the best condition, the handling wasn’t perfect, but I just pushed as hard as I could to keep a World Champion in Timmy behind me, to cross the finish line in third. It’s truly fantastic to get a podium in front of an amazing crowd as well.”