Yves Matton: Citroen will use September to draw up its 2018 strategy

Yves Matton: Citroen will use September to draw up its 2018 strategy

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The Citroen team finished ADAC Rallye Germany with a podium thanks to Andreas Mikkelsen’s second place and another fifth place for Craig Breen. Thus the crews managed to meet the targets, set by team principal Yves Matton before the start.

Yves MattonDid you meet the targets set in Germany?

“Before the start of the rally, I had asked the drivers to push at a level that would enable them to get involved in the fight for the lead. A certain amount of risk-taking became necessary, given the weather forecast. And the fact our drivers were all starting well down the running order on the opening leg. Implicitly, we were aiming for a podium finish and a top five spot for the second car. So yes, in the end, the result is entirely in keeping with our expectations.”

Andreas MikkelsenHow would you assess the performance of Andreas Mikkelsen, on his third rally in the Citroën C3 WRC?

“During the pre-event test, Andreas was very excited about the potential of the car on tarmac. Despite his lack of experience with the C3 WRC on this surface, he immediately got among the frontrunners at the start of the rally. Just like we had asked him, he managed to push to the right level in order to go fast. I’m also pleased that he finally managed to master Panzerplatte. He was a bit nervous about this stage, but we were able to improve his confidence by giving him the benefit of Citroen Racing’s experience at this event. I’m delighted that the discussions worked on both sides.”

Craig BreenCraig Breen seems to have become a specialist in finishing fifth: are you happy with that?

“After a promising season in 2016, Craig has confirmed that he deserves his place among the elite of world rallying. This series of six fifth places shows his ability to manage races from start to finish. This weekend, he was competing in only his third Rally Deutschland. His lack of experience, combined with the changeable weather, led to him making a few mistakes during the early stages of the rally. But he kept clear of any serious trouble. And he went on to claim a fine top-five spot, which helped us to meet our targets for the weekend.”

Kris MeekeKris Meeke had a more difficult weekend…

“Before the rally had properly got underway, he was already ten minutes off the pace because of what he himself described as a stupid mistake. I have to say that I also think that the course for this stage was entirely unsuited to the 2017 WRCs! After such a disappointing start, I understand that it was difficult for him to find the motivation needed to match the pace of the leaders. Friday’s leg was difficult, but he was fast on the Baumholder stages on Saturday. Unfortunately, his race came to a premature end due to a mechanical issue. We retired the car because we didn’t want to risk damaging the engine. It also meant Paul Nagle could head home early to meet his new son, who was born on Saturday.”

There are a few rumours going around the service park regarding potential driver transfers for 2018. What is your position on this issue?

“I think everyone knows that the next month is likely to be a busy period as regards driver transfers. As is the case with the development of the car, the priority is to prepare for 2018. We now have a break in the WRC calendar, so we are going to use the month of September to draw up our strategy. In doing so, we are talking to the drivers who could help up to reach our goals. For the time being, nothing has been decided.”

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