The opening round of the WRC season did not meet the high expectations of Citroën. Two short weeks have provided time to analyse the reasons for the disappointing results in the south of France and to fine tune preparations for Sweden.
The team conducted an initial test in early January and continued the car’s development during last weekend. The program was cut short because of Kris Meeke’s accident. Fortunately the crew was OK, while the car sustained only minor damage.
In Sweden Craig Breen will make his competitive debut in the C3 WRC. Meanwhile, Stéphane Lefebvre will compete in a car from the previous generation.
Yves Matton, Citroën Racing team principal said:
“As soon as we returned from Monaco, the team got to work in a calm and determined fashion. Analysis of the Rally Monte Carlo showed that our poor performance stemmed from a series of isolated incidents, more often than not unpredictable, rather than a major underlying problem. We take some comfort from that point of view and we remain confident about our potential. In Sweden, we are obviously hoping for a better result. Once again, Kris Meeke will be aiming to win, whilst Craig Breen will need to learn and improve on his first rally with the C3 WRC. We’ll still only have two cars nominated to score points in the Manufacturers’ World Championship, but we hope we can make up some ground in the standings.”
Craig Breen said:
“I’m very excited about making my competitive debut with the Citroën C3 WRC! I can’t wait to get started. This is something that I’ve been waiting for all my life. I have good memories from this rally, not least the 2016 event, which was my first WRC outing with Citroën. I’d also say that this surface is little bit more forgiving of minor mistakes, or at least that is the case when there are really compact snow banks! I feel confident in these surroundings, in the car and with the team. And although we don’t really know what to expect, I’m ready to rise to the challenge.”
Stephane Lefebvre said:
“Rally Sweden is certainly the one where I have the most to learn, since I have only competed here once before, two years ago in the DS 3 R5. So from that point of view, I won’t be frustrated to be driving a previous-generation car. With the pressure off, I’ll be able to progress at my own pace. My aim will be to bounce back after a difficult Monte Carlo. It’s difficult to make predictions or to set myself a specific target, but we’ll be looking to seize the slightest opportunity to score points.”