A broken lubrication system connector was the reason for the retirement of Kris Meeke in the Tour de Corse. Citroen’s technical director Laurent Fregosi revealed that before the team’s next challenge – Rally Argentina.
“So it wasn’t an actual engine issue”, Fregosi added. “Obviously, we studied an alternative solution, which came through with flying colours at our recent pre-event testing. During the five days of testing, we focused on the suspension, which is a very decisive factor in car performance and driver confidence on gravel. Argentina is a tough event, as the loose ground deteriorates between the two passes, exposing large rocks on the road. Combined with the high speeds reached, the impacts subject the chassis and the suspensions systems to considerable stress.”
Citroen has won Rally Argentina as a WRC event ten times in the last twelve years! This amazing run says a lot about the expertise of the team, who will have the daunting privilege of defending this record.
However, several factors should prevent anyone from getting too carried away. As in Monte Carlo, Sweden and Mexico, Citroen will only be entering two C3 WRCs. The two crews did not compete here in 2016: Kris Meeke/Paul Nagle and Craig Breen/Scott Martin, who will be making their competitive debuts in South America. This lack of experience will be a disadvantage, since thirteen of the eighteen stages are identical to last year.
Another particularly unpredictable factor is the weather. Anything is possible at this time of year: cold, dry conditions or springlike temperatures, torrential rain, fog, etc. Depending on the conditions, the running order and tyre choice will be more or less significant.
“After a brief interlude on tarmac, we now begin a series of five gravel rallies”, Citroen Team Principal Yves Matton pointed out
“Argentina is a special destination for Citroen. The popularity of motorsport here is such that Citroen Argentina organises several marketing operations, to showcase our involvement in racing and place particular emphasis on the performances of the team.”
“In line with our goals for this season, we head into this round with the same philosophy. We’ll be aiming for first place with Kris Meeke, who, in his two appearances here, has won once (in 2015) and finished on the podium the other time! Craig Breen will have a tougher job. This will be a new experience for him and he may well find it difficult to be among the frontrunners. Having said that, he might just keep up his rapid progress and spring a pleasant surprise.”
— Citroën Racing (@CitroenRacing) 23 April 2017