WRC A FULL 2017
CITROËN BEGINS A NEW CHAPTER IN ITS SPORTING HISTORY WITH THE C3 WRC.
85th Rallye Automobile Monte-Carlo (18-22 January 2017) – Preview
The moment that WRC fans have been desperately waiting for is finally upon us: in a few days, the 2017 World Rally Championship will get underway on the stages of the legendary Rallye Monte-Carlo. The Citroën C3 WRC – designed to meet the new FIA regulations – will be making its competitive debut. Driven by Kris Meeke/Paul Nagle and Stéphane Lefebvre/Gabin Moreau, two cars have been entered for this, the opening round of the season.
RALLYE MONTE-CARLO: SIMPLY ICONIC!
Quite apart from the prestige invoked by its name, Rallye Monte-Carlo owes much of its reputation to the unpredictability of the racing conditions. In January, the roads in the hills of the south-west of France can be snow-covered, icy, wet or… just dry! The most “amusing” part is that a single stage can feature all of these conditions. Tyre choice is therefore of critical importance here. It’s all about estimating, for an entire loop of stages, what represents the best compromise. Gaps can open up and disappear very quickly, making the race even more exciting…
On this, the 85th running of the event, the oldest rally in the world will be spread over four days of racing. On Thursday, 19 January, the rally will get underway in the evening, with the ceremonial start in Monaco. The crews will then head towards Gap, where they will tackle two evening stages, one of which is new this year. After a short night’s rest, day two promises to be incredibly intense, with two loops of three stages contested in the Isère and Hautes-Alpes departments. On Saturday, the competitors return to Monaco, completing five stages on the way. The final leg, contested with no service, will see the crews tackle the famous Col de Turini. The rally is scheduled to finish in the Principality on Sunday, 22 January, in the early afternoon.
THE CHALLENGES: THE START OF A NEW ERA FOR THE WRC
The start of a new season is invariably the source of great interest for rally fans. But this year, the excitement has been ramped up with the introduction of new cars, more powerful and spectacular than their predecessors. In addition to the new regulations and cars, this year’s driver transfer market has been particularly eventful and intriguing, so much so that we enter the 2017 season with a large number of unknowns and variables.
What is the relative performance level of the cars? Will they have the necessary reliability? Which crews will adapt the best to their new cars? Many questions that we may be able, at least in part, to answer at the end of the Monte-Carlo.
On its return as a works team in the WRC, the Citroën Total Abu Dhabi WRT has generated a lot of interest. But no one is getting carried away in the ranks of the Red Army. Everyone is eager to see the first times, with a mix of excitement and anxiety, to find out if the results of hard work done in the last two years or so meet the ambitions of the Brand.
At four of the year’s first five races, Citroën Total Abu Dhabi WRT will only be entering two C3 WRCs. This time, Kris Meeke/Paul Nagle and Stéphane Lefebvre/Gabin Moreau have been tasked with scoring points for the Manufacturers’ World Championship. Meanwhile, Craig Breen/Scott Martin will be competing in a car from the previous generation. They will therefore be able to score points in the Drivers’ championship.
Last year, Kris Meeke was fighting for the lead before he had to retire. Meanwhile, Stéphane Lefebvre finished fifth, which remains his best result in the World Championship. This year, the team-mates will have the same ambition: eliminate the unknowns and manage the variables as they try to solve the tricky equation posed by this 2017 Rallye Monte-Carlo.
To coincide with Citroën’s return to the WRC as a works team, we are offering you the chance to receive the latest information live from the rallies via the application WhatsApp: standings, news, photos and videos.
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17timed stages covering a total of 382,65 km
76entries, including 10 2017 generation WRCs
41tyres per crew (maximum), chosen from a total of 72 with 4 types of compound
22 different professions working within the Citroën Racing team: engineers, specialist mechanics, engine specialists, gravel/tarmac crews, meteorologists, press officers, caterers, drivers, etc.
YVES MATTON, CITROËN RACING TEAM PRINCIPAL
“As is always the case at the start of new programme, we do feel that a few extra days would have been very welcome in order to spend more time developing the car. The development of the C3 WRC has been the shortest in the history of Citroën Racing and we have to stress the extraordinary investment made by our teams over the last few months. Having said that, we are eager to see where we stand. That competitive spirit is hard-wired in us. The car seems to be well-designed and consistent, but we’ll just have to see how it compares with its rivals. Our crews will have two different approaches. Kris showed last year that he has the ability to win this rally. But of course, we need to differentiate between driving throughout a day on a test run and a completing a four-day rally with only two passes on the stages in recce. We’ll need to be defensive at the start of the race, to see where the competition lies and then look ahead to the rest of the rally. It will be different for Stéphane. Like Craig, we want to take him to a level where he can challenge for race wins. But before that, there will still be a period of learning, especially in the first half of the season. He needs to aim for points finish and ensure he makes it to the end. We only have two cars here, which means that there’s no backup option or safety net.”
LAURENT FREGOSI, TECHNICAL DIRECTOR
“We come to Monte-Carlo with the feeling that we have done some good testing to prepare for this rally. The drivers seem comfortable in the C3 WRC and that makes us optimistic about the raw performance levels of the car. Preparations for Monte-Carlo concentrated in two areas: test a wide variety of tyre combinations and explore the set-up options, in order to check if the usual ‘recipes’ work with this new car. We spent a lot of time studying the mapping of the active central differential. This new component allows us to subtly adjust the handling of the car depending on the road conditions. The aim is to provide the drivers with an ‘easy’ car, which is forgiving when there is a sudden change in grip. This first rally will also provide us with a good test of our car’s reliability. On this surface, it’s mainly the driveshaft that is given a bit of a hammering during the changes in grip.”
“We’re getting close to the point where should be ready to start a rally in the best possible conditions! After our last test sessions, I can’t wait to move onto the next stage. I have the feeling that we’ll be in the spotlight here, but I hope I can concentrate on my driving. It’s never easy to compete at Monte-Carlo. At each service, we’ll need to put our heads together to come up with the right – or the least wrong – tyre choice. People have no idea of the mountains of work done during test sessions to acquire data and then work out whether a given option is the right one. In this area, Citroën Racing has a great deal of experience that I can make use of. For this first rally, my aim is pretty simple: stay relaxed and enjoy myself in the car. They do say, and rightly so, that anything can happen at Monte-Carlo.”
Number of appearances at the event: 8
Best result: 3rd (2014)
“Gradually, I realise that the day of reckoning is getting closer. What we have been talking about for months as being in the future is now here, in the present! We have been discussing all sorts of things with the engineers, every day, talking about the slightest detail related to my car. Nothing has been left to chance and it’s genuinely fascinating to be in the middle of this works team. On this, my first rally with this status, I will be aiming to finish in a good position and score as many points as possible for Citroën. I think I’m still short of time behind the wheel with the C3 WRC and I don’t want to get ahead of myself. I have to get to grips with the car in racing conditions before trying to drive on the limit. I think we’re all in the same boat to some extent, with a number of unknowns in all areas.”
Number of appearances at the event: 3
Best result: 5th (2016)
“I will certainly be the driver under the least pressure this weekend! I’m pleased to start my season in an old car, because I don’t have a lot of experience at Monte-Carlo. This appearance will give me the chance to learn about the rally. It will also be an opportunity to note the gap between the two generations of World Rally Cars. My priority is to rack up the miles, but I will also be pleased if I manage to score a few points. They may come in handy in the final reckoning at the end of the season.”
Number of appearances at the event: 2
Best result: 13th (2015)
THE TOTAL QUESTION:
WHY DO WE USE MORE FUEL IN WINTER?
The fuel economy of a vehicle is affected by a number of factors: use of the air conditioning, under-inflation of the tyres, servicing of the vehicle, outside temperature, etc. This final factor can increase fuel consumption very significantly. When the outside temperature is low, the viscosity of the lubricants is higher when you start the engine, leading to greater mechanical losses through friction.
Given the greater use of electrical equipment, battery use also increases. The impact of lower temperatures can increase consumption on its own by as much as 5%! It is therefore to be expected that fuel consumption is higher in winter than in summer.
VISIT ABU DHABI
On 21 December of last year, Citroën unveiled its C3 WRC in Abu Dhabi, at the Etihad Towers complex. Boasting a spectacular architectural design, these five towers invite residents and visitors to live, work, stay, shop or dine whilst enjoying panoramic views over the city and the Arabian Gulf. On the 74th floor of the second tower, an observation deck offers visitors magnificent views of the city, the sea and the desert.
Visit Abu Dhabi
SCHEDULE FOR THE 85TH RALLYE MONTE-CARLO
WEDNESDAY 18 JANUARY
4.00pm: shakedown (Gap)
THURSDAY 19 JANUARY
6.11pm: Start of day 1 (Monaco – Place du Casino)
8.14pm: SS1 – Entrevaux – Val de Chavalgne – Ubraye (21.25km)
10.57pm: SS2 – Bayons – Bréziers 1 (25.49km)
00.02am: Flexi service A (Gap – 48 mins)
FRIDAY 20 JANUARY
9.00am: Start of day 2 and service B (Gap – 18 mins)
10.11am: SS3 – Agnière en Devoluy – Le Motty 1 (24.63km)
10.44am: SS4 – Asprès les Corps – Chaillol 1 (38.94km)
11.47am: SS5 – St Léger les Mélèzes – La Batie Neuve 1 (16.83km)
1.02pm: Service C (Gap – 33 mins)
2.28pm: SS6 – Agnière en Devoluy – Le Motty 2 (24.63km)
3.01pm: SS7 – Asprès les Corps – Chaillol 2 (38.94km)
4.04pm: SS8 – St Léger les Mélèzes – La Batie Neuve 2 (16.83km)
5.14pm: Flexi service D (Gap – 48 mins)
SATURDAY 21 JANUARY
7.17am: Start of day 3 and service E (Gap – 18 mins)
8.08am: SS9 – Lardier et Valenca – Oze 1 (31.17km)
8.58am: SS10 – La Batie Monseleon – Faye 1 (16.78km)
10.07am: Service F (Gap – 33 mins)
11.13am: SS11 – Lardier et Valenca – Oze 2 (31.17km)
12.08pm: SS12 – La Batie Monseleon – Faye 2 (16.78km)
1.17pm: Service G (Gap – 33 mins)
3.03pm: SS13 – Bayons – Bréziers 2 (25.49km)
4.23pm: Service H (Gap – 48 mins)
9.11pm: Parc ferme (Monaco)
SUNDAY 22 JANUARY
7.40am: Start of day 4
9.22am: SS14 – Lucéram – Col St Roch 1 (5.50km)
10.12am: SS15 – La Bollène Vésubie – Peira Cava 1 (21.36km)
11.16am: SS16 – Lucéram – Col St Roch 2 (5.50km)
12.18pm: SS17 – La Bollène Vésubie – Peira Cava 2 (21.36km)
1.53pm: Parc ferme
3.00pm: Prize-giving ceremony (Place du Palais Princier – Monaco)
FLASHBACK: 2003 RALLYE MONTE-CARLO
On its first full season in the WRC, Citroën put together a “dream team”, with world champions Carlos Sainz and Colin McRae and rising star Sébastien Loeb. Having just missed out on victory the year before, the young Frenchman ended the opening day in the lead, after Marcus Grönholm crashed. He was ahead of McRae and Sainz. The three Citroën Xsara WRCs enjoyed a trouble-free run to the end to finish in the same order. This stunning one-two-three signalled the arrival of Citroën as a major force in the WRC and marked the start of an incredible period of dominance for the Red Army!
CITROËN’S SEVEN WINS AT THE RALLYE MONTE CARLO
2013: Loeb / Elena (Citroën DS3)
2012: Loeb / Elena (Citroën DS3)
2008: Loeb / Elena (Citroën C4)
2007: Loeb / Elena (Citroën C4)
2005: Loeb / Elena (Citroën Xsara)
2004: Loeb / Elena (Citroën Xsara)
2003: Loeb / Elena (Citroën Xsara)
Media Citroën Total Abu Dhabi World Rally Team
Admin and Translation:
All The Best, Pablito, Pablo MACHI WRC
Rally Report Magazine Argentina
Photos: Media Citroën Total Abu Dhabi World Rally Team
Categories: RRM ARGENTINA WRC 17 AÑOS