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RRM ARGENTINA WRC 17 AÑOS

CITROËN LAUNCHES A NEW ASSAULT ON THE FIA WORLD RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP WITH THE C3 WRC

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WRC A FULL 2017

CITROËN LAUNCHES A NEW ASSAULT ON THE FIA WORLD RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP WITH THE C3 WRC.

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21 December 2016
One month before the 2017 FIA World Rally Championship gets underway at the Rallye Monte-Carlo, Citroën Racing officially unveils its C3 WRC in Abu Dhabi.
Complying with the new FIA regulations, which see the introduction of a new generation of very spectacular World Rally Cars, the C3 WRC heralds the return of Citroën as a works team in a discipline in which the Brand holds a record 96 race wins and eight world titles.

In the 2017 season, the Citroën Total Abu Dhabi WRT will enter two to four C3 WRCs for its crews: Kris Meeke/Paul Nagle, Craig Breen/Scott Martin, Stéphane Lefebvre/Gabin Moreau and Sheikh Khalid Al Qassimi/Chris Patterson.

A NEW CHAPTER IN THE HISTORY OF CITROËN RACING

Since it was founded in 1919, Citroën has always impressed with its capacity to tackle and pull off bold, sporting challenges. In the 1950s, the Brand’s models claimed its first major victories in rallying.
However, it wasn’t until the start of the 1980s that the contemporary period truly began. Whilst never achieving the success they deserved, the Visa 1000 Pistes and the BX 4TC – both compliant with the famous Group B regulations – ensured rallying became hard-wired in Citroën’s DNA.

Kings of the desert
In 1989, the former racing department was renamed Citroën Sport and took up a sizeable challenge: win the Paris-Dakar Rally. The brand enjoyed success right from the word go, on its first attempt. Ari Vatanen won the 1991 rally. Three further victories, secured by Pierre Lartigue, would follow in 1994, 1995 and 1996. Kings of the desert, the ZX Grand Raids won 36 out of their 42 races, and were five-time winners of the FIA Cross Country Rally World Cup.

The road to the WRC
The outline of a WRC programme began to take shape. In the Xsara Kit-Car, Philippe Bugalski beat a host of World Rally Cars to win the 1999 Rally Catalunya and Tour de Corse! The ‘Red Army’ decided to move up a gear and the new Xsara WRC won the 2001 Tour de Corse driven by Jesus Puras. After spending the
2002 season preparing its entry, Citroën began its first full campaign in 2003.
The team made an incredible start, with a one-two-three for Loeb, McRae and Sainz at the Rallye MonteCarlo.
Citroën won its first Manufacturers’ World Championship at the end of the season, successfully defending the title for the next two years. At the same time, Sébastien Loeb and Daniel Elena began their incredible series of nine consecutive world titles in 2004.
At the end of the 2005 season, Citroën decided to put its sporting commitment on hold for a year, whilst it developed the C4 WRC. This new car would enable the Brand to add another three titles to its competitive record between 2008 and 2010. 2011 saw the introduction of a new generation of World Rally Cars. The DS 3 was chosen to keep the winning run going… and it did just that with style to spare: two more Manufacturers’ titles were added in 2011 and 2012.

Off on another world tour
Whilst continuing to compete in the WRC, with reduced ambitions, Citroën Racing took up a new challenge when it decided to enter the FIA World Touring Car Championship (WTCC). Once again, the
brand was incredibly successful. In the space of three years, the Citroën C-Elysée WTCCs won 50 races from 69 starts. Citroën and José María López therefore won three consecutive world titles…
After this short interlude on the track, Citroën has decided to return to the WRC with the New C3, symbol of the brand’s commercial offensive. A new chapter in this amazing story is about to begin…

YVES MATTON: «WIN RALLIES IN 2017 AND THEN GO FOR THE WORLD TITLES IN 2018»
How did Citroën’s return to the WRC come about?

«The decision stemmed from several factors. We were coming to the end of a three-year cycle in the WTCC, just as the Brand was preparing to launch a strategically-important new product, the New C3. At the same time, the FIA was in the process of putting together new regulations for the WRC. As the C3 matched the definition perfectly, well, everything just fell into place. This coming together of circumstances will help Citroën make the most of its involvement in motorsport.»

What are the challenges posed by the new regulations?

«At first glance, you could easily think that this just a major upgrade to the previous regulations. But it’s much more than that: the increase in engine power, the growing influence of aerodynamics and the return of the centrally-controlled differential are the three major changes. We have applied our unique expertise
on these three points, derived from our previous World Rally Cars and our recent experience in track racing. That has helped us to go quicker than we might otherwise have been able and above all, to go further in our thinking.»

How do you assess the work done since the start of the project?

“It’s fairly staggering! The timing was such that our development schedule was more compact than on any of our previous programmes. Even with our substantial experience, we couldn’t afford to lose any time in designing and developing the car. The team’s know-how ensured we were able to rack up the miles
without any serious issues. Without this expertise, we would have been unable stick to the schedule.»

Do you see any group B traits in the Citroën C3 WRC?

«The C3 WRC certainly recalls the cars that enthralled a generation of rally enthusiasts, including me. Thirty years on, fortunately everything has changed, especially in terms of safety. But the sense that the drivers will need to tame an aggressive, roaring beast is something that we will certainly see next season.
When I saw Kris Meeke drive the car for the first time in testing, I said to myself that we had achieved our goal. There is an extremely spectacular side to this new generation of WRCs.»

Can these cars give new impetus to the WRC?

«The previous WRCs were often criticised for lacking aggressiveness at certain points… I think rallying remained spectacular in terms of the scenery and backdrop of the events, but the cars undoubtedly lacked a wild, crazy side. I think we’ll see that again now. I hope that the changes will stimulate interest among younger fans and will have a positive effect on the championship.»

What role has Kris Meeke played in development of the Citroën C3 WRC?

«In a word, vital. We needed a leader, who had plenty of technical experience and knowledge in terms of development. Kris has been developing racing cars for the PSA Group for more than ten years. He is a trained engineer and that means he has been able to provide detailed analysis at certain points. He is undoubtedly one of the main reasons we were able to stick to the schedule and meet our goals.

Why did you choose Craig Breen and Stéphane Lefebvre?

«To meet our first goal, which is to win rallies in normal racing conditions in 2017, we already had Kris under contract. He showed throughout the 2016 season that he is capable of fighting for victory on every surface. For the other crews, there were then two ways we could go. We could either go for an experienced driver with established pace, who might challenge Kris for the role of team leader. Or we 5 could proceed in line with the vision of the Brand, which is to have a different approach that puts faith in talented young drivers. Having said that, it’s also an approach that is entirely consistent with what Citroën Racing has been doing for more than twenty years! Craig and Stéphane’s results have shown that we have two very talented, promising drivers in our stable. So we decided to give them their chance. In the medium term, they are the future of the WRC.»

What are your ambitions for the next few seasons?

«In 2017, we want to win races in normal conditions, by beating our competitors. And then in 2018, our goal is to bring home at least one of the world titles.»

Does Citroën’s history in the WRC mean there is added pressure?

«When I read certain comments, I note that a lot of people are expecting the C3 WRC to be fast right from the word go. So we certainly have pressure on our shoulders. The team is perhaps not as wellestablished in this environment as before and we’ll need some time to settle back in. As ever, we won’t be getting carried away. We’ll treat this challenge with the respect it deserves.»

CITROËN C3 WRC: PACKED WITH THE EXPERTISE AND EXPERIENCE OF A TEAM THAT HAS WON SIXTEEN WORLD TITLES

Since they first appeared in 1997, World Rally Cars have regularly undergone changes to their definition, whether in order to manage performance or control costs. The most significant changes were made ahead of the 2011 season, with more compact models with 1.6-litre direct injection turbo engines. The 2017 season sees the introduction of a new generation of cars, designed to be the fastest and most spectacular ever seen on the stages of the World Championship!
In all areas, the Citroën C3 WRC has pushed back the boundaries of what has been done in the past. For example, the weight-to-power ratio of the Citroën Racing engineers’ latest creation is 3.1kg/bhp, compared with 3.8 for its predecessor. Since improved efficiency is not only a matter of figures, the dramatic technological changes can also be seen in the wider wings, the substantial aerodynamic features and the four-wheel drive that now comes with a centrally-controlled differential.

One objective: the 2017

Rallye Monte-Carlo In the design office, evaluation of the new regulations and the structural design of the New Citroën C3 began in April 2015. This work was stepped up and specified once the programme was given the goahead
by senior management at the PSA Group. On 19 November 2015, when the sporting future of Citroën was announced, the C3 WRC already existed… virtually speaking, at least, on the CAD workstations.
Very quickly, work began on building the first prototype in the nearby workshops. On 11 April 2016, Kris Meeke drove the car on its first outing at the Versailles-Satory track.
Shortly afterwards, the team set off for the south of France, where the first test session was held on the gravel roads around Château Lastours. The car was decorated with a special «camouflage» livery, designed to hide the styling features of the New Citroën C3, which had yet to be unveiled at that point.
Development work continued on a variety of surfaces, with around four to five days of testing each month, as the team looked for both reliability and performance. At the end of June, a key stage was reached with the delivery of a second car, dedicated to tarmac testing.
Behind the scenes, work in the design office continued, introducing new upgrades. Several wind tunnel sessions were also held, before the shape of the bodywork was finalised.
Confirmed as works driver for Citroën Racing until 2018, Kris Meeke conducted the majority of the testing. In each session, his work was corroborated by Craig Breen and Stéphane Lefebvre, who took over driving duties from the Northern Irishman on the final day of the tests.
Altogether, the Citroën C3 WRC completed ten test sessions and a total of 9,500 kilometres.
The final, critical stage before the car’s competitive debut, homologation by the FIA, was completed on 13 December 2016.
«As is often the case in motorsport, we worked to a very tight schedule during the design and development of the car. When we began testing, we were pleased to note that the car was well designed. There were no major issues and the drivers said they were delighted with the car’s handling. Now that it’s time to measure ourselves against the competition, we feel that we have worked very well but it’s impossible to be confident. “Making such big changes to the regulations means that everyone has been dealt a new hand, so we’ll be treating our rivals with the respect they deserve.”
Laurent Fregosi, Technical Director The best engine ever designed by Citroën Racing:

Citroën Racing has been developing and building its own engines since 2010, in line with the FIA Global Racing Engine (GRE) regulations. The architecture, based on a four-cylinder 1.6-litre direct injection turbo engine, allows manufacturers to use their technology across several championships. For example, Citroën
used its experience in the WRC to design the engine of the Citroën C-Elysée WTCC. And now, the information and knowledge acquired whilst spending three seasons competing on the world’s racetracks that has been used to design the engine of the Citroën C3 WRC.
As with its two previous iterations, the Citroën Racing engine has been built using a machined, aluminium cylinder block. This finely crafted piece of metalwork must meet strict rules as regards minimum weight and the height of its centre of gravity.
{ The surge in performance expected in 2017 can be explained by one main factor: the wider turbo restrictor, which has increased from 33mm to 36mm. The power has been boosted by around 20% to 380bhp. However, the turbo pressure limit of 2.5 bars means that the torque remains relatively stable at about 400Nm.
Since a 36mm restrictor was already in use on the WTCC engine, the Citroën Racing engine specialists were able to get to grips quickly and confidently with the increased output and internal load. This head start has been used to study the slightest details in even greater depth. Alongside the chemical engineers from Total, in-depth work on reducing friction has helped to improve the engine’s output and efficiency.
More than ever before, reliability was a key concern for the engineers. With a quota of three engines per car for the season, the specifications requirements are similar to those of the WTCC, where the powertrain has to last fewer kilometres, but at a higher speed.
«I think it is safe to say that the Citroën C3 WRC has the most accomplished engine we have ever built. Whilst competing in the WTCC, we were able to take a step back from our experience in rallying and that enabled us to tackle this challenge with a new outlook. The framework of the GRE regulations is strict, but it provides sufficient freedom for new solutions to be devised. We have very boldly opted for some very radical technological
solutions, which I obviously won’t detail here! But we’re proud of the work we have done, especially on reducing friction. It’s all the more pleasing that these advances will one day be rolled out on our production models, across the entire Citroën range.»
Patrice Davesne, Engine Manager

Increased chassis efficiency on all surfaces

The structural design of the Citroën C3 WRC is similar to that of its predecessors. The production body shell has been cut to accommodate the composite fibre rear spoiler, the roll cage, the transmission tunnel and the subframe supporting the chassis and suspension systems.
The C3 WRC is Citroën’s first World Rally Car to be based on a five-door bodywork. The rear doors have been taken out, but this configuration nonetheless required substantial work on the car’s layout and ergonomics in order to find the optimum position of the crew, taking into account factors such as weight
distribution, visibility and passive safety.
This final point remains a central concern for Citroën Racing’s engineers and FIA experts alike. There have been no compromises as regards improving the protection of the crew, especially in the event of a side impact. The doors, for example, have now been reinforced with an additional composite fibre layer.
They’re a bit like a supercharged version of AirBump® ! The interior of the doors is lined with a high-density foam that is designed to absorb energy, whilst the headrests of the bucket seats now come with new protective mouldings.
In terms of details, the 2017 regulations have added freedom in a number of areas. The most visible of these is the increase in maximum width, which has risen to 1,875mm (+55mm), providing more stable handling and new aerodynamic options.
A key component as regards traction and the feeling of the drivers is suspension, and this area has undergone some substantial changes. Designed and built by Citroën Racing, the spring-shock absorbers are now titled to increase travel. Among the major innovations introduced on the C3 WRC, the suspension geometry will be different between the car’s tarmac and gravel versions.
{ The four-wheel drive has also undergone a major change, with the return of centrally-controlled hydraulic differential. This system – used on the Xsara and C4 WRC – allows the front and rear axles
to rotate at different speeds. By controlling the hydraulic pressure in the central clutch, it is therefore possible to transfer torque from one axle to the other in order to offset understeer and reduce any
slippage.

A muscular design

The Citroën C3 WRC’s muscular design and unique morphology are immediately striking. Like the production C3, the WRC bristles with freshness end energy, backed by rugged strength.
The aerodynamic changes, made possible by the less restrictive regulations, actively contribute to the performance of the car. The downforce generated by the aerodynamic features help to increase the stability of the car at high speeds, whilst the air vents provide cooling for the engine, the transmission and
the brakes.
Before settling on the final bodywork design, several iterations were tested. You just need to look carefully at the photographs taken over the months to realise this…
The high-standing front end is strong and compelling, giving a powerful impression of robustness with a horizontally balanced outline right through from the waist. It also features Citroën’s characteristic two-tier front light signature, the double chrome bar underlining the chevrons that extends out to the LED daytime running lamps. The centrepiece of the car’s aerodynamic performance, the bumper incorporates a splitterand winglets, which generate downforce and reduce understeer. The lower part is different on the tarmac and gravel versions. The air intakes supply cool air to the radiator, the turbo intercooler and the brakes.
Hot air is expelled by the air scoops located on the bonnet and at the bottom of the front wings.
Looking at the side, the first detail you notice is the floating roof held by the black windscreen pillars. The Citroën C3 WRC’s protective function shows through clearly in the balanced proportion between body panels and glazed surfaces. Lower down, the vehicle stands out thanks to the wide body sills that channel the lateral flow of air. The air vents located on the rear doors are used to cool the brakes. Like at the front, hot air is expelled via the bottom of the wings.
The rear bumper has been carefully designed to boost the expulsion of gravel and snow on loose surfaces.
These aerodynamic forms are echoed in the 3D rear lamps, which lend a unique, high-tech identity to the Citroën C3. Crowned by the centrally-positioned exhaust pipe, the rear diffuser provides yet further downforce by expelling the flow of air that passes underneath the car.
Lastly, a spectacular rear spoiler completes the aerodynamic system. It consists of a lower «shovel» and a more complex upper level. For increased efficiency, the spoiler assembly is set back and raised by 50mm compared with the previous regulations.
«The experience acquired with the Citroën C-Elysée WTCC has meant we didn’t have to start from scratch with this car. But it was just the starting point. We worked in iterations. We tested solutions using CFD (Computational Fluid Dynamics) and then in the wind tunnel with a 40% mock-up. The results led us to devise
new shapes, which we tested again and so on. At the same time, we had to try parts on the car, to ensure they would last on the roughest surfaces. It’s a never-ending process, really. With more time, we would undoubtedly have made further progress and found even more performance!»
Laurent Fregosi, Technical Director

FOUR CREWS READY TO TAKE ON THE CHALLENGE

Kris Meeke/Paul Nagle
After completing a degree in mechanical engineering, Kris Meeke contested his first rally in 2000. His bold, sweeping style caught the attention of Colin McRae, who gave him a helping hand to support his progress. Kris became British Junior Rally Champion in only his second full season. The title gave him the chance to enter the JWRC, in which he initially competed with Opel in 2003 and 2004.
Spotted by Yves Matton, Kris was signed up by Citroën Sport to contest the 2005 JWRC. Driving a C2 Super 1600, he began by winning the Rallye Monte-Carlo and finished the season third in championship.
Without a full programme after the 2006 season, he competed in one-off events. It was at that point he began working with Paul Nagle. The son of a co-driver, the Irishman already had plenty of experience, acquired since his competitive debut in 1997.
For the 2009 season, Kris was chosen by Team Peugeot UK to contest the IRC. In his Peugeot 207
S2000, he won four rallies to secure the title. He defended his title in 2010, but had to settle for third place.
His performances paved the way for a seat with the new Mini team, at the time preparing to join the WRC. However, the programme was stopped at the end of 2011 and Kris found himself without a drive again. Thanks to Citroën Racing, he competed at Rally Finland and Rally Australia in 2013 in a works DS3 WRC.
After showing once again that he had genuine pace, he was handed a seat in the Citroën Total Abu Dhabi World Rally Team for 2014. In his first full season in the WRC, he managed to secure four podium finishes. Retained for 2015, he claimed his first win in Argentina and ended the season in the top five of the championship.
When Citroën Racing announced it would be returning as a works team to the WRC in 2017, Kris Meeke was the first driver to be named in its line-up. Tasked with conducting the majority of the development work on Citroën C3 WRC, he also contested seven rallies with the Abu Dhabi Total WRT in 2016. Fast on
all surfaces, winning in Portugal and Finland, Kris heads into the new season as a serious world title contender.

Craig Breen/Scott Martin
After making his competitive debut in 2008 on the roads of his native Ireland and in Great Britain, Craig Breen’s career really took off in 2011. Competing in the WRC Academy1 , he managed to win the title on the final stage of Wales Rally GB.
Thanks to his Junior title, Craig earned a seat in a Fiesta S2000 for the 2012 season. The year began positively with a win in the S-WRC2 at Rallye Monte-Carlo, but events then took a tragic turn. A freak accident at Rally Targa Florio (IRC) took the life of his co-driver and friend Gareth Roberts. Encouraged by the friends and family of ‘Jaffa’, Craig came through this difficult period and continued his season alongside co-driver Paul Nagle. He won three more rallies in the S-WRC and ended the year as champion.
Invited to join the Peugeot Rally Academy, Craig then contested the European Rally Championship. He finished on the podium in 2013 in a 207 S2000 and again in 2014 in a 208 T16. 2014 also saw the beginning of his working relationship with Scott Martin. Following four full seasons in the WRC with Matthew Wilson and then one alongside Khalid Al Qassimi, Scott could see Craig’s talent and potential for progress.
Continuing in the 208 T16, 2015 saw the pair take on a two-pronged challenge. Despite a number of mechanical issues, Craig managed to finish as runner-up in the ERC and ended eighth in the WRC2.
His performances and tenacity earned him a place in the Abu Dhabi Total WRT to contest six rallies in
2016. Eighth in Sweden, seventh in Poland, he moved up a gear as he claimed an impressive third place in Finland. His progress was rewarded by a works drive with the Citroën Total Abu Dhabi WRT for the 2017 season.

Stéphane Lefebvre/Gabin Moreau
Stéphane Lefebvre cut his teeth in the promotional formulas of the French Rally Championship. Leading Junior in the 2012 “Volant 207”, he contested his first international rallies in the European Rally Championship the following year. In 2013, he finished fifth in the ERC’s «Two-wheel drive» category and topped the Junior standings of the 208 Rally Cup again.
Stéphane really came to the fore in the 2014 season, when he won the FIA Junior WRC, WRC3 and ERC Junior titles! The JWRC title was rewarded by a six-event programme in the following season’s WRC2, but Stéphane’s potential led to Citroën Racing adding other events to his programme.
Stéphane therefore contested thirteen rounds of the 2015 World Championship. After winning the WRC2 class at the Rallye Monte-Carlo, the rest of his season proved to be more difficult, but he continued to learn about rallying at world level in the DS 3 R5 and then the DS 3 RRC. He then competed in the final five rallies of the season in DS 3 WRC. His maiden outing ended with him finishing in the points in Germany, before ending the season with eighth place at Wales Rally GB.
For 2016, Stéphane joined the Abu Dhabi Total WRT. He began working alongside co-driver Gabin Moreau, who had just completed two seasons in the ERC with Chris Ingram. In Monte-Carlo, the season started with a fine fifth place.
Stéphane also showed he was improving in Portugal and Poland, but his season came to an abrupt halt in Germany. Competing outside of their Abu Dhabi Total WRT programme, Stéphane and Gabin were injured following a heavy crash.
Stéphane recovered in time to end the season at Wales GB, where he finished ninth. He was joined by Gabin at the Rallye du Var, for a test outing before attacking the 2017 season with the Citroën Total Abu Dhabi WRT.

Sheikh Khalid Al Qassimi/Chris Patterson
Sheikh Khalid Al Qassimi’s first experiences in motorsport were behind the wheel of 4WD cars during rallies organised in the Emirati desert. His rallying career really began in 2002, when he completed his first full season in the FIA Middle East Rally Championship (MERC). He won the Group N title, and the
United Arab Emirates Championship in the same year.
The following season, Sheikh Khalid added another three Group N wins to his record, enabling him to successfully defend his national title. However, the year ended on a sour note, an injury keeping him out of action for several months. On his return to competition in 2004, he won the MERC title in a Subaru Impreza WRX, winning two rallies in Bahrain and Syria. Between 2004 and 2006, Sheikh Khalid pursued his career in the MERC (runner-up in 2005 and third in 2006) whilst also competing in the P-WRC3
. He then began competing in the sport’s top flight category
with the Ford Abu Dhabi WRT in the second half of the 2007 season. He contested around forty rallies with the team, driving a Fiesta WRC. Fifth place at the 2011 Rally Australia remains his best result.
After taking a break from rallying in 2012, he was heavily involved in establishing the partnership between Abu Dhabi, Abu Dhabi Racing and Citroën Racing. The 2013, 2014 and 2015 seasons saw him compete in a number of WRC events and the MERC. He has finished as runner-up in the Middle East Rally Championship on three occasions.
Sheikh Khalid has been working with co-driver Chris Patterson since 2014. A co-driver for thirty or so years, the experienced Briton has worked with the likes of Petter Solberg and Kris Meeke.
After winning the 2015 Dubai Rally, Sheikh Khalid decided to take a break from competing in the MERC.
In 2016, he competed in four rounds of the WRC whilst also keeping a close eye on the performances of Kris Meeke, Craig Breen and Stéphane Lefebvre in the Abu Dhabi Total WRT.
As well as continuing to compete in cross-country rallying – he is set to contest the 2017 Dakar Rally in a 2008 DKR – Sheikh Khalid will be taking part in a selection of WRC events next year in the Citroën C3 WRC.

A FANTASTIC TECHNOLOGICAL LABORATORY

For the last 48 years, the partnership between Total and Citroën has been based on four solid and complementary foundations: R&D, manufacturing, sales & marketing and motorsport. From the brand’s production plants to Citroën Racing’s specialist workshops, the famous motto «Citroën prefers Total» sums
up this indestructible link!
From the end of the 1960s, the partnership extended into the world of motorsport. Proudly sporting Total’s colours, Citroën cars produced memorable performances in some of the period’s legendary races.
Lucien Bianchi came tantalizingly close to winning the London-Sydney marathon in 1968 but crashed near the finish when leading. Citroën-Total would have to wait until Bob Neyret won the 1969 Morocco Rally to claim its first competitive victory. The rest, as they say, is history with the fantastically successful periods in cross-country rallying with Vatanen and Lartigue, in the WRC with Bugalski, Sainz and Loeb and then in the WTCC with López, Muller, Loeb and Ma, not forgetting Total’s support for Citroën Racing’s promotional formulas.
Title partner of the Citroën Total Abu Dhabi World Rally Team in the WRC, Total enjoys unique exposure.
From the arctic cold of Sweden to the blazing heat of Australia, the thirteen-event calendar across four continents provides ample opportunity to make the most of the 360° partnership, reaching the group’s 100,000 employees, B2B customers and the general public.
Pushing yourself to and beyond the limit, team spirit and constantly striving for excellence: driven by these shared values, Total and Citroën are able to rely on solid foundations when taking on new challenges and can also look forward to celebrating half a century of working together in 2018!

ABU DHABI, THE HIGH-RISE CAPITAL OF UAE

Meaning ‘Land of the Gazelle’ in Arabic, Abu Dhabi was founded when a young antelope led a wandering tribe to fresh water, on an island with no more than 300 palm (‘barasti’) huts, a few coral buildings and the Ruler’s fort. This simple island settlement has since been transformed into the modern, cosmopolitan city of Abu Dhabi and the high-rise capital of the United Arab Emirates.
Abu Dhabi is the capital and the second most populous city in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and is also the largest of the UAE’s seven emirates. Abu Dhabi lies on a T-shaped island jutting into the Arabian Gulf from the central western coast. Abu Dhabi houses federal government offices, is the seat of the UAE Government and home to the Abu Dhabi Royal Family and the President of the UAE. Today, the city is the country’s centre of political and industrial activities, and a major cultural and commercial centre.
For a real taste of the UAE’s most adventurous off-road driving and some of its most incredible and dramatic scenery, including the biggest dunes this side of the Sahara, take a trip to Al Gharbia – the
emirate’s western region.
One and a half hour drive from Abu Dhabi city, Al Ain is one of the world’s oldest permanently inhabited settlements, and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The city abounds in picturesque forts. One of theUAE’s most historic buildings, Al Jahili Fort was erected in 1891 to defend the city and protect precious palm groves. It is home to a permanent exhibition of the work of British adventurer Sir Wilfred Thesiger and his crossings of the Rub Al Khali (The Empty Quarter) desert in the 1940s.
Abu Dhabi Racing is an Abu Dhabi-based company developing initiatives designed to bolster the emirate’s presence in global motorsport. The chairman, Sheikh Khalid bin Faisal Al Qassimi, is one of the UAE’s most experienced rally drivers and a multiple Middle East Rally champion.
In December 2012, Abu Dhabi Racing with Sheikh Khalid Al Qassimi have translated their passion and dedication to the sport into a very successful partnership with eight-time FIA World Rally Champions, the French manufacturer and factory team Citroën Racing.

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CITROËN AND MICHELIN: RALLYING’S FINEST ASSOCIATION

Citroën and Michelin share so much history together, on both the manufacturing and motorsport fronts.
Together, the two companies have claimed five FIA World Rally Championship titles and five FIA CrossCountry Rally World Cups.
For more than four decades, the destinies of Citroën and Michelin were closely entwined in the world of automotive production. The two entities were still associated as businesses when they secured their first WRC podium finish together, since Francisco Romaozhino’s Citroën DS21 was equipped with Michelin
XAS tyres on the 1973 TAP Rally de Portugal.
At the end of the 1980s, the two brands joined forces again to notch up four Dakar Rally victories, five Drivers’ and five Manufacturers’ Cross-Country Rally World Cups with the Citroën ZX Rallye-Raid.
After the French manufacturer returned to world rallying at the turn of the century, Citroën and Michelin claimed five Manufacturers’ titles together with the Xsara Kit-Car, the Xsara WRC and the DS 3 WRC.
With a total of 52 WRC victories on the Clermont-Ferrand firm’s tyres to date, Citroën is the carmaker with which Michelin has accumulated the highest number of individual event wins. Michelin is therefore unsurprisingly involved in the latest programme with the Citroën C3 WRC.

The Citroën/Michelin partnership in figures
5 Manufacturers’ titles and 4 Drivers’ titles in the WRC
5 Manufacturers’ titles and 5 Drivers’ titles in the Cross-Country Rally World Cup
4 Dakar Rally wins
52 WRC wins
128 WRC podium finishes

michelinmotorsport.com

2017 FIA WORLD RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP
Calendar
Dates Event Surface C3 WRCs entered
19-22 January Rallye Monte-Carlo Tarmac, snow and ice 2
9-12 February Rally Sweden Snow and ice 2
9-12 March Rally Mexico Gravel 2
6-9 April Tour de Corse Tarmac 3
27-30 April Rally Argentina Gravel 2
18-21 May Rally de Portugal Gravel 4
8-11 June Rally Italia Sardegna Gravel 3
29 June – 2 July Rally Poland Gravel 4
27-30 July Rally Finland Gravel 4
17-20 August ADAC Rallye Deutschland Tarmac 3
5-8 October RallyRACC – Rally de España Gravel and tarmac 4
26-29 October Wales Rally GB Gravel 4
16-19 November Rally Australia Gravel 4

Main changes in the 2017 WRC sporting regulations

A manufacturer may designate two or three cars per event, the top two scoring points towards the Manufacturers’ World Championship.
The running order of the P1 priority crews has been changed. On day one, the competitors start in the order of the World Championship standings (in the order of the final 2016 Championship standings on day one of Rallye Monte-Carlo). On subsequent days, the cars run in the reverse order of the standings at the end of the previous day.
Bonus points are now awarded to the top five in the Power Stage (5/4/3/2/1 points).Testing is now permitted throughout Europe, up to a limit of 55 days per year.

Other points worth noting…
A World Championship rally generally last six days in total. Tuesday and Wednesday are devoted to recce. The shakedown takes place on Thursday, a sort of dress rehearsal for the main event held before the ceremonial start. The race itself is invariably contested over three legs on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
Servicing is strictly forbidden outside of the service park. The driver and co-driver may however work on the car at any time (outside of parc ferme) with any tools and equipment carried in the vehicle. Duringservice, the mechanics are permitted to work on the cars when wearing an armband (four per car).
The crews have a quota of tyres available at each rally, limited by the event’s specific regulations. A car may carry a maximum of two spare tyres. Citroën uses Michelin tyres.
A crew that retires during one leg may rejoin the rally the following day (under «Rally2» rules), after being awarded a five-minute penalty for each stage missed.
At the end of each rally, points for the Drivers’ and Co-drivers’ World Championships are awarded to the top ten crews using the standard FIA scale: 25, 18, 15, 12, 10, 8, 6, 4, 2 and 1. For the
Manufacturers’ World Championship, points are awarded to the top two crews designated by each manufacturer.

Citroën Racing is dressed by El Ganso
Founded in Madrid ten years ago, El Ganso is a family business based on values such as hard work, perseverance and attention to detail. The character and personality of this youthful and innovative readyto-wear brand sits perfectly with the spirit of the Citroën Racing team. For major occasions – starting with the 2017 season presentation in Abu Dhabi – Citroën Racing’s management and crews will be dressed by El Ganso. elganso.com

VC3A5

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Media Citroën Total Abu Dhabi World Rally Team

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RRM ARGENTINA WRC 17 AÑOS

ESPAÑA SIRVE UN PLATO MIXTO DE TIERRA Y ASFALTO

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WRC A FULL 2017

ESPAÑA SIRVE UN PLATO MIXTO DE TIERRA Y ASFALTO.

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ESPAÑA SIRVE UN PLATO MIXTO DE TIERRA Y ASFALTO

Tras un largo descanso, el Campeonato del Mundo de Rallyes vuelve con la undécima prueba, en Cataluña. Los equipos del C3 WRC intentarán demostrar su potencial sobre tierra y asfalto. Kris Meeke/Paul Nagle, Stéphane Lefebvre/Gabin Moreau y Khalid Al Qassimi/Chris Patterson son los pilotos del Citroën Total Abu Dhabi WRT para este rally.

53º RallyRACC Catalunya-Costa Daurada – Rally de España (5-8 de octubre de 2017) – Previo

30 de septiembre de 2017

VUELTA AL COLEGIO PARA EL WRC
Este año, los equipos WRC tuvieron que esperar hasta final de agosto para tener un respiro. Después de las pruebas de Polonia, Finlandia y Alemania, el descanso de seis semanas ha sido muy bienvenido después de un verano muy ocupado. 
El campeonato, por tanto, vuelve a la acción en Cataluña, en una prueba que es especial en más de un sentido. Con sede en Salou, justo al lado del parque temático PortAventura, el Rally de España es la única prueba de superficie mixta del calendario WRC. 
El viernes, la primera etapa tendrá lugar principalmente en carreteras de tierra de montaña, aunque el largo tramo de Terra Alta incluye secciones sobre asfalto. Al final del primer día, los equipos tendrán una hora y cuarto para convertir sus coches a la configuración de asfalto. La asistencia más larga del año es siempre un poco especial, tanto para los mecánicos como para los aficionados. Las principales alteraciones que se hacen durante la asistencia incluyen el cambio de los sistemas de transmisión y suspensión y la reducción del nivel de protección de chasis.
Las dos últimas etapas se celebrarán sobre asfalto. La prueba catalana es famosa por sus carreteras amplias y suaves, tipo circuito. La eficiencia aerodinámica y la potencia del motor de los World Rally Car 2017 será algo digno de ver en esta superficie. Dado que recortar curvas es usual aquí, los pilotos tendrán que estar atentos para evitar golpear las rocas sueltas y sufrir un pinchazo.

EL RETO: SER RÁPIDO EN AMBAS SUPERFICIES

Dado que se celebra sobre dos superficies con requisitos radicalmente distintos, el Rally de España pone un gran énfasis en la versatilidad de los pilotos y sus coches. Para prepararse para esta prueba, el Citroën Total Abu Dhabi World Rally Team ha realizado tres días de test en Cataluña, solamente sobre tierra. Stéphane Lefebvre, Kris Meeke y Sébastien Loeb se turnaron al volante, consiguiendo unos reglajes que les iban bien a los tres. Sobre asfalto, el equipo aprovechará las cualidades del Citroën C3 WRC, que quedaron demostradas en el Tour de Córcega y en el Rally ADAC de Alemania. 
Este año marcará la décima participación de Kris Meeke en el RallyRACC Catalunya – Rally de España. Hasta la fecha, el británico no ha tenido mucho éxito en España. Sin embargo, tuvo un rally más positivo en 2016, que terminó con la sensación de haber encontrado el ritmo adecuado en esta prueba. Para dejar atrás sus últimas decepciones, el ganador del Rally de México de este año tendrá el objetivo de estar entre los líderes. 
Después de perderse las pruebas en Finlandia y Alemania, Stéphane Lefebvre vuelve a ponerse al volante del C3 WRC en España. Al contrario que su compañero, el joven francés tiene una experiencia limitada en la prueba, pero eso no le impedirá afrontar el reto. Basándose en su buena carrera en el Rally de Polonia – dónde acabó quinto en la general – aspirará a seguir aprendiendo sobre la competición en la élite del mundial de rallys.
Khalid Al Qassimi también celebrará su décima participación en España. Tras sus apariciones en Portugal y Finlandia, el piloto de Abu Dhabi seguirá con su programa parcial en uno de sus rallys favoritos. 
19 especiales cronometradas que hace un total de 312,02 km 
32 neumáticos Michelin por piloto en el rally. El viernes se podrá elegir entre el Latitude Cross H4 (compuesto duro) y S5 (blando). El sábado y domingo los equipos podrán elegir entre el Pilot Sport H5 (duro), S5 (blando) y FW3 (lluvia extrema). 
9 victorias para Citroën en España: 1 para Bugalski (1999 en el Xsara Kit-car) y 8 consecutivas para Loeb (2005-2006 en el Xsara WRC, 2007/2010 en el C4 WRC y 2011-2012 en el DS 3 WRC).

YVES MATTON, DIRECTOR DE CITROËN RACING

«En los últimos tres rallys de la temporada, nuestro objetivo ha sido tener buenos resultados después del podio conseguido en Alemania. En España, la situación es bastante específica en la primera etapa de tierra. Dependiendo de lo que pase con el tiempo, las posiciones de nuestros pilotos pueden ser una ventaja o un hándicap insuperable. Si conseguimos estar bien situados el viernes por la noche, entonces podremos aprovechar al máximo el potencial del C3 WRC sobre asfalto para seguir luchando delante. Durante los test que realizamos la semana pasada, probamos varios reglajes y algunos de ellos los utilizaremos el próximo fin de semana. Seguiremos trabajando duro para asumir el reto de competir con nuestros rivales.»

KRIS MEEKE 
«Hemos tenido una buena sesión de test y ha sido interesante trabajar con Seb [Loeb]. Siempre hay margen de mejora, pero creo que vamos por buen camino. Estoy deseando volver a la competición después de un Rally de Alemania frustrante y este largo descanso. Sin embargo, debo decir que es increíble que vaya a ser mi décima participación en Cataluña. Potencialmente, tenemos una buena posición de salida, pero eso dependerá de la cantidad de polvo y de si llueve. Para las últimas dos etapas, conocemos bien el nivel de rendimiento del C3 sobre asfalto. Lo principal es que quiero divertirme con el coche. Si lo hago, podemos aspirar a un buen resultado y eso será una buena noticia para todo el equipo.»
Número de apariciones en la prueba: 9
Mejor resultado: 5º (2011 y 2015)

STÉPHANE LEFEBVRE

«Estoy muy satisfecho de estar de vuelta al volante del Citroën C3 WRC. Han pasado tres meses desde que terminamos en quinto puesto en Polonia y tengo que encontrar el ritmo adecuado en unos tramos que son poco familiares para mí. Debemos tener en cuenta que soy sin duda el piloto menos experimentado en esa prueba. Estoy satisfecho de cómo fueron los test la semana pasada. Tuve la oportunidad de probar la nueva distribución de par por primera vez. Esta mejora se adapta a mi estilo de pilotaje muy bien y por tanto fue una experiencia positiva. Si las condiciones son favorables, intentaremos aprovechar al máximo nuestra posición de salida el primer día.»
Número de apariciones en la prueba: 2
Mejor resultado: 50º (2015)

KHALID AL QASSIMI

«Esta será mi décima participación en España. Esta prueba es una de mis favoritas del calendario WRC. Me encanta el reto que ofrece la ruta sobre superficie mixta y sobre todo el hecho de cambiar de tierra a asfalto durante un tramo te anima a rodar más rápido. Me gusta mucho el ambiente aquí; los aficionados son increíbles y la organización es absolutamente fantástica. Por eso me gusta volver a competir a Cataluña cada año. Intentaremos encontrar un buen ritmo dependiendo de las especiales, presionando cuando me sienta a gusto. Les deseo lo mejor a Kris y Stéphane.»
Número de apariciones en la prueba: 9
Mejor resultado: 7º (2010)

LA PREGUNTA TOTAL: ¿CUALES SON LAS RELACIONES ENTRE TOTAL Y CITROËN EN ESPAÑA?

Bernard Anselmi, Director Ejecutivo de Total España: «Total ha estado operando en España durante más de cincuenta años, lo que significa que hemos estado trabajando junto a Citroën desde el inicio de nuestra colaboración global. Hay fuertes lazos entre Total y Citroën en España, que se han reforzado por los éxitos en competición de pilotos españoles como Carlos Sainz y Dani Sordo. En los últimos años, el país ha pasado una crisis económica muy dura, que también ha afectado al sector de la automoción. La economía ha remontado últimamente y Total ha sido uno de los motores de esa recuperación. Para apoyar a los concesionarios de Citroën, tenemos una fuerza de ventas y equipos dedicados al apoyo y la formación en el campo de los productos del petróleo. También trabajamos junto con concesionarios, ofreciendo apoyo financiero para los que están interesados en invertir, especialmente en la renovación.»

VISIT ABU DHABI
CORNICHE

Corniche Road se extiende por unos impresionantes ocho kilómetros de costa. Corniche incluye zonas de juego para los niños, caminos para ciclistas y peatones, así como muchos cafés y restaurantes. Supervisado por un equipo de salvavidas cualificados, la playa de Corniche ha recibido la codiciada bandera azul, la etiqueta internacionalmente reconocida que garantiza agua limpia y segura para el baño.

RALLY DE ESPAÑA SCHEDULE (GMT+2)

JUEVES 5 DE OCTUBRE
8.00am: Shakedown – Salou (2.97km)
8.00pm: Ceremonia de salida (Salou)

VIERNES 6 DE OCTUBRE 
8.15am: Salida
9.53am: ES1 – Caseres 1 (12.50km)
10.21am: ES2 – Bot 1 (6.50km)
10.56am: ES3 – Terra Alta 1 (38.95km)
1.11pm: Asistencia A (PortAventura – 30 mins)
3.19pm: ES4 – Caseres 2 (12.50km)
3.47pm: ES5 – Bot 2 (6.50km)
4.22pm: ES6 – Terra Alta 2 (38.95km)
6.32pm: Flexi Asistencia B (PortAventura – 75 mins)

SÁBADO 7 DE OCTUBRE
6.45am: Asistencia C (PortAventura – 15 mins)
8.00am: ES7 – El Montmell 1 (24.40km)
9.07am: ES8 – El Pont d’Armentera 1 (21.29km)
9.54am: ES9 – Savalla 1 (14.12km)
11.35am: Asistencia D (PortAventura – 30 mins)
1.08pm: ES10 – El Montmell 2 (24.40km)
2.15pm: ES11 – El Pont d’Armentera 2 (21.29km)
3.02pm: ES12 – Savalla 2 (14.12km)
5.00pm: ES13 – Salou (2.24km)
5.30pm: Flexi Asistencia E (PortAventura – 45 mins)

DOMINGO 8 DE OCTUBRE
6.00am: Asistencia F (PortAventura – 15 mins)
7.00am: ES14 – L’Albiol 1 (6.28km)
7.38am: ES15 – Riudecanyes 1 (16.35km)
8.38am: ES16 – Santa Marina 1 (14.50km)
10.14am: ES17 – L’Albiol 2 (6.28km)
10.53am: ES18 – Riudecanyes 2 (16.35km)
12.18pm: ES19 – Santa Marina 2 – Power Stage (14.50km)
1.41pm: Asistencia G (PortAventura – 10 mins)
3.00pm: Podium (Salou)

FLASHBACK: RALLY DE ESPAÑA 1999
En su primera aparición de la temporada en el Campeonato del Mundo, los Citroën Xsara Kit-Cars se mostraron en gran forma. En las carreteras estilo circuito del rally, el poco peso y su ágil motor de dos litros hacían que pudiera competir con los World Rally Car de tracción a las cuatro ruedas y motor turbo. En la primera especial del rally, Jesús Puras se hizo con el liderato. El piloto español de Citroën consiguió una pequeña ventaja, mientras el fallecido Philippe Bugalski luchaba con Sainz, Auriol, Mäkinen y McRae por el segundo puesto. Pero las esperanzas de Puras de una victoria en casa se evaporaban al comienzo del segundo día cuando un problema mecánico le obligaba a retirarse. ‘Bug’ subía a la primera posición y ampliaba su ventaja sobre Auriol. Conseguía así la primera victoria de Citroën en el WRC.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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RRM ARGENTINA WRC 17 AÑOS

CRC RETURNS TO LIUPANSHUI 10 YEARS LATER – FAW- VW TEAM WINS THE CHAMPIONSHIP ONCE AGAIN

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CRC A FULL 2017

CRC RETURNS TO LIUPANSHUI 10 YEARS LATER – FAW- VW TEAM WINS THE CHAMPIONSHIP ONCE AGAIN.

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30 Sept 2017

CRC六盘水十年回归 一汽-大众再夺魁

CRC returns to Liupanshui 10 years later – FAW-VW team wins the championship once again

9月25-27日,2017赛季中国汽车拉力锦标赛(CRC)六盘水站比赛在水城莽莽大山中举行。一汽-大众车队再次夺得全场冠军和厂商杯冠军。

On September 25-27, the race of the 2017 China Rally Championship (CRC) Liupanshui leg was held on steep, winding mountain roads in Shuicheng County, Liupanshui Prefecture, Guizhou Province. FAW-VW team won the Overall Racer Championship and the Manufacturer’s Cup Championship once again.

本站比赛一汽-大众车队派出4辆高7赛车,车手分别为外援马克•希金斯、首席车手陈德安、老将李国进以及小将林德伟。

At the Liupanshui leg, FAW-VW team dispatched 4 Golf 7 racing cars, which were drove by famous international racer Mark Higgins, the team’s chief racer Dean Chen, senior racer Li Guojin and new racer Lin Dewei, respectively.

一汽-大众车队夺得全场车手冠军以及厂商杯冠军

FAW-VW team wins the Overall Racer Championship and the Manufacturer’s Cup Championship

六盘水站险峻的盘山赛道

The steep, winding mountain race track of the Liupanshui leg

本次比赛共有四条赛道、9个赛段,全程约678.66公里,计时赛段173.74公里。除超级短道赛外,所有比赛路段均为柏油路面盘山公路,路况险峻、天气时常有雨雾,堆车手有很大影响。

The overall race track of the Liupanshui leg consists of a total of 4 tracks, which are divided into 9 stages. The overall race track of the leg is 678.66 km long in total, of which the timekeeping stage is 173.74 km long. Except super short tracks, all the tracks are winding mountain roads with asphalt pavement. The roads are steep and dangerous, and the weather was often rainy and fogy. All these had great impact on the performance of the racers.

飞驰过转角的赛车,挟着引擎的轰鸣声,刺激着观赛者的肾上腺

Racing cars speeding to turn corners as well as the roars of their engines stimulate spectators

争分夺秒为赛车调校以确保其最佳状态的技师们堪称伟大的幕后英雄

Technicians racing against the clock to adjust and check the racing cars to ensure the cars in their best conditions are really great heroes behind the curtain

本站比赛首日,一汽-大众车队选择保护赛车为主的跑法,例如在过桥时均采取了减速正常通过的方式。最终,四位车手以分列全场车手第二至五名的名次结束首日赛程。

In the first day’s race at the leg, the four racers of FAW-VW team tried to take measures to protect their racing cars from being damaged. For example, when they crossed a bridge, they slowed down the speed of their cars as normal drivers do in their daily drives. In the end, the four racers finished at second to fifth places among all racers in the first day’s race, respectively.

次日比赛一开场,马克•希金斯便以25秒的巨大优势反超至全场车手首位,随后,马克每个赛段都要比第二名阿特金森快上几秒,最终获得了全场总冠军,并赢得厂商杯冠军。陈德安与林德伟遭遇机械故障退赛。李国进顺利完赛获得国内车手第三位。

In the first stage of the race on the next day, Mark Higgins won first place among all racers with a score of 25 seconds. In each of subsequent stages, he always ran a few seconds faster than second-place holder Atkinson. Ultimately, he won the Overall Racer Championship and the Manufacturer’s Cup Championship. Due to the mechanical failures of their racing cars, Dean Chen and Lin Dewei withdrew from the race. Li Guojin successfully finished the race and won third place among domestic racers.

据悉,CRC下一站将在贵州三都举行,一汽-大众车队已开始积极备战。赛事已进入高潮,让我们共同期待一汽-大众车队余下几站比赛的精彩表现!

It was reported that the next leg race of CRC will be held in Sandu, Guizhou Province. FAW-VW team has begun to actively prepare for the next leg race. The event has entered the climax. Let’s look forward to the wonderful performance of FAW-VW team at the rest legs!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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RRM ARGENTINA WRC 17 AÑOS

HYUNDAI MOTORSPORT SEEKS RETURN TO FORM IN RALLY DE ESPAÑA

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WRC A FULL 2017

HYUNDAI MOTORSPORT SEEKS RETURN TO FORM IN RALLY DE ESPAÑA.

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Hyundai Motorsport seeks return to form in Rally de España

Following two disappointing rallies, Hyundai Motorsport aims to bounce back in style at the season’s only mixed surface event, Rally de España
The team is fielding a revised three-car line-up with Thierry Neuville and Dani Sordo joined by Norwegian Andreas Mikkelsen
All three crews will be targeting the top positions in an event where Hyundai Motorsport has previously taken three individual podium results.

Rally de España Preview

29 September 2017

Alzenau, Germany

September 29, 2017 – Hyundai Motorsport aims to get its 2017 FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) hopes back on track with a three-car entry into Rally de España, the 11th round of the 13-event season, next week.

The team will field a new crew line-up for this mixed surface event with Drivers’ Championship contender Thierry Neuville and home hero Dani Sordo joined by Norwegian Andreas Mikkelsen in his first WRC event with Hyundai Motorsport.

Getting back into the mix

Spain’s composition of gravel and tarmac roads offers a unique challenge for drivers and teams alike. The rally gets underway on Thursday evening with a ceremonial start at Salou before the opening gravel stages begin on Friday morning. The itinerary for the first day will be familiar to crews from last year’s rally. The highlight will be the 38.95km Terra Alta stage, which includes occasional tarmac sections, and requires careful tyre choice and due diligence from inside the cockpit.

The mechanics have the biggest workload on Friday evening as they transform the Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC cars from gravel to tarmac spec – all in the tight timeframe of a 75-minute service. Saturday’s schedule includes new stages and old before a final gruelling push on Sunday covering six stages without the luxury of service.

Rested and tested

Following two disappointing events in Finland and Germany, Hyundai Motorsport wants to re-position itself at the forefront of the WRC with a strong performance in Spain. The team has historically performed well at the event, having taken a third-place finish in 2015 and a double podium (second and third) in 2016.

In preparation for this year’s Spanish campaign, the team carried out two test sessions in September with all three crews on tarmac and gravel. An upgraded aerodynamic package – which includes a new front bumper and rear wing – will be used in an effort for Hyundai Motorsport to fight at the front of the competitive WRC field once again.

Team Principal Michel Nandan said: “We have had a long summer break but we have used the time wisely to try and turn around our recent misfortunes. Finland and Germany were both frustrating, and saw us lose ground in the championship. From Spain, and in the final rounds of the season, we are determined to do all we can to catch up. We welcome Andreas and Anders into the team from Spain, an event they won memorably in 2015, alongside Thierry and Dani, who have both had podiums at this rally. For Dani, it will be extra special, as his home event, so we are in optimistic and hopeful mood. With an upgraded Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC, our primary target is to get back onto the podium.”

Crew Notes: Mikkelsen/Jæger (#4 Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC)

Mikkelsen and co-driver Anders Jæger have spent valuable time since their announcement as a Hyundai Motorsport crew visiting the team’s factory in Alzenau and testing the Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC. As a former winner of Rally de España, Mikkelsen is hopeful of positioning himself immediately in the thick of the action.

Mikkelsen said: “I am really pleased to be making my debut as a Hyundai Motorsport driver. Since the announcement, Anders and I have had the opportunity to test the car on both tarmac and gravel; I have been very impressed with what we’ve experienced. The car has already shown itself to be versatile, and there’s nowhere better than Spain to showcase those characteristics. It’s a special rally for me, as I took my first win in Spain in 2015, so it has fantastic memories. The changes in surface can be demanding, particularly with the quick switch from gravel to tarmac. It is a challenging, but highly enjoyable event, and I hope to be able to fight at the front in my first WRC event with the team.”

Crew Notes: Neuville/Gilsoul (#5 Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC)

Belgians Neuville and co-driver Nicolas Gilsoul have it all to play for in the final three rounds of the season. Spanish podium finishers twelve months ago, the crew will want to recreate the sort of form that saw them win three rallies in Corsica, Argentina and Poland. Neuville has a 17-point deficit in the drivers’ championship to Sébastien Ogier, and a 16-point buffer to third-placed Ott Tanak.

Neuville said: “Entering this crucial part of the season for the championship, we must stay focused and look to target the podium, if not victory, in all rounds. Things are delicately positioned in the Drivers’ Championship between Ogier, myself and Tanak, so anything can still happen. Spain is going to be a huge challenge, as it always is with the change of surface. It is a rally that all crews enjoy, with a good atmosphere and, usually, great weather. We are rested after the long break and determined to put in our strongest fight for the title.”

Crew Notes: Sordo/Martí (#6 Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC)

For Sordo and co-driver Marc Martí, Rally de España is full of emotion as their home event. They already have two third-place results to their name in 2017, as well as twice finishing on the podium in Spain for Hyundai Motorsport, in 2015 and again in 2016. A hat trick will be their target next weekend.

Sordo said: “It is always a pleasure to return to Spain for my home rally, and to have the chance to compete in front of so many enthusiastic supporters. We definitely want to give them something to cheer. I think our road position will be beneficial on the opening gravel stages on Friday. We then move onto tarmac for the final two days, where we push to secure our third podium of the season – and our third in a row in Catalunya for Hyundai Motorsport. That’s the aim.”

Rally de España at a glance

The mixed surface Spanish event covers 19 timed stages over a total distance of 312.02km.

A shakedown and ceremonial start are held in Salou on Thursday before teams return to the PortAventura service park ahead of Friday’s gravel stages. The mixed surface Terra Alta on Friday represents the longest individual stage of the weekend at 38.95km.

Following Friday evening’s 75-minute service, cars adopt a tarmac-spec for the remainder of the event – covering seven stages on Saturday and six stages without service on Sunday.

Rally de España culminates with the 14.50km Santa Marina Power Stage, which has not been used since 2012, prior to Hyundai Motorsport joining the WRC.

– Ends –

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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