Citroen Return after Year-Long Sabbatical Fails to Impress

Citroen’s return to the World Rally Championship fails to ignite as the French manufacturer finishes fourth.

There’s something to be said about preparation. When one mentally visualises plans and executes what they set out to do, the results can be marvellous. Conversely, when one takes too much time out in the name of preparation, the situation can breed adverse results as the state of things can stagnate like muddy pond water.

GEPA-12111198007 - CARDIFF,WALES,12.NOV.11 - MOTORSPORT, RALLY - WRC, Wales Rally Great Britain. Image shows Sebastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia (FRA/ Citroen). Photo: GEPA pictures/ Daniel Roeseler - For editorial use only. Image is free of cha
GEPA-12111198007 – CARDIFF,WALES,12.NOV.11 – MOTORSPORT, RALLY – WRC, Wales Rally Great Britain. Image shows Sebastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia (FRA/ Citroen). Photo: GEPA pictures/ Daniel Roeseler – For editorial use only. Image is free of cha

While it’s certainly too much of a speculation to claim that this is exactly what happened to Citroen during their 2017 return to the WRC in Mexico, it is rather remarkable that a team could fall so low with such a performance-driven mantra. The team failed to get traction in Monte Carlo and Sweden with Kris Meeke crashing the car in Sweden – but Citroen’s Technical Director Laurent Fregosi is convinced that their third time will be the charm:

“The situation will be different in Mexico, because the C3 WRC has done most of its running on gravel. For this, the season’s opening gravel rally, we think and hope that we will enjoy better performance.” – Laurent Fregosi

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While the similar racing conditions will certainly be a boon, it’s hard to believe that a team that took so much time out of the sport could make a return that lacks such fundamental preparation. While no one is pointing fingers, the result seems to be attributed to a combination of driver preparation and development decisions. Team Principal Yves Matton says that plenty has been learned thus far, and that all that’s left is to implement and improve:

“We questioned certain principles of the set-up and that helped us to identify the areas in which we can improve. We are striving for a good performance level in Mexico.” – Yves Matton

Let’s hope that they manage to do their homework this time around.