Citroën Racing presented details of its 2014 sporting programmes today at its technical centre in Versailles.
With 93 wins and eight Manufacturers’ World Championship titles, Citroën Racing has the best competitive record among the teams currently competing in the WRC. This impressive heritage continues with Citroën Total Abu Dhabi World Rally Team’s entry in the championship in 2014.
First seen in 2011, when the new regulations were introduced, the Citroën DS3 WRC will be contesting its fourth racing season. After winning three rallies this year in Monte-Carlo, Argentina and Germany, the DS3 WRC remains very quick on all road surfaces, even when up against more recent models.
The big changes for 2014 concern the teams nominated to score points towards the Manufacturers’ World Championship standings. Having competed in a DS3 WRC on two occasions last year, Kris Meeke prepares to tackle his first full season in the World Championship. The 34 year-old Northern Irishman has been part of the Citroën Racing family for a long time, since he competed in the 2005 and 2006 J-WRC in a C2 Super 1600. IRC Champion in 2009, Kris has only taken part in around ten rounds of the WRC in World Rally Cars, but he is extremely motivated to make the most of this opportunity.
A WRC regular since he was 19, Mads Østberg is actually more experienced than his new team-mate. The 26 year-old Norwegian has already competed in 65 rallies, including six podium-finishes and one win (Portugal 2012). For his fourth full season, Mads has opted to challenge himself by joining a team that in the past he has often tried to beat! A naturally aggressive driver, Mads Østberg is counting on combining his turn of speed with Citroën Racing’s expertise as he goes in search of that winning feeling again.
Competing predominantly in the Middle East Rally Championship in a Citroën DS3 RRC, Khalid Al Qassimi will also be taking part in a selection of WRC events. The Abu Dhabi driver will line up in Sweden, Portugal, Italy and Spain.
Yves Matton, Citroën Racing Team Principal: “Thanks to the support of our partners, especially Total and Abu Dhabi Racing, we are pleased to be able to continue Citroën Racing’s involvement in WRC. The team has the expertise and experience that will help our crews to establish themselves among the leading drivers in the Championship. Kris and Mads both have quite a bit to learn, in different areas. Our aim is to help them reach a level where they will be able to make a real impact and win rallies.”
KRIS MEEKE88 (GBR)
Born on 2 July, 1979
Co-driver: Paul Nagle (IRL)
First WRC rally: 2002 Wales GB Rally
WRC races: 40
Best finish in the WRC drivers’ championship: 11th in 2011
MADS ØSTBERG (NOR)
Born on 11 October, 1987
Co-driver: Jonas Andersson (SWE)
First WRC rally: 2006 Rally Sweden
WRC races: 65
Best finish in the WRC drivers’ championship: 4th in 2012
KHALID AL QASSIMI (UAE)
Born on 18 February, 1972
Co-driver: Chris Patterson (GBR)
First WRC rally: 2004 Acropolis Rally
WRC races: 52
Best finish in the WRC drivers’ championship: 12th in 2009 and 2010
From the DS3 R1 to the DS3 WRC, Citroën Racing offers a genuine development programme with a progressive and consistent range of rally customer racing products. At national level, the Citroën Racing Trophy (DS3 R3) and Junior Citroën Racing Trophy (DS3 R1) promote access to the world of racing and help to find talented young drivers. In 2014, seven European countries will be running a national Trophy. In the Middle East, five Emirati drivers, selected by Citroën Racing and Abu Dhabi Racing, will be taking part in a programme next year in DS3 R3s.
At the next level up, the Citroën Top Driver series runs at six rounds of the WRC3. In their DS3 R3s, the best talented young drivers attempt to win the chance to compete in the WRC2 in a Citroën DS3 R5 the following season.
Two drivers will be taking particular advantage of the Citroën Racing driver development programme in 2014. Winner of the Junior Citroën Racing Trophy, Frédéric Hauswald will be competing in the Citroën Racing Trophy in a DS3 R3 prepared by the Henri Laurens high school in Saint-Vallier. After winning this year’s Citroën Top Driver championship, Sébastien Chardonnet will be competing in six rounds of the WRC2 championship in a DS3 R5.