CitroÃ«n's philosophy in terms of sport. In parallel with the renewal of its car models and style, as well as the continual improvement of its technology, CitroÃ«n wished to be involved in motorsport, in order to widen the scope for proving its...
Citroën's philosophy in terms of sport.
In parallel with the renewal of its car models and style, as well as the continual improvement of its technology, Citroën wished to be involved in motorsport, in order to widen the scope for proving its capabilities.
There were plenty of good arguments for becoming involved in motorsport, however, the most suitable area of the sport had to be chosen. Formula One brings prestige, but the cars used are quite unlike those driven by « the ordinary man ».
Rally satisfies all the main criteria : it is a popular sport, close to the public in both the real and the figurative sense, it has a worldwide reach, is technologically advanced, dynamic and thrilling.
Moreover, the production model of the Xsara, used as the basis of the Xsara World Rally Car (WRC), is widely distributed throughout the world.
The Brand's policy in terms of sport is organised along a simple and natural hierarchy. Citroën Sport gives everyone the possibility of becoming involved in motorsport through its promotion formulae, thanks to suitable products, in terms of driving and ease of access but also in terms of cost.
Sébastien Loeb is a fine example of this policy. This young driver started competing in the Citroën promotion categories, where he was fighting on equal terms with other competitors, before climbing gradually up the ranks.
Thanks to his good results, Guy Fréquelin placed his confidence in him on a number of occasions : first of all in the French Championship (with a Xsara kit car) then in the Junior World Championship (with the Saxo Super 1600) and finally in the World Championship (with the Xsara WRC).
Sébastien is both the example and the flag bearer of Citroën's motorsport policy, and also confirms the interest that the Manufacturer shows in the Champions of tomorrow.
Thanks to the FIA regulations, which allow for a gradual entry into the Championship, Citroën opted for a three-stage campaign.
In 2001, the Chevron brand started off by taking part in just four events (Catalunya, Acropolis, Sanremo and Corsica).
In 2002, eight rounds were on the programme (Monte Carlo, Sweden, Catalunya, Acropolis, Safari, Germany, Finland and Great Britain) before 2003 heralded the full arrival of Citroën in the World Championship.
At the start of the 2003 season, in Monaco, Guy Fréquelin had set a number of objectives : to win at least three events, and to finish in the top two in one of the two Championship classifications.
All his team proved that it could react quickly in the most crucial moments, and showed that the Xsara WRC could be competitive on all types of terrain.
The results of rallies such as those in Greece and Cyprus, where the Xsaras showed themselves to be the most reliable, or in events such as Australia and Great Britain, where they were fighting on equal terms with the best of the field, are an excellent indicator of the work that has been accomplished.
Citroën drew benefit from the immense experience of Colin McRae and Carlos Sainz, allied with the youth and talent of Sébastien Loeb.
This line-up combined everyone's strengths, and allowed the team to improve rapidly over a very short period of time.
Moreover, the relationship between the drivers was extremely good. They grew closer throughout the season, and worked together towards the same goal, whilst retaining a healthy sporting rivalry.
After the Rally of Great Britain 2002, Colin McRae sat behind the wheel of the Xsara for the first time, and gave the engineers a number of indications concerning work that should be done, indications which were confirmed by Carlos Sainz when he joined the team. From that point, the team got down to the task ahead with passion and determination.
The result of this work is that, in less than a year, Citroën and the Xsara have claimed 4 wins (Monte Carlo, Turkey, Germany, Sanremo) 13 podiums and the World Championship.
The 2004 line-ups
Returning to a system where only two cars can score points towards the Manufacturers' Championship, Citroen decided to entrust their cars to Sébastien Loeb and Daniel Elena as well as to Carlos Sainz and Marc Marti.
For his first full season in the WRC, Sébastien finished in second place in the Drivers' Championship, just one point behind the winner. He took three wins with the Xsara WRC.
Sébastien Loeb will continue his collaboration with Citroën in 2004 and 2005.
Carlos Sainz finished in third place in the Drivers' Championship. His immense experience of the World Championship and his determination enabled him to score valuable points towards the title.
Client Competition Service and National Championships in 2003
In 2003, approximately three hundred Saxo cars were entered in various competitions around Europe.
Once more, Citroën claimed a large number of victories in national European Championships, both with Saxo and Xsara cars.
In France, motorsport enthusiasts took part in four different promotion categories : the Saxo Rally Challenge, the Saxo T4 Trophy, the Saxo Super 1600 Trophy and the Saxo Rallycross Challenge.
For the fourteenth time, a Citroën car finishes first of the French Rallycross Championship with Laurent Terroitin on a Xsara WRC type.
In Germany, Reiner Jöstes finished in 3rd place in the Super 1600 Championship, with a Saxo entered by the subsidiary.
In Belgium, Olivier Collard finished second in the Super 1600 Championship, also in a dealer-supported Saxo.
In Croatia, Marko Lovak won the Group N Championship and finished second in the Drivers classification ona Xsara Vts Groupe N.
In Spain, Citroën won the Manufacturers' Championship, with Miguel Fuster claiming the Drivers' Championship on a Saxo kit car.
Robert Butor won the Hungarian Championship with a Saxo kit car.
In Portugal, Citroën claimed the Manufacturers' Championship with Armindo Araujo, 1st in the Drivers classification.
In Turkey, Ercan Kazaz finished second in the Super 1600 Championship of Turkey, with his Saxo Super 1600 entered by the importer, Baylass.
And finally, for the eleventh time, Kenneth Hansen won the European Rallycross Championship, with a Xsara WRC type.
2004 : THE ARRIVAL OF THE C2
For 2004, the main change will be the arrival of the C2 !
After eight years, two world championship titles and five national titles in various categories, the Saxo is handing over to the sparkling new C2.
The C2 should receive FIA Group A homologation on March 1st 2004.
The C2 GT, a limited series of 2500 cars for the British market only, is the model which has been retained for purposes of the sporting homologation of C2 super 1600 and C2 challenge.
This version, a derivation of the C2 1.6 vtr, has a number of evolutions, mainly in terms of its style.
However, within this limited series, 250 left-hand drive cars will be produced, which will be reserved for the various Subsidiary and Importer competition programmes.
The C2 super 1600 kit will be available from March 1st 2004. It will include all of the competition part necessary to put together a 'ready to race' car in either asphalt or gravel configuration.
The cost of the C2 super 1600 kit will be in lines with the FIA regulations applicable at the time when the car is placed on the market, on March 1st.
Client Competition Programme for 2004.
A C2 Super 1600 will be entered by the Piedrafita team in the Spanish Rally Championship.
As well as this entry, Citroën Spain will also provide technical support for three C2 super 1600 cars.
In Hungary, Ph Sport will continue its collaboration with Citroën Hungary in the National Championship, and will prepare a C2 super 1600 for the team of Robert Butor and Vilmos Toth.
Supported by Citroën Italy, Luca Rossetti will drive a C2 super 1600 prepared by Vieffecorse. Daniele de Luis will be his co-driver.
As well as organising a C2 Rally Challenge in Portugal, the subsidiary will enter an official C2 super 1600 in the Championship. It will be entrusted to Armindo Araujo and Miguel Ramalho.
In Switzerland, Grégoire Hotz will take part in the Rally Championship with a C2 super 1600. This programme should be sponsored by Citroën Switzerland.
In Slovenia, a C2 Challenge will be entered in the Rally Championship by the Target Motorsport team.
David Grondin will drive a C2 super 1600 with the support of the Foucque company in the Reunion Islands. A C2 rally Challenge will be organised there, as well as in Guadeloupe and Martinique.
188.8.131.52 In France, Citroën will enter two C2 super 1600 in the Rally Championship, the preparation and running of which will be in the hands of a team, the name of which will be confirmed at a later date.
The crews chosen to take up this new challenge with the C2 super 1600 cars will be Patrick Henry - Jean-Paul Chiaroni and Yoann Bonato - Benjamin Boulloud.
Patrick and Yoann are perfect representatives of Citroën's sporting philosophy. They are young, and have both come up through the promotion categories.
Patrick is a Citroën regular. This year, he once more dominated the Rally Challenge, and also shone on gravel in the Saxo T4 Trophy. He will be co- driven by the extremely experienced Jean-Paul Chiaroni.
Only twenty years old, Yoann proved to be a choice rival for Patrick, during his second year in the Saxo Challenge. In order to complete his apprenticeship, he also took part in the T4 Trophy, already co-driven by Benjamin Boulloud.
Finally, Citroën will lend its support to the winner of the Saxo T4 Trophy, Guerlain Chicherit, who will take part in the Junior WRC Championship.
CITROËN SPORT : a complete organisation
It is important to underline the fact that Citroën has chosen to develop its car, chassis and engine completely in-house, to make the most of its technical know-how and its competition experience.
From its conception of the Xsara WRC to the implementation, from the moment of putting pen to paper until the very first roll-out, Citroën Sport is the only of the teams entered in the WRC to coordinate such an effort, including the development and manufacture of the engine. This A to Z follow- through ensures a better global management, at all stages of the manufacturing process.
Today, Citroën Sport is a competitive and motivated group of 239 people, who are now ready to face the extremely tough sporting seasons ahead of them.
165 people work in the « WRC » department, (including the engine department) with a further 19 people working in the Client Competition area.
To face the coming challenge, the main focus is on the greatest possible variety in terms of human resources. Placed together, this translates into a radical set-up around three management positions, directed respectively by Jean-Claude Vaucard, in charge of the Technical side, François Chatriot in charge of the Sporting side and Jean-Yves Chabaille who organizes the general secretariat (human resources, management, purchasing, organization services and information systems).