Rally de Portugal
Van Merksteijn joins Solberg and Raikkonen
For the first time, five Citroen DS3 WRCs will compete in a round of the World Rally Championship. Petter Solberg, Kimi Raikkonen and Peter van Merksteijn Jr are racing under their own colours in Rally Portugal in cars that are identical to those run by the Citroen Total World Rally Team. These have been put at their disposal by Citroen Racing Technologies.
For several seasons, Citroen Racing has been developing its activities in the World Rally Championship through Citroen Racing Technologies. This back-up programme for privateers at the top level is continuing in 2011 with the Citroen DS3 WRC.
"The changes in the regulations have forced all the drivers to enter the latest generation WRCs," says Benoit Nogier, the Citroen Racing Technologies director. "Citroen Racing has decided to provide Citroen DS3 WRCs for privateers. These cars have the same specification as the works cars and comply with the same homologation sheet."
Petter Solberg and Kimi Raikkonen began their season in the World Rally Championship in Sweden. The Norwegian finished fifth (with three fastest times) and the Finn scored the points that went with eighth place.
In Mexico, Solberg just missed out on a podium finish (five fastest times) after leading the rally in the early stages.
In the third round of the championship in Portugal, Petter Solberg, Kimi Raikkonen and Peter van Merksteijn Jr all have very different aims in their Citroen DS3 WRCs.
Petter Solberg (Petter Solberg World Rally Team): "I always enjoy rallying in Portugal. The event is both quick and very technical and suits me good. We learned a lot about the car on gravel in Mexico, and also learned a lot during our test day here in Portugal. As usual, I want to finish on the podium, and I know we have the speed to do so. Crossing my fingers for a problem free rally."
Kimi Raikkonen (Ice 1 Racing): "We made a good start to the championship in the Swedish Rally. We were closer to the leaders than last year. But we're still learning. Since then we've taken part in a test day to get to grips with the car on gravel. It feels good and I can't wait to be at the start of the Portuguese Rally."
Peter van Merksteijn Junior (Van Merksteijn Motorsport): "I was able to get used to the car in a two-day test. We ran through a wide range of setups. The DS3 WRC is a bit like a kart as it reacts immediately to the slightest input from the driver. The car really made a big impression on me as did the team, which is very professional. I'm really looking forward to tackling my first rally of the season."