Citroen and Sebastien Loeb set to discover Ireland Rally Ireland has welcomed the announcement today that Sebastien Loeb and Daniel Elena are to contest the 36th Donegal Rally in a Citroen C4 WRC. Their participation in the Irish event will form...
Citroen and Sebastien Loeb set to discover Ireland
Rally Ireland has welcomed the announcement today that Sebastien Loeb and Daniel Elena are to contest the 36th Donegal Rally in a Citroen C4 WRC. Their participation in the Irish event will form part of the team's build-up to Rally Ireland (November 15-18) which will figure in the World Rally Championship calendar for the first time this year.
Rally Ireland Co-Promoter Ronan Morgan said: "The profile of rallying in Ireland is building with the top talent making plans for our entry into the World Championship this year by competing on Irish events. It's an indication, not only of the challenges they believe Rally Ireland has in store, but of the importance of the event in terms of the outcome of the Championship.
The fifth round of the 2007 Irish Championship is based in the Donegal region in the north of the island. The event's principal facilities will be based in Letterkenny and the format features three legs divided into twenty two special stages in the Glenveigh National Park.
"The Irish stages are very specific and we wanted to get a feel for what we can expect when we return in November," says Citroen Sport boss Guy Frequelin. "Entering Sebastien Loeb and Daniel Elena in a C4 WRC is the best way of evaluating the special challenges involved. Although the Donegal Rally's route is only some 100km from the heart of the rally's action, it doesn't share any stages with the WRC qualifier which is based further to the south. Even so, the bumpy, narrow profile of the stages and the type of asphalt will give us some useful pointers to help optimise our preparations for the championship's penultimate round. Depending on where we stand at the time in the Drivers' and Manufacturers' standings, it might be important to score a top result and our trip to Donegal is intended to give us every chance of doing that."
Citroen Sport's Technical Manager Xavier Mestelan-Pinon shares Guy Frequelin's view. "It will be interesting to see how the Citroen C4 performs on what are reported to be extremely fast but not very wide stages. Although the Donegal Rally is by no means a carbon copy of Rally Ireland, there will be some useful information to pick up on the technical front."
Sebastian Loeb, meanwhile is one hundred percent behind the project. "Citroen Sport's idea to enter us for this event with the C4 WRC is excellent," commented the reigning World Champion. "It will be important to compete on it to gain experience with the car on this type of terrain which is quite unique. Despite Citroen's experience of ashphalt competition, it seems that the Irish roads have characteristics that we have never previously come across elsewhere. Contesting the Donegal Rally will enable us to obtain a more accurate picture of what awaits us and perhaps even determine a specific set-up..."