A one-two and new records for Citroën
The Citroën Total World Rally Team clinched its third one-two of the season in the last leg of Rally Germany. Sébastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia scored their first win on tarmac in front of Sébastien Loeb and Daniel Elena. Citroën racked up its 78th success in the FIA World Rally Championship becoming the manufacturer with the highest number of wins in the sport. The DS3 WRC’s eighth victory beats its own record of consecutive wins.
As on Friday, the stages on the third day were laid out on the roads in the vineyards bordering the Moselle. And as on Friday, thick clouds filled the sky just as the crews left the parc fermé in Trier. Météo France said there would be rain in the stages so the Citroën Racing mechanics changed the suspension settings and fitted Michelin Pilot Sport soft tyres on the two works DS3 WRCs.
In the first stage, Dhrontal, there were only a few damp spots. The Citroën Total World Rally Team crews did not take risks and consolidated their lead over their rivals losing a few seconds in the process. The next stage, Moselwein, was completely soaked. The choice of soft tyres enabled the two Sébastiens to avoid all the traps in this sector.
“We made the right choice this morning,” said Ogier when he came back to the service park. “I stayed in the middle of the road and did not cut the apexes to avoid punctures. We’re nursing our lead while trying to stay concentrated.”
“No worries. I’m just happy to drive,” added Loeb. “As it looks like the rain’s going to continue we’re going to keep the soft rubber for the second loop and the power stage.” Loeb set the quickest time in stages 17 and 18 and was concentrating all his attention on the final stage that awards bonus points. The seven-time world champion really went for it in the streets of Trier and bagged three additional points by setting the quickest time while Ogier added two to his tally.
I have to say that there was no way that victory in this rally was a foregone conclusion as I was up against Seb [Loeb].
“I have to say that there was no way that victory in this rally was a foregone conclusion as I was up against Seb who has never lost in Germany and is always very quick on tarmac. I’m absolutely delighted with this win as we’ve proved that we’re quick on this surface. It’s boosted our motivation for the end of the championship. I’m not perhaps in the best position but I’ll fight as long as I’ve still got a chance,” commented Ogier.
“After my eight wins in Germany on the trot, there’s no way I can be pleased with second place,” frowned Loeb. “I’ve been saying for the past few years that this series would come to an end – and it has! We were unlucky but that’s racing. Mathematically speaking my second place and the points from the power stage mean that we still have a victory in hand.”
“In addition to this double, which is an excellent result, I’m satisfied that Citroën remains unbeaten in Rally Germany,” summed up Jean-Marc Gales, the PSA Group Brands manager. “In addition, we’ve beaten two records as it’s our eighth consecutive win this season and the seventy-eight success by Citroën in the WRC. We’re getting closer to the two world titles.”