BRC

Ulster: Citroen preview

Sebastien Ogier replaces Simon Jean-Joseph in the Citroen C2-R2 MAX During his holidays in Martinique, Simon Jean-Joseph unfortunately fell victim to a boating accident. He sustained facial injuries and underwent an operation locally followed by...

Sebastien Ogier replaces Simon Jean-Joseph in the Citroen C2-R2 MAX

During his holidays in Martinique, Simon Jean-Joseph unfortunately fell victim to a boating accident. He sustained facial injuries and underwent an operation locally followed by a second operation in France. He is now recovering but will not be able to drive a rally car for a few weeks which means that he is unable to start the Ulster Rally: the sixth round of his planned European programme in the Citroen C2-R2 MAX.

Under the rules of the sport, just one element of a competing crew can be changed once the entry has gone in. Sebastien Ogier has consequently been called up to drive the C2-R2 MAX alongside Jean-Joseph's navigator Jack Boyere. On what is well-known as very difficult terrain, this new line-up will be on a mission to demonstrate the enormous potential of the C2-R2 MAX. To help them face the redoubtable opposition, and target a top-10 finish as was the case in Russia Seb and Jack will have the benefit of some highly- competitive BFGoodrich tyres. Ulster counts for both the British and Irish Championships, and always attracts a quality field. The event runs close to the town of Armagh, and it is well-known for its difficult stages and wet weather. In total, competitors will face 217 competitive kilometres over 16 special stages.

" First of all, I feel extremely sorry for Simon and I hope he gets better soon, " said Sebastien. " I've never driven on the Ulster Rally and I don't know a great deal about it. But that really doesn't matter. I'm delighted to have this unexpected opportunity. All I've heard is that this is quite specialised terrain, with fast and bumpy roads. "

Jack Boyère, who already has two participations in Ulster behind him, confirmed: "That's exactly right. I've not been there for several years, but I remember the fast and narrow stages, with high banks on either side of the road. Sometimes there is also a strip of grass or gravel that runs down the middle of the road. The speeds you reach between the many sets of crossroads are quite impressive and the bumpy sections are one of the more difficult aspects of this event. Obviously it's not exactly the ideal place for our first rally together, but that's the situation we have! "

" Jack is quite right ", agreed Ogier. " As well as having to learn this tricky event, we're also having to learn how to work together. But Jack is an amazing professional, who has worked with many different drivers, so I'm sure it will be absolutely fine. I don't feel any particular pressure heading for Ulster, and I'm happy to take on the objective that Simon and the team fixed for themselves before the start of this year : to demonstrate the qualities of the C2-R2 MAX. I know that it is fantastic in `normal' conditions and also very good when the going gets rough. As there is a strong chance of rain, I'm hoping that this could allow us to play our trump card. The PH-Sport team also knows Ireland well, and their experience will be crucial. "

" The C2-R2 will be driven by an unaccustomed crew on its second asphalt outing of the year, " said Jean- Francois Lienere, who is in charge of Citroen Sport's customer competition department. " They will start the rally in a customer-specification C2-R2 MAX, which they will have to adapt to the local conditions with the help of the team. Sebastien Ogier knows the car well through having tested it, and together with Jack Boyere he will be aiming to demonstrate the Citroen's potential against some very strong opposition. As well as targeting a win in the Group A two-wheel drive class, the crew will be looking for a strong overall placing.

They will be helped by their BFGoodrich tyres, which are strong in all conditions. Citroen Sport is also using this rally to launch the right-hand drive version of the C2-R2 MAX. The event is a round of the British and Irish Citroen C2-R2 Cup, organised by Citroen Sport's UK competition parts distributor, Charles Hurst. "

-credit: citroen

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About this article
Series BRC
Drivers Simon Jean-Joseph , Jack Boyere , Sébastien Ogier
Teams Citroën World Rally Team