IRC: Citroen Rally Russia preview

Citroen and Simon Jean-Joseph in Tsar territory Simon Jean-Joseph and his co-driver Jack Boyère are poised to be part of motor sport history when they compete in the inaugural Rally Russia at the wheel of their Citroen Sport-run Citroen ...

Citroen and Simon Jean-Joseph in Tsar territory

Simon Jean-Joseph and his co-driver Jack Boyère are poised to be part of motor sport history when they compete in the inaugural Rally Russia at the wheel of their Citroen Sport-run Citroen C2-R2.

At the time of their pre-season launch at the beginning of the year, the organisers of the Intercontinental Rally Challenge (IRC) announced that their choice of events for their series was based on two criteria. They selected a blend of well-known, long-established fixtures such as Ypres and Madeira, plus a number of others in key countries. The latter include Russia which this year sees one of its motor sport events incorporated into an intercontinental competition for the first time since the 1914 Saint Petersburg Grand Prix. This was therefore a chance not to be missed for Citroen which will be represented at the start with Simon Jean-Joseph.

The inaugural Rally Russia is the fourth round of the 2007 IRC after three rounds in Kenya (Safari), Turkey and Belgium (Ypres). Although the start ceremony takes place in the historic city of Saint Petersburg, the stages are all based in the Vyborg region in the north-west of the country. The proximity of Finland, to which Vyborg belonged until 1947, points to the characteristics of the gravel stages which are said to be very smooth and probably also very fast, with lots of jumps and a backdrop of lakes that are likely to make it a modern Russian version of the 1000 Lakes Rally!

The weekend will mark Simon Jean-Joseph's second outing at the wheel of the Citroen C2-R2 which he drove for the first time on the recent Polish Rally (June 8- 10). After taking time to familiarise himself with the car, the Martinique-based driver progressively upped his pace in Poland to join the fight at the sharp end in Group A. "It's great to be able to get a first taste of Russia and of this new event," he says. "I'm starting to get a good feel for the Citroen C2-R2. Don't be taken in by its small size. It's got huge potential and on fast, flowing stages I think we can spring a surprise. Given the high number of four-wheel drive cars, I think it will be difficult to target victory but the C2-R2's level of performance and reliability could mean a good result at the finish."

"There was significant demand from representatives of Citroen Russia for us to take part in this event," explains Yves Matton, the manager of Citroen Sport's Customer Competition Department. "There are quite a few Citroen models that compete in Russia. Our flagship car there is the Citroen C2-R2 and, through Simon Jean-Joseph's participation, we want to showcase just how much potential it has.

Russia is also important for Citroen on the sales front, too. Finally, for the first time, this rally will benefit from extensive media coverage because of its involvement in the IRC and that made it a must-do event for us."

The inaugural Rally Russia in brief...

* This will be the inaugural Rally Russia. It is a qualifying round of the IRC (Round 4) and the Russian national championship (Round 5). It is also a round of the C2 Cup and the Saxo Cup which are organised by U.Service, one of Citroen's Moscow importers.

* Vyborg, which is situated close to the Finnish border at the eastern tip of the Gulf of Finland on the shores of the Baltic Sea, hosts all the event's facilities, namely the HQ, the Media Room, the service park and the parc ferme.

* The time difference between the Saint Petersburg region and CET is two hours. When it is 8pm in Paris, it is 10pm in Vyborg. The local currency is the rouble (1 RUB 0.03).

* The total length of the 2007 event is 553.28km, including 154.43km divided into 12 stages (11 different).

* Recce is scheduled for Tuesday July 10 (from 09.00 until 20.00) and Wednesday July 11 (from 09.00 until 18.00). Two passes are permitted over each stage.

* Shakedown takes place on Wednesday July 11 (from 18.00 until 20.00).

* The start ceremony will be held in the centre of Saint Petersburg (Isaakievsky Place) on Thursday July 12.

* Tyres: There are no quantity restrictions concerning tyres. Crews are authorised to carry two spares if they wish. Mousse run-flat systems are not permitted.

* Just one spare gearbox is permitted for two-wheel drive, normally-aspirated cars. Engines are sealed.

* Leg 1 (Thursday July 12 and Friday July 13): 386.88km, including 104.96km divided into 8 stages (8 different). Thursday: rally starts in St. Petersburg at 18.00. SS1 (Birja Super-Special, 2.20km). Cars enter parc ferme in Vyborg (23.18). Friday: cars leave parc ferme (08.25à for Service A (08.30, 20 minutes). SS2 (Drujnosel'e 1, 11.60km), SS3 (Topol'ki 1, 14.63km), SS4 (Svobodnoe, 13.90km) and SS5 (Losevo, 10.92km). Service B (12.09, 20 minutes). Regroup (12.35, 165 minutes). SS6 (Topol'ki, 29.29km). SS7 (Taiga, 15.80km) and SS8 (Dubinino, 8.82km). Service C (19.00, 45 minutes). Cars enter parc ferme at 19.50.

* Leg 2 (Saturday July 14): 166.40km, including 47.27km divided into 4 stages (4 different). Cars leave parc ferme (10.15) for Service D (10.20, 20 minutes). SS9 (Kutuzovo, 10.36km), SS10 (Yashino, 16.66km), SS11 (Drujnosel'e 2) and SS12 (Dubinino 1, 8.65km). Service E (14.00, 20 minutes). Podium ceremony from 14.30.

* The finish ceremony starts at 14.30 in Saint Petersburg on Saturday July 14.

* Note: this will be the first participation of Simon and Jack in this event.

* A long list of Citroens have been entered for this event, including seven C2 VTSs and eight Saxo VTSs.

* Eurosport broadcast details (CET)
Friday July 13: 23.00/23.15 (Eurosport)
Saturday July 14: 18.00/18.15 (Eurosport), 00.45/01.00 (Eurosport) and 23.15/23.30 (Eurosport 2)
Sunday July 15: 09.30/09.45 (Eurosport) plus Motorsports Weekends.
Highlights on Tuesday July 17 (23.30/23.56 on Eurosport) and Thursday July 19 (19.00/19.26 on Eurosport 2).

-credit: citroen

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About this article
Series Other rally
Drivers Simon Jean-Joseph , Jack Boyere , Yves Matton
Teams Citroën World Rally Team