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Ogier pushing Citroen for fundamental changes

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Ogier pushing Citroen for fundamental changes
By:
Mar 23, 2019, 10:31 AM

Sebastien Ogier is pushing to make fundamental suspension changes to Citroen’s C3 WRC following his victory in Rally Mexico earlier this month.

The Frenchman, who has won two of the first three rounds of this year’s series, pressed the team to run Reiger dampers – the same manufacturer he used at M-Sport last season – on the year’s opening gravel round in Mexico.

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Finding a solution to C3 WRC’s suspension set-up on gravel is reckoned to be one of the final pieces of the jigsaw following an overhaul of the chassis, which included significant front and rear geometry work last season.

Ogier suffered a transmission issue with the C3 WRC on the second day in Mexico, but otherwise team principal Pierre Budar said work on the car was focused on fine-tuning dampers in the search for grip during the Leon-based rally.

Without being specific in his requests from the team, Ogier told Motorsport.com he wants more from Citroen.

“Like always, I’m pushing – you can count on that,” he said. “Sure, it’s a good start [to the year], but in Mexico there were a few things disturbing me which I couldn’t change yet.

“I have some direction to make the car better. We have seen the car is not too bad and the potential is there, but I see some room for improvement.”

Citroen’s hopes of finding a suspension solution for South America could be hampered by a new regulation which means it will likely revert to Ohlins dampers for the next two gravel rallies in Argentina and Chile.

Budar explained: “There is a link between [the WRC rounds in] Argentina and Chile and it will affect our decision [on suspension]. 

“The cars stay out there in South America between the rallies and there is a new rule on the dampers which says we will have five sets of dampers for two cars over the two rallies. 

“After Argentina, we can change only two of these sets, which means three sets will have to do both Argentina and Chile. 

“That’s quite a lot because we know that Argentina can be quite hard for the dampers, depending on the weather it can be a hard rally.

“We will make a decision soon whether we go with Reiger or Ohlins.”

Beyond the dampers, Citroen is also working on an overhaul of its aero package, but Budar confirmed that wouldn’t be completed until the summer.

Asked where the focus was on the changes to aero, Budar replied: “It’s a complete package. But it takes time and we won’t have it for the next race. 

“You need to make the calculation, make the test, produce the moulds. We work with the CFD, already, but these parts won’t be coming for Argentina – they will be later in the season.”

Esapekka Lappi, Janne Ferm, Citroen World Rally Team, Citroen C3 WRC

Esapekka Lappi, Janne Ferm, Citroen World Rally Team, Citroen C3 WRC

Photo by: McKlein / LAT Images

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Series WRC
Author David Evans