Citroën Total World Rally Team press release
The Citroën crews fighting to make up lost time
Today, the Citroën Total World Rally Team crews, who restarted in the SupeRally, put on a stunning display in the stages of Rally Australia. Sébastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia have fought their way up to eleventh place overall and should soon make it into the top 10. Sébastien Loeb and Daniel Elena are lying seventeenth. The works DS3 WRCs are poised to score precious points in the Manufacturers’ World Championship.
When the nos 1 and 2 DS3 WRCs were brought back to the service park in the late afternoon yesterday, they were immediately entrusted to the skilled hands of the Citroën Racing mechanics. The two cars were put back into impeccable running order in the evening. The men behind the scenes put in two 3-hour repair sessions, which enabled the crews to be at the start of the second leg of the rally at the wheel of fully competitive cars.
“The mechanics deserve more merit than the drivers this weekend,” underlined Sébastien Loeb. “My car still bears the scars of its four rolls but it’s only cosmetic. They really deserve to be congratulated for their work.”
Sébastien Ogier, who was a racing mechanic before getting behind the wheel of a rally car, also appreciated the job done by the team’s ‘wrenches.’ “Rebuilding two cars in the space of six hours is a real exploit. There was some fairly heavy damage like a twisted sub frame mount on my car that had to be straightened.”
After the opening day in the forests to the west of Coffs Harbour, the crews headed south. The stages of the second day running through fields and meadows were a bit like those in New Zealand.
The Citroën drivers, who knew that their chances of scoring a good finish in the overall classification were slim, were aiming at bagging points in the Manufacturers’ Championship. They used the first pass to check that their cars were handling properly. “We still have a few setup adjustments to make to the running gear, but overall things are okay,’ said Loeb when he came back to the service park. “We knew that the engine took a hammering yesterday when I drove a few kilometres with the radiator pierced,’” added Ogier. “We’re not sure if it will last till the end but for the moment the car’s running perfectly.”
Ogier proved this by setting a hat trick of fastest times (SS15-17) during the afternoon. Loeb also set the fastest time in SS18. At the end of the first leg, Ogier and Loeb were running sixteenth and twenty-third respectively and they fought their way up to eleventh and seventeenth positions.
“If the team’s calculations are correct, I’m in with a good chance of finishing ninth overall. I’m going to continue pushing to score a few more points in the drivers’ world championship,” concluded Ogier. Loeb is betting on the Power Stage to score the bonus points awarded to the first three.