Citroën World Rally Team
|This article is outdated. (February 2012)|
|Full name||Citroën Abu Dhabi Total World Rally Team|
|Team principal(s)||Yves Matton|
|Technical director||Xavier Mestelan-Pinon|
|Drivers|| Sébastien Loeb
|Co-drivers|| Daniel Elena
Carlos del Barrio
|Chassis||Citroën DS3 WRC|
|World Rally Championship career|
|Constructors' Championships||8 (2003-2005, 2008-2012)|
|Drivers' Championships||8 (2004-2005, 2007-2012)|
- 1 The team
- 2 History
- 3 WRC results
- 4 Gallery
- 5 See also
- 6 References
- Yves Matton – team director
- Xavier Mestelan-Pinon – technical director
In 1998, following its withdrawal from Rally raid competition, Citroën Sport began competing in rallying with the Xsara Kit Car. Equipped with a 2L engine developing 280 hp more than 8 000 rpm, this car started competing in the French Rally Championship in 1998. At the wheel, Philippe Bugalski won drivers titles in 1998 and 1999, and Sébastien Loeb won the driver title in 2001.
In addition to the French championship, Citroën also entered the Xsara Kit Car on asphalt rounds of the World Rally Championship, Bugalski finishing fifth on the cars WRC debut on Rally Catalunya in April 1998, while Jesús Puras retired with engine problems. On Tour de Corse, Fabien Doenlen finished seventh and Patrick Magaud finished tenth. Bugalski retired with broken suspension. On Rallye Sanremo, Magaud finished 11th, Puras retired with engine problems and Bugalski crashed out.
In 1999, Bugalski and Puras were entered in Xsara Kit Cars on the three asphalt rallies again, and Bugalski won in Catalunya and Corsica, Puras finishing runner-up in Corsica.
For the 2002 season, Citroën contested 8 of the 14 Championship rounds. Sébastien Loeb and co-driver Daniel Elena provisionally won the season-opening Monte Carlo Rally but due to an illegal tyre change, received a time penalty demoting him to second. He later won his first rally at Rallye Deutschland. The team also got a third place finish on the Safari Rally with Thomas Radstrom.
For 2003, Citroën entered their first full year in the World Rally Championship. They signed former World Champions Colin McRae and Carlos Sainz from Ford. Bugalski was also entered in a fourth car on asphalt rallies. The team won the first event of the season, Rallye Monte Carlo, with a 1–2–3 finish, with Loeb winning ahead of McRae and Sainz. Loeb also won Rallye Deutschland and Rallye Sanremo. Sainz won the Rally of Turkey. In their first full year, the team took the Manufacturers' championship, while Loeb finished second to Petter Solberg in the Drivers' championship. Sainz finished third and McRae was seventh.
Citroën reduced their team for 2004, dropping McRae. Loeb won the Monte Carlo Rally, the Swedish Rally, the Cyprus Rally, the Rally of Turkey, Rallye Deutschland and Rally Australia. Sainz won at Rally Argentina. Loeb won his first Drivers' championship. The team took the Manufacturers' championship. Sainz won on Rally Argentina and finished fourth in the standings.
For the 2005 season, the primary drivers were Loeb and François Duval. Due to a string of poor performances, Duval was replaced by Sainz for Turkey and Greece. Loeb won the Monte Carlo Rally, Rally New Zealand, Rally Italia Sardinia, Rally Cyprus, the Rally of Turkey, the Acropolis Rally, Rally Argentina, Rallye Deutschland, Rallye de France, and Rally Catalunya on his way to win the Drivers' Championship. Duval took his debut win at the Rally Australia. Citroën took the Manufacturers' championship.
For 2006, Citroën WRT took a one year sabbatical, while developing a new car. Loeb was joined by Xavier Pons and third-driver Dani Sordo at the semi-privateer team Kronos Citroën, which received significant funding from Citroën Sport running their Xsara WRC cars. Sordo was soon promoted to second driver over Pons. Meanwhile Loeb again won the Drivers' title, despite missing events in Turkey, Australia, New Zealand and Great Britain, after breaking his arm in a mountain biking accident. He was replaced by former world champion Colin McRae for Turkey, who was then replaced by Pons for Australia, New Zealand and Great Britain.
For the 2007 season, Citroën officially re-entered the World Rally Championship with the all new C4 WRC, driven by Loeb and Sordo. Loeb diced with Ford's Marcus Grönholm throughout the year, only securing his record-equalling fourth straight Drivers' title at the final event, the Rally GB. Loeb won in Monte Carlo, Mexico, Portugal, Argentina, Germany, Spain, France and Ireland. Sordo ended the season in 4th place. At the end of the season, Guy Fréquelin resigned as team principal, and was replaced by Olivier Quesnel.
The season culminated in the team winning both the drivers' (Loeb) and manufacturers' titles ahead of, respectively, Mikko Hirvonen and Ford. In a typically dominant year after the retirement of Grönholm, Loeb's eleven wins for the season, including a last-day success at the season-ending Wales Rally GB over erstwhile leader, Jari-Matti Latvala's Ford Focus, broke his existing 2005 record (10) for the greatest number of wins for one driver in an individual season, as well as bringing his own career total of WRC rally victories to 47. A still winless Sordo, with 65 points, nevertheless accomplished third in the drivers' standings.
Loeb and Sordo were retained for the 2009 season. Loeb won the opening five events of the season, but suffered a mid-season drop in form and fell behind Mikko Hirvonen in the standings. However, he won the title by one point after winning the final two rounds of the season. Sordo finished third in the standings, scoring seven podium finishes, but still no wins.
Loeb and Sordo were retained again for the 2010 season. Loeb won in Mexico, Jordan, Turkey and Bulgaria. Citroën Junior Team driver and Citroën protégé Sébastien Ogier won in Portugal, increasing the pressure on the still-winless Dani Sordo. Loeb took again the driver's crown for the 7th time in a row, while Sordo managed 5th. Alongside Loeb, Sordo and Ogier's performances Citroen took yet another manufacturer title.
Loeb was joined by Ogier permanently for 2011, as he replaced Sordo. Ogier and Loeb took 5 wins each with the brand new Citroën DS3 WRC. Loeb finished again on top spot retaining his title for his 8th consecutive time while Ogier finished 3rd in the standings, Citroën also took the manufacturer crown.
After Ogier's departure to Volkswagen, Mikko Hirvonen, former Ford driver, was signed by Citroën for 2012 driving the second DS3 joining Loeb. Loeb took his first victory of the season on the 80th Monte Carlo Rally, and secured wins also in, Mexico, Argentina and Greece. Mikko Hirvonen also won the Rally de Portugal but he was disquallifed for breaking the rules and regulations with illegal clutch and turbo.
* Season in progress.
- Citroën Saxo S1600
- Citroën C2 S1600
- Citroën ZX Kit Car
- Citroën Xsara Kit Car
- Citroën Xsara T4/Citroën Xsara WRC
- Citroën C4 WRC
- Citroën DS3 WRC
- "WRC, motorsport news, results, features, teams, drivers, updates". Crash.net. 1980-01-01. Retrieved 2011-11-27.
- "Citroën Saxo Kit Car Specifications & History". Rallye-Info.com. Retrieved 2011-11-27.
- "BBC SPORT | Motorsport | Rallying | Loeb lands fourth straight title". BBC News. 2007-12-02. Retrieved 2011-11-27.
- "WRC: Citroen boss: Loeb put in a perfect run". Crash.net. 2008-01-28. Retrieved 2011-11-27.
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