RALLY MONTE CARLO

A DISTINCTLY UNPREDICTABLE RALLY!

From Gap to Monaco, day three of the Rallye Monte-Carlo saw the Citroën Racing crews continue to make progress. However, on the road section between Gap and Monaco, Kris Meeke’s car was hit by another vehicle, meaning the Ulsterman had to retire! Stéphane Lefebvre and Craig Breen will therefore be the sole representatives of the team in tomorrow’s final leg.

– The penultimate leg featured five stages: two runs on Lardier et Valenca – Oze and La Bâtie Montsaléon – Faye, and then a single pass on Bayons – Bréziers. After the last service in Gap, the cars set off for Monaco.

– The conditions were extremely varied, with snow-covered, muddy, wet and dry roads! Citroën’s crews used all four types of Michelin tyres available at this rally during the leg.

– Competing under Rally2 rules, both Citroën C3 WRC crews were aiming to improve their knowledge of the car in these very specific conditions. However, the crews had a testing start to the day, with a puncture (SS9) and a power steering issue (SS10) for Stéphane Lefebvre/Gabin Moreau, and an ignition failure (SS10) for Kris Meeke/Paul Nagle.

– The following stages passed without incident and the Citroën Total Abu Dhabi WRT was able to test various set-up options as the cars made steady progress. Kris Meeke, for example, set the third fastest time on SS13.

– The Northern Irishman will not, however, be able to contest the final leg. The no. 7 C3 WRC was hit by another vehicle on the road section to Monaco, leaving the car with a damaged rear right-hand wheel and the crew with no option but to retire.

– Stéphane Lefebvre gained a place at the end of the day to move up into eleventh position. The Frenchman is therefore just outside the points ahead of tomorrow’s final leg.

– Despite competing in conditions that were less favourables for their previous generation car, Craig Breen and Scott Martin impressed once again! After a thrilling ding-dong battle with Dani Sordo, the crew managed to grab fifth place. And after overall leader Thierry Neuville ran into problems, they claimed another place to move into fourth overall!

– Tomorrow, the final leg of the Rallye Monte-Carlo will be contested in the hills above Monaco. Four stages, over a total distance of 53km, will see the competitors tackle the legendary Col de Turini.

RALLY MONTE CARLO

DIFFICULT TO BREAK THE ICE!

The specialists all agree, this year is a “proper Monte-Carlo”, featuring the full range of difficulties that can arise at this event. The Citroën Total Abu Dhabi WRT has not escaped unscathed – far from it! Today, it was Kris Meeke’s turn to run into trouble, the Ulsterman having to retire after going off on SS4. Both Citroën C3 WRCs will nonetheless continue with their race tomorrow, as they go in search of Manufacturers’ World Championship points.

– This second leg featured two loops of three stages, held in the Hautes-Alpes department. With two thirds of the stages covered in ice and snow, all of the crews decided to opt for Michelin Pilot Alpin A4L/R1 studded tyres.

– The night was decidedly brief for the Citroën Racing mechanics, who worked hard to ensure that Stéphane Lefebvre and Gabin Moreau could return to action today. On Thursday evening, the no.8 C3 WRC crew had to stop on SS2 when their clutch failed after they had attempted to get out of a snow-covered ditch.

– Fifth after the short opening leg, Kris Meeke and Paul Nagle moved into second place after the day’s first stage, SS3. However, the crew went off the road on the next stage after sliding on a sheet of ice. With their suspension broken, they were unable to go any further.

– Never having encountered conditions like this before, Stéphane Lefebvre improved steadily as he completed more stages. Most notably, he set the fourth fastest time on SS5 and moved ahead of around fifty competitors during the course of the day. He ended the leg twelfth overall.

– Despite the tricky conditions, Craig Breen and Scott Martin produced a fine performance in their previous generation WRC. They seized fifth place from Dani Sordo on SS7, before then dropping back down a place after taking a bit of scenic route on the day’s final stage.