WRC – Citroen Ventures Into Unknown Territory!

September 5, 2011

WRC

Three weeks after the tarmac of Rally Germany, the WRC heads off down under for Rally Australia, which will be run on gravel. The Citroën Total World Rally Team, victorious in the last eight rallies, is aiming to continue its winning streak with its crews Sébastien Loeb / Daniel Elena and Sébastien Ogier / Julien Ingrassia. Another double would give Citroën its seventh world title!

Rally Australia, run in the Perth region on the west coast of the country for several years, moved to New South Wales in 2009. After a year’s break due to the rotation with the New Zealand Rally, the event is back on the calendar with a new route based around Coffs Harbour.

The little town bordered by the Pacific Ocean is equidistant between Sydney and Brisbane, and is preparing to welcome the teams taking part in the World Rally Championship. The organizers have come up with an itinerary combing gravel and forest roads mixing twisty and very quick sections. The Coffs Harbour super special tarmac stage will be covered six times, but it should not be taken lightly as the total distance comes to over 22 km.

The Citroën Total World Rally Team has won eight of the nine rallies held so far this season so it arrives in Australia as the hot favourite. The DS3 WRC remains unbeaten on gravel and should enable its crews to put on a scintillating performance on these unfamiliar roads.

Sébastien Loeb, the current leader in the Drivers’ World Championship after scoring four victories (Mexico, Sardinia, Argentina and Finland), has a 25-point lead over his team-mate, Sébastien Ogier, who has also won four times (Portugal, Jordan, Greece and Germany). The seven-time world champion will be handicapped as he will be first out on the road: “I’m getting used to it on gravel! You just have to factor in this parameter. Obviously, we don’t know these stages, but it looks like we’ll have dry weather so I expect to lose a lot of time on the first day. But we’ve also proved that we can win despite this handicap, and we’re determined to score the maximum number of points in this rally. Thanks to our lead in the world championship, we don’t have to take a lot of risks.”

Sébastien Ogier scored his first victory on tarmac in Germany and also went into second place in the Drivers’ World Championship. “On several occasions this season we’ve seen that a race can be turned on its head at any moment. So you have to stay concentrated and be ready to seize the slightest opportunity. I’m happy to be back in Australia, in a new event what’s more. In these conditions where experience is of less importance, I generally feel more at ease. I hope it’ll be the same thing in this round and that we’ll have a good scrap.”

With a 91-point lead in the Manufacturers’ World Championship, the Citroën Total World Rally Team has a slight chance of clinching its seventh world title. To achieve this it has to stretch its lead to more than 129 points. As a double counts for 43 points, it’s on the cards!

 

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