Citroën Racing WRC update! The DS 3 WRCs move onto tarmac
'The DS 3 WRC is an exceptional car on tarmac, so I can’t wait to get going on this, the first proper rally on this surface on the 2015 calendar' Mads Østberg.
After a series of six gravel rounds, during which the Citroën Total Abu Dhabi World Rally Team has established itself in second place, the World Championship returns to tarmac in Germany. Three DS 3 WRCs will be competing in Trier, driven by Mads Østberg/Jonas Andersson, Kris Meeke/Paul Nagle and Stéphane Lefebvre/Stéphane Prévot.
Having secured eleven consecutive wins here between 2002 and 2013, Citroën Racing boasts an impressive record on the roads of Rallye Deutschland. Very competitive again in 2014 thanks to the efforts of Kris Meeke and Mads Østberg, the Citroën Total Abu Dhabi World Rally Team returns to a familiar hunting ground nestled between the Luxembourg border and the banks of the Mosel river.
With rallies in Germany, France and even Spain – the majority of which will be contested on tarmac – the final part of the season is set to be punctuated by this surface. For the entire team, the month of August goes hand in hand with applying a new configuration. The drivers, engineers and mechanics all need to adopt specific methods for this surface.
As regards the DS 3 WRC, although the body shells remain unchanged, the suspension, shock absorbers and brakes are all adapted for use on tarmac. The set-up is specifically defined for the challenges thrown up by an event like Rallye Deutschland. A test session held in France, close to the German border, enabled the crews to begin work on adjusting to the pace of the surface ahead of recce.
On tarmac, the DS 3 WRCs will benefit significantly from the upgrades made during the first half of the season. The improved engine performance, the rear suspension geometry and the 2015-spec aerodynamics will all help the drivers. The recent tests also provided an opportunity to work with the new range of Michelin tyres, which are available from Rallye Deutschland onwards. Tyre choice will once again be a key aspect at this event. In August, the weather in the region can change very suddenly and this can have a significant impact on the race set-up.
For Mads Østberg, Rallye Deutschland will give him the chance to finish in the top 10 for the twelfth event running, a feat that has only been achieved once in the last four seasons. Consistent and quick with three podium finishes this year, the Norwegian currently lies third in the World Championship standings.
Leader of Rallye Deutschland with three stages to go last year, Kris Meeke knows how this highly specific event can catch you out. The Northern Irishman, winner of Rally Argentina in the spring, will be in with a good chance on tarmac.
Competing in a third DS 3 WRC with the support of his partners, Stéphane Lefebvre will be making his competitive debut in the top-flight category. Having risen to prominence in the PSA Peugeot Citroën group’s promotional formulas, he won the FIA Junior WRC and WRC3 titles last year in a DS 3 R3. This year, he has continued to learn about rallying at this level in a DS 3 R5 and a DS 3 RRC as part of the WRC2 championship.