Matton praises ‘excellent’ WRC

Citroën Racing boss Yves Matton believes this season’s thrilling new-era WRC exceeded the returning French team’s hopes.

After a limited 2016 programme, Citroën rejoined the championship on a full-time basis with its new C3 World Rally Car. Despite a difficult campaign, Matton said the series rewarded that decision.

“In general terms, we have to be pleased with the quality of the competition offered by the WRC. The new generation of cars have more than lived up to expectations and we have seen exciting rallies from start to finish,” he said.

“It is a long time since four manufacturers and seven different drivers have won races in a single season. More than ever before, the World Rally Championship provides an excellent platform for a manufacturer looking to showcase its products.”

Suspension problems hampered the C3 early in the year and a series of accidents cost lead driver Kris Meeke his place in the team for June’s fixture in Poland.

But the Ulsterman won twice and Matton believes the mid-year return of Christophe Besse as technical director enabled the team to develop a clear idea of the areas requiring improvement.

“We were pleased to win two rallies, in Mexico and Spain. That matches the target set by Citroën’s senior management at the start of the season.

“I’m not overlooking the very tough times we experienced in the middle of the season, but the work undertaken in the summer has led to some concrete results since then.

“Preparations (for 2018) began several months ago. In the design office, the workshop and in testing, the C3 WRC is permanently undergoing development. Some upgrades have already been introduced, others are undergoing approval, pending homologation,” Matton explained.

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