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CITROËN Total Abu Dhabi WRT

Team Profile

Team Summary

Info

Based:  FRA
Established: 2000
Principal: Yves Matton
Drivers: Stéphane Lefebvre, Kris Meeke, Craig Breen, Khalid Al Qassimi
Tyres: Michelin

Essential information

Starting 2017 with a record of 96 WRC rally wins, 238 podium finishes and eight Manufacturers’ World Championship titles, Citroën has the best competitive record of the teams currently competing in the WRC.

It´s a record that stretches back to the 1950s when the French brand claimed its first major victories in rallying. However, it wasn´t until the start of the 1980s that the contemporary period truly began, with models like the Visa 1000 Pistes and the BX 4TC competing in the famous Group B era.

In 1989, the firms former racing department was renamed Citroën Sport and embarked on a successful Cross Country rally programme that garnered four Paris-Dakar victories. Between 1991 and 1996, the ZX Grand Raids won 36 out of their 42 races, and were five-time winners of the FIA Cross Country Rally World Cup.

The outline of a WRC programme began to take shape. In the Xsara Kit-Car, Philippe Bugalski beat a host of World Rally Cars to win the 1999 Rally Catalunya and Tour de Corse. The programme moved up a gear and the new Xsara WRC won the 2001 Tour de Corse driven by Jesus Puras. After spending the 2002 season preparing its entry, Citroën began its first full campaign in 2003.

The team made an incredible start, with a one-two-three for Sébastien Loeb, Colin McRae and Carlos Sainz at the Rallye Monte-Carlo. Citroën won its first Manufacturers World Championship at the end of the season, successfully defending the title for the next two years.

Most of the squads subsequent success came with Loeb at the wheel; the Frenchman groomed by Citroën since he was a youngster in the Junior WRC. Equipped with Citroëns Xsara, C4 and DS 3 world rally cars he claimed nine consecutive drivers´ titles before bowing out of full-time rallying in 2013.

Citroën failed to keep the winning momentum once Loeb had retired, however, and replacement team-leader Mikko Hirvonen was unable to take the fight to the new Volkswagen drivers.

For 2014 the team put its faith in a young, ambitious but relatively inexperienced line-up of Kris Meeke and Mads Østberg. They made regular podium appearances but there were no more wins.

The same line-up remained in 2015, along with a guest appearance from Loeb at the season-opening Rallye Monte-Carlo. Meeke gave the squad a long-awaited win at Rally Argentina, but apart from that it was another disappointing season for the once-mighty Citroën. On the other hand, it was also one that spurred positive action at head office.

Citroën decided to end its three year World Touring Car Championship (WTCC) programme in order to concentrate its resources on a fresh WRC start in 2017.

Meeke was retained as lead driver, but the squad took a WRC sabbatical in 2016 to develop its all-new C3-based challenger. However, Meeke drove a DS 3 to wins in Portugal and Finland with a Citroën-supported private team, while on-rally trials for Craig Breen and Stéphane Lefebvre led to their signing as team-mates for 2017.


Starting 2017 with a record of 96 WRC rally wins, 238 podium finishes and eight Manufacturers’ World Championship titles, Citroën has the best competitive record of the teams currently competing in the WRC.

It´s a record that stretches back to the 1950s when the French brand claimed its first major victories in rallying. However, it wasn´t until the start of the 1980s that the contemporary period truly began, with models like the Visa 1000 Pistes and the BX 4TC competing in the famous Group B era.

In 1989, the firms former racing department was renamed Citroën Sport and embarked on a successful Cross Country rally programme that garnered four Paris-Dakar victories. Between 1991 and 1996, the ZX Grand Raids won 36 out of their 42 races, and were five-time winners of the FIA Cross Country Rally World Cup.

The outline of a WRC programme began to take shape. In the Xsara Kit-Car, Philippe Bugalski beat a host of World Rally Cars to win the 1999 Rally Catalunya and Tour de Corse. The programme moved up a gear and the new Xsara WRC won the 2001 Tour de Corse driven by Jesus Puras. After spending the 2002 season preparing its entry, Citroën began its first full campaign in 2003.

The team made an incredible start, with a one-two-three for Sébastien Loeb, Colin McRae and Carlos Sainz at the Rallye Monte-Carlo. Citroën won its first Manufacturers World Championship at the end of the season, successfully defending the title for the next two years.

Most of the squads subsequent success came with Loeb at the wheel; the Frenchman groomed by Citroën since he was a youngster in the Junior WRC. Equipped with Citroëns Xsara, C4 and DS 3 world rally cars he claimed nine consecutive drivers´ titles before bowing out of full-time rallying in 2013.

Citroën failed to keep the winning momentum once Loeb had retired, however, and replacement team-leader Mikko Hirvonen was unable to take the fight to the new Volkswagen drivers.

For 2014 the team put its faith in a young, ambitious but relatively inexperienced line-up of Kris Meeke and Mads Østberg. They made regular podium appearances but there were no more wins.

The same line-up remained in 2015, along with a guest appearance from Loeb at the season-opening Rallye Monte-Carlo. Meeke gave the squad a long-awaited win at Rally Argentina, but apart from that it was another disappointing season for the once-mighty Citroën. On the other hand, it was also one that spurred positive action at head office.

Citroën decided to end its three year World Touring Car Championship (WTCC) programme in order to concentrate its resources on a fresh WRC start in 2017.

Meeke was retained as lead driver, but the squad took a WRC sabbatical in 2016 to develop its all-new C3-based challenger. However, Meeke drove a DS 3 to wins in Portugal and Finland with a Citroën-supported private team, while on-rally trials for Craig Breen and Stéphane Lefebvre led to their signing as team-mates for 2017.

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