Citroen has been the dominant force in the WRC in recent years, winning eight manufacturers’ titles since 2003 and providing the driving force behind Sebastien Loeb’s nine consecutive drivers’ titles.
But with Loeb contesting just four rallies in this his retirement season, and newcomer Volkswagen winning on only its second rally, Citroen team principal Yves Matton warned that mistakes could jeopardize his team’s run of success.
Matton said Volkswagen had produced “a perfect performance” in Sweden. “It gives us an idea of how tough this season, which has only just started, is going to be” he added.
“Our performance levels were in line with our objectives, but we’ll now need to complete error-free rallies if we are going to win races.”
Loeb finished 41.8s behind Ogier in Sweden and described his rival’s performance as ‘flawless’. “We did a good rally, but not enough. I was on my limit,” he said. “I pushed really hard and tried my best all the time. I have done some great stages. Some little mistakes. I tried, but it was not possible."
Loeb’s team-mate Mikko Hirvonen salvaged two manufacturers’ points after going off early in the rally, keeping the Citroen Total Abu Dhabi team top of the overall standings, two points ahead of Volkswagen.
“It gives us an idea of how tough this season, which has only just started, is going to be”