Citroen went to Finland with high hopes, after winning the event in 2011 and 2012 with Sebastien Loeb, and having 2009 winner Mikko Hirvonen as lead driver.
After a positive start, however, Hirvonen dropped out of the battle for the lead after a high-speed spin on SS12 that left his car with two flat tyres and rear suspension damage. He pressed on, but was unable to challenge the pace of the battling Ford Fiestas and Volkswagen Polo ahead.
Hirvonen eventually finished fourth, 1m21s adrift of rally winner Sebastien Ogier, having scored just one fastest time from 23 stages. “I didn’t come here for fourth place, so for sure, this result is disappointing,” he said.
Hirvonen’s Citroen Total Abu Dhabi team-mate Dani Sordo fared even worse. The Spaniard struggled for confidence from the word go, and brought his car home in a distant fifth, more than six minutes behind Ogier. “It was a weekend that I’d rather forget about, to be honest,” he said.
Citroen looked to have a silver lining in team newcomer Kris Meeke, who was a fine fifth on his debut in a DS3 World Rally Car until the penultimate stage when he wrecked it in a high-speed roll.
“Not having any of our cars on the podium is frustrating for the whole team, especially given the level of performance shown by Mikko at the start of the rally,” said Yves Matton, Citroën Racing Team Principal.
“We’re disappointed for Kris, who produced an impressive performance in his first rally in the DS3 WRC. It’s a shame he wasn’t able to turn his good form into result by making it to the end. Starting tomorrow, we’ll start thinking about Rallye Deutschland, which will mark the WRC’s return to tarmac.”