21 Jan 08
Citroen has retained the same driver line-up it had in 2007. Four-time World Champion Sebastien Loeb and his co-driver Daniel Elena will be in car number one, with Dani Sordo and Marc Marti in car number two.
The Citroen C4 WRC has changed a little since its last WRC outing; it now has a new engine, called the 'EW', as well as some aerodynamic changes at the front end. After the retirement of Guy Frequelin, the team has a new team leader in Olivier Quesnel.
"We will take a measured approach to the start of our 2008 WRC campaign," said Quesnel. "The switch to a single tyre manufacturer will be the principal change for the first round of the championship and, as always in such cases, we will need time to adapt. We have done as much work as we can to amass as much data as possible concerning the tyres we will have for the Monte Carlo Rally but we are aware that we still have a great deal to learn. The Monte Carlo Rally has always been a challenging event, not only because of its stages but also because it is the first round of the season. It will be especially difficult this year because of the tyre factor with which we will have to come to terms on the event itself.
"The competition promises to be extremely fierce, too, but I have every confidence in our technical staff who have worked hard to make the Citroen C4 WRC even more competitive. I also believe that Sebastien Loeb/Daniel Elena and Dani Sordo/Marc Marti form a very strong line-up and I know they will be looking to start the year with a repeat of their exploit of last year. Our objective for 2008 is to win both the Manufacturers' and Drivers' world titles, so a top result would obviously be a first class omen."
The bookies favourite for victory, on this rally at least, has to be Sebastien Loeb, whose record on the Monte is second to none. From his last six attempts, he has won four times and come second twice. This year he's aiming to win a fifth time - and become the first to do so since the rally was first held in 1911. "Last year, the conditions were particularly dry but it should be fun if we get snow and ice this time round - I'm dreaming of a white Monte Carlo, with real wintry conditions," said Loeb. "I am delighted to see that the Col du Turini and some other classic stages in the southeast corner of France are back. That said, the challenge of having to contest the final day's four stages with the same tyres could well turn out to be quite delicate."