New FIA World Rally Championship leader Sébastien Ogier has demanded further development of his Citroën C3 World Rally Car to boost his bid for a seventh world title.
Second place at last weekend’s Copec Rally Chile, his fifth podium in the opening six rounds, promoted the Frenchman back to the top of the drivers’ standings.
But while the performance of his C3 showed significant improvement from the previous round in Argentina two weeks earlier, Ogier is clear that more work needs to be done to improve grip in slippery conditions.
As Ogier will open the road at Vodafone Rally de Portugal (30 May - 2 June), that leaves little time for Citroën Racing to come up with solutions. The team has a test ??
“A clear trend is emerging as we have trouble remaining competitive in low-grip conditions, so mainly on the first runs. On the other hand, when the grip is better, we manage to stay on the pace,” he said.
“We now need to develop the car even more so that we can be more competitive in low-grip situations.”
“We've come away with some important points and are back on top of the championship, which means that after the first six rallies, the outcome is obviously a good one in terms of points scored.”
Team principal Pierre Budar accepted Ogier’s views and pledged increased effort to keep his star driver in pole position. Slippery surface gravel is traditionally an issue for the early starters at the next two rounds in Portugal and Italy.
“I think we showed that we were able to react and introduce a few minor upgrades, which worked, in the fairly narrow window available between Argentina and Chile,” he said.
“Having said that, we are fully aware that these changes are not enough as yet to fight with the fastest crews in all conditions, and we are going to step up our efforts in order to keep improving.”