A mix of familiar faces and newcomers comprise the 11 drivers lining-up for the opening round of the FIA WRC3 and Junior WRC at Rallye Monte-Carlo (22 - 25 January).
Of the three drivers who competed last season, Germany’s Christian Riedemann stands out as a potential front-runner. He claimed two podiums and was a title contender for much of the year, while Simone Tempestini (eighth) and Kornel Lukacs (eleventh) also return.
Of the newcomers, Quentin Gilbert should feature well. The Frenchman showed his pace in the Drive DMACK Fiesta Trophy last season and also won the WRC 2 category at Rallye de France - Alsace.
Big things are also expected from Yohan Rossel, who has won the Rallye Jeunes (Young Drivers) initiative and the junior championship in France, while British champion Dan McKenna moves up to world level after his 2014 title.
Former Citroen Racing Trophy winner Alessandro Re has good pace, while Norway’s Ole Christian Veiby, at 18 the youngest contender this weekend, could be a surprise package after making his mark in his home championship and in Swedish Rallycross.
Citroen Racing boss Yves Matton said small rule changes had helped boost entries.
“These new points mean that we already have a record number of entrants. At Monte-Carlo, 11 DS3 R3-MAXs will be taking part. Many others will be added to this total at Rally de Portugal,” he said.
The champion will follow in the footsteps of 2014 winner Stéphane Lefebvre by earning a WRC 2 programme in a DS 3 R5 in 2016, and all contenders will also score points in the WRC 3 championship.
What’s new for 2015
|Calendar features seven rounds rather than six|
|Rallye Monte-Carlo and RallyRACC - Rally de Espana enter the calendar with ADAC Rallye Deutschland dropping out|
|Each driver must nominate six rounds in which to score|
|All contenders will drive Citroen DS 3 R3-MAX cars|