Sunday | 16 Aug 2015

Citroën seeks return to winning ways in Germany

Citroën Racing hopes that the latest evolution of the DS 3 World Rally Car will enable it to rediscover its dominance on asphalt rallies, starting with this week's ADAC Rally Deutschland [20 - 23 August].

Germany's round of the world championship is the first of three sealed-surface rallies in the second half of the season and an event where Citroën has an impressive winning record. The French manufacturer secured eleven consecutive victories between 2002 and 2013 and came close to winning again last year before Kris Meeke crashed out of the lead on the final day.

This year three DS 3 WRCs will be competing in Germany, driven by Mads Østberg, Kris Meeke and, making his competitive debut in a World Rally Car, Stéphane Lefebvre. The rally will be the first for the 2015-spec DS 3 that was introduced at Vodafone Rally de Portugal. Citroën says the improved engine performance, rear suspension geometry and aerodynamics will benefit the car significantly an tarmac.

A test session held in France, close to the German border, enabled the crews to begin work on adjusting to the pace of the surface after a run of gravel rallies.

"Testing went very well. I was able to fully concentrate on my driving, to get my bearings again. The upgrades made by the technical team are undoubtedly going to help us to compete with our main rivals," explained Østberg. “The DS 3 WRC is an exceptional car on tarmac, so I can’t wait to get going on this, the first proper rally on this surface on the 2015 calendar."

Meeke too is optimistic about the car's potential. "Last year, we were on the pace. For my first race on tarmac in the DS 3 WRC, I had found the confidence to push very quickly. The car is just incredible on this surface. I hope that the experience I’m accumulating at each round will help me to be among the frontrunners again," he said.

Citroën Racing team principal Yves Matton said Rallye Deutschland was a special event for the team. "It is where we have enjoyed a lot of success over the years and the team has an awful lot of experience here. This first round of the season on tarmac will give us the chance to assess the progress of the DS 3 WRC on this surface.

"Kris and Mads will be free to choose their strategy for the race. Kris has already shown his potential on asphalt, especially in Germany, and Mads is continuing to make progress on tarmac. For Stéphane Lefebvre, this will be another opportunity for him to keep on learning," he added.

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Video: Get set for Germany