Tuesday | 18 Mar 2014

Gilbert’s ‘dream’ World Rally Car debut

WRC3 championship leader Quentin Gilbert says the podium he achieved last weekend on his first event in a World Rally Car way surpassed his expectations.

Using a borrowed Citroën C4 WRC, the Frenchman and co-driver Renaud Jamoul finished second and set six fastest times in the Le Touquet Rally, the opening round of the French Championship.

Gilbert tested the C4 in France at the beginning of the month and was immediately on the pace. He was third-quickest on the opening stage, 3sec behind multiple French gravel rally champion Jean-Marie Cuoq (C4 WRC) and 6.7 seconds behind his WRC2 rival Julien Maurin (Ford Fiesta WRC).

A puncture on the second stage dropped him to eighth, but he recovered strongly, battling back to second before the final day when a clutch problem prevented further progress.

“On our first outing in a World Rally Car it’s a result we hardly dared dream of!” said Gilbert. “For me the C4 WRC is really an exceptional machine as it dominated the WRC with Sébastien Loeb when I was just starting my first rallies.

“It was an incredible pleasure for me to find myself behind the wheel and I felt increasingly at home as the stages unfolded. Although I know I’ve still got a lot of room for improvement I had the impression that I was able to master the car.”

Gilbert’s next WRC appearance will be at Vodafone Rally de Portugal (3-6 April).