Citroën works crew Stéphane Lefebvre and Gabin Moreau are reunited this weekend for the first time since August’s horror crash at ADAC Rallye Deutschland.
The French duo contest Rallye du Var, the final round of the French Championship, in the Massif des Maures mountains near Sainte-Maxime in a DS 3 World Rally Car.
Both were hospitalised after a 160kph crash into a tree on the Baumholder military roads at the WRC’s ninth round. Moreau was the most seriously hurt and spent several weeks recuperating from a broken left hand and foot, fractured right leg and cracked vertebra.
Their recovery was aided by confirmation of a two-year deal with Citroën to drive its new C3 World Rally Car alongside Kris Meeke and Craig Breen. Lefebvre returned to action at Dayinsure Wales Rally GB last month but co-driver Moreau’s return was delayed.
“I feel good, at the moment it’s sunny and we are ready to start,” he told wrc.com this morning. “It’s good for my soul to be there, and good for my physical condition also. It helps me to recover even faster.
“Yesterday we had a good shakedown, with five runs without any apprehension. It’s good to think about the rally and nothing else. Because everything else is from the past.”
Lefebvre said the French asphalt would be a good warm-up for the opening round of the 2017 WRC at Rallye Monte-Carlo.
“Obviously I’m very happy to see Gabin back in the right-hand seat. Everything is ready but the rally conditions will be different from recce. We had sun during recce but it rained a lot during the night.
“I will try to drive like in WRC, without thinking too much. It’s the perfect rally to prepare for Monte-Carlo, especially with these conditions," he explained.
Also competing is Hyundai works duo Kevin Abbring and Seb Marshall in an i20 R5. It is the pair’s third competitive outing in the car following WRC appearances on asphalt in Corsica and on gravel in Britain.
The rally starts on Friday afternoon and features 13 speed tests covering 216.02km before Sunday morning’s finish.