Citroen Racing in 2016 only in WTCC, from 2017 again in WRC
Citroen Racing unveiled its motorsport plans for the future. In 2016 Citroen Total team will defend its WTCC world titles with two works C-Elysee cars, driven by Jose Maria Lopez and Yvan Muller. After that WTCC programme will be stopped. In the meantime WRC programme will be paused during 2016 and French automaker will be back in top rallying series in 2017, with a car prepared according to new regulations.
In order to dedicate as many resources as possible to development of the new car, the Citroën Racing factory team will be putting its participation in the WRC on hold next season. They will only support Junior WRC competition with DS3 R3T cars and WRC2 programme for this year’s JWRC champion Quentin Gilbert.
Citroën has won an incredible fifteen world titles over the last twenty-two years, between 1993 and 2015: five in the Cross Country Rally World Cup, eight in the WRC and two in the WTCC. In line with the strategy defined by Carlos Tavares, Chairman of the PSA Peugeot Citroën Management Board, they will concentrate its sporting commitments on a single worldwide programme. After an in-depth study of all the current motor sport categories, Citroën has chosen to compete in the FIA World Rally Championship from 2017 further.
“With eight world titles and a record 94 wins, Citroën has certainly enjoyed unrivalled success in the WRC. Rallying is a fascinating sport, which tests the performance, reliability and solidity of the cars and drivers in some magnificent settings. The category is taking off again, with increasingly widespread live television coverage and the arrival of China on the calendar in 2016. In 2017, the appearance of a new generation of cars, which are purported to be very attractive, will coincide with our renewed involvement. Everything will therefore be in place for us to write a new chapter in our history. Given the brand’s rich heritage, this challenge had to be ambitious. We will however be modest in our approach, gradually stepping up our objectives to the very top,” said Linda Jackson, Chief Executive Officer of the Citroën Brand.
“We have never hidden our interest in the 2017 WRC regulations and the entire team is extremely motivated by this new challenge. We like the freedom granted to make the cars more spectacular, but also the possibility of reusing development work done on the Citroën C-Elysée WTCC’s engine. With a view to managing our resources efficiently, we have decided to focus all our efforts on designing and developing our new World Rally Car. This is why Citroën will not be competing in the 2016 World Rally Championship as a works team. We will obviously be keeping a close eye on the WRC, both with the organisation of the FIA Junior WRC and with the WRC2 programme for Quentin Gilbert, this year’s JWRC Champion,” commented Yves Matton, Citroën Racing Team Principal.
While preparing new WRC car Citroën Racing will try to defend WTCC title. Two cars will be driven by drivers who have claimed six world titles togehter: Yvan Muller four and José María López two times. Other Citroën C-Elysée WTCCs may be entered by the Sébastien Loeb Racing team for private drivers. Sebastien Loeb himself already started his new challenge – cross-country rallying. As we published, he will compete with Peugeot in 2016 FIA Cross-country World Cup. Before that, he will have a toughest test for all cross-country drivers – Dakar Rally.
“This marks the end of one chapter for me, but what I want to focus on today is my satisfaction at having participated in Citroën’s success in the WRC and WTCC. Apart from the figures and the records, we have shared some magnificent experiences together. It’s hard to believe that most of the members of this amazing team were already here fifteen years ago! I’ll miss their hunger for success and limitless motivation, but I won’t be far away… I’m staying within the PSA Peugeot Citroën group to take on a new challenge,” Sebastien Loeb said.