What Is Happening With Citroen In WRC And The Driver Market For 2019
2 years ago the FIA release news of a regulation change for the WRC and to many this seemed like a step forward. Half way through the 2016 season Citroen decided to focus on the 2017 season by taking Kris Meeke out of the seat for testing purposes. Citroen had recently ended their WTCC campaign and decided to use their research for WRC. The company looked set to succeed with more testing time than the other companies and a solid driver line up. Come the 2017 Season we were taken by surprise, When Citroen were quickly established at the back of the pack. Kris Meeke was the only driver to win in the car but he was continuously pushing over the limit. This became a problem come the 2018 season when he struggled to finish strong with only 1 podium and 2 DNFs which lead to Kris getting kicked out. The car appeared to be unstable on everything but tarmac where the research from the WTCC team came into its own. Sebastian Loeb competed in two rallies with the C3 but had issues both times when he was fighting for the lead. In this case it really seemed to be the car that didn't work, but what changed?
Mads Ostberg was originally brought in to replace Kris for a round but with a solid finish of 5th, Citroen decided to take him on full time. Before Rally Finland Craig Breen competed at Rally Estonia where the team tested a new "set up".
Breen came away stating he felt "confident" and why wouldn't he, when straight off the bat the team secured first and second In the shakedown for Rally Finland with some further "set up changes". Mads told Autosport "My boss asked me the same question: 'is it enough?' We did 50 clicks in the damper, changed the suspension here and diff there and... does it work? You only need one of these elements to be out and it's gone, but I do feel like we've got it right". They definitely did get it right with Mads fighting for the lead in the first full day of competition sand eventually coming away with a second place, this was the teams best result of the year.
Did It Just Take A Fresh Set Of Eyes?
Will Citroen Be Back In Their Title Contending Ways?
Well, Time will tell but what we do know is Citroen is now capable of podiums this season. Which is great as this could help intensify the championship with even more faces on the podium.
All Citroen need now is a strong third driver to help with the battle in the 2019 season. This will definitely spice up the driver market as a few drivers will be looking for a year contract and a few young stars are looking for a first break.
Hyundai currently have two drivers with a part season seat photo by: rallyreportwrc.com
Citroen will definitely want three competitive drivers as a result of the cars new found pace. Both Hyundai and Toyota have expressed interest in Meeke. Hyundai have two drivers on with a part season that will surely want a full season and Andreas Mikkelsen has a two year deal with Hyundai. The two Hyundai drivers sharing a part season will be ending their contract at the end of the year. Hyundai may not be able to afford to lose Hayden Paddon as he has made a massive impact on Hyundai's name in New Zealand by creating a new AP4 car with a capability to be sold as a result of the team winning recent NZRC events. Dani Sordo has worked with Citroen in the past and a move to Citroen would not be unexpected as Hyundai have stated they cannot afford to run four cars next year. Kris will play a big part in the driver market as both the teams that have expressed interest have a full driver line up.
Will any junior drivers make a move up? Please comment below
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