Superbike World Championship- Australia (Philip Island)

A Flying Start to the Season

Jonathan Rea didn’t go in for half measures in Australia for the first event in the 2017 Superbike World Championship. Winner of both races during the weekend, the reigning twin world champion has confirmed he’s the boss of the discipline

The Races

Like last season, Jonathan Rea won the two races held on the Phillip Island circuit. The Kawasaki rider is also the first to have won four times in a row on the Australian track.

This weekend, winning was a question of strategy, It was a bit like a bike race, with everyone waiting to see what the others had up their sleeves…  It was warmer than during the test sessions at the start of the week and we were running a little blind in terms of settings, not knowing what to expect for the final laps … Nobody wanted to take control of the race.

Jonathan Rea

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The Brit managed the situation well by attacking at exactly the right time. Now with forty wins to his credit, Rea is not far from forty-three victories scored by Noriyuki Haga. On a circuit that has never been one of his favourites, Tom Sykes for his part finished third and then sixth

For me a podium at Phillip Island is like winning on another circuit.

Tom Sykes

For his debut race in the Superbike category, Randy Krummenacher finished tenth in the first race. The next day, the Swiss rider unfortunately left the track to avoid Russo who had fallen under his wheels. Krummenacher only made it back to sixteenth place.

In Supersport, Kenan Sofuoglu failed to make the start for the Australian race. Having injured a wrist this winter, the five-time world champion dislocated a thumb during the test sessions at the start of the week and had to forgo riding at Phillip Island. Kyle Ride finished fourth and Canducci fourteenth.

The Championship

With his two victories, Jonathan Rea and left Australia with a ten-point lead over Chaz Davies. Tom Sykes is ranked fourth overall, on equal points with the third-placed contender, Alex Lowes. With the six points he scored, Randy Krummenacher now ranks fourteenth. In Supersport, for the time being the championship standings remain what they were after the first race of the season. Ryde is sixth and Canducci fourteenth.

The Background

To make the show even more spectacular, the promoters of the World Superbike Championship decided that the starting grid for Sunday’s race this year would not be based on the Superpole classification, but on that of the race on Saturday. But it is not the winner who starts from pole position. The top three finishers are given the third line, the first and third exchanging their positions. The riders who finished the first race in the fourth, fifth and sixth positions are promoted to the first line, and those who finished seventh, eighth and ninth start from the second line. From the tenth finisher onwards, the starting positions continue to be based on the Superpole classification.

On some circuits, that may complicate the life of the winner of the first race.

Jonathan Rea

But that was not the case for him in Australia.

DS Virgin racing’s pechito packs a punch in Buenos AIres

Press Release – Summary of the week-end, Buenos Aires, 19th February 2017


  • DS Virgin Racing had high hopes for a good day after very positive performances from its drivers during the free practice sessions
  • Early collision saw Sam effectively out of the race by lap 5
  • Jose Maria Lopez battled from 18th to 10th in a heroic mid-pack fight to score a valuable point for DS Virgin Racing

DS Virgin Racing entered Buenos Aires feeling bullish ahead of the 3rd race of the season. Sam Bird had won on the same track last year, whilst Jose Maria Lopez as the sole Argentinian in the series was the clear crowd favourite. The day however brought mixed fortunes.

Early practice sessions kept team spirits high, with Jose Maria setting the quickest time in FP1 and Sam Bird setting the quickest time in FP2. Changeable grip conditions during qualifying however resulted in Sam lining up in 10th on the starting grid, whilst Lopez hit a wall during qualifying meaning he started the race from 18th.

From the green light however both drivers made it clear they were up for the fight, Bird immediately moving up one place to 9th while Lopez narrowly avoided Graham Carroll, sliding into 17th shortly before a full course yellow halfway through lap 2. By Lap 4 a coming together on a corner saw Bird’s DSV-02 sandwiched against a wall, with critical damage to his rear left suspension. Bird limped through lap 5 and pitted with the intention of moving immediately into his second car in an attempt to salvage something from the race by trying to set the fastest lap.

Once out on track Sam almost achieved this, setting the fastest lap time until it was pipped by Felix Rosenqvist in the latter stages of the race. Thereafter Sam continued to put in the quick laps until a slippery track led to a coming together with the wall towards the latter stages of the race.

Meanwhile Jose Maria Lopez rocketed into action, chasing and passing Nick Heidfeld through lap 17 into 15th. He then moved within yards of Daniel Abt, showing a developing skill for energy management as he opted to stay out through lap 19 as most of the pack pitted, eventually returning to the pits himself on a nail biting 1% battery on lap 20.

Rejoining the race, lap 22 saw Lopez move up to 14th, mounting a second attack on Venturi’s Stephane Sarrazin who he’d jockeyed with in the earlier stages. The crowd were on their feet by lap 31 as a battle erupted between Antonio Felix da Costa, Sarrazin and Lopez, with cars 3 abreast around turns and Lopez making two bold attempts on inside overtakes and successfully moving through Sarrazin into 13th on lap 32, before going past Robin Frijns up to 11th and eventually 10th place by lap 36. Sebastien Buemi took the chequered flag, with Jean-Eric Vergne second and Lucas Di Grassi 3rd.

Team Principal Alex Tai stated:
It was a tough day on the track for Sam, he showed great pace in the early sessions and had the racing incident been avoided I am sure he would have scored well. I’m delighted with the continuing development of Pechito, the racer in him was truly evident today, I am confident that we will see him gaining racing honours this season. I would also like to thank DS Performance and our engineering team for the continued progression in the pace of our car, if we ca keep this focus the results will come.

This was a positive race for Pechito.
said DS Performance director Xavier Mestelan Pinon.
His energy management skill in the late pitting shows his rapid progression as a Formula E driver in just his 3rd race. Meanwhile, whilst Sam’s raceday was unfortunate, his lap times early in the race, combined with Pechito’s latter race pace shows the pace of our DSV-02 car.

Speaking of the race, Jose Maria Lopez said
I enjoyed moving through the pack today in front of a home crowd. I have renewed confidence in my energy management, and I’m growing in confidence and aggression with every minute I spend in the DSV-02.

Today was just one of those things, said Sam Bird.
However, I was pleased with the pace of the car in the early stages. Let’s hope I can take the fight further in Mexico City!

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DS Performance prefers TOTAL !

PRESS RELEASE – Versailles, 14th February 2017


  • Within the framework of the global agreement renewed until 2021 between Total and the PSA group, Total will support DS Performance in its commitment to the FIA Formula E Championship.
  • A direct beneficiary of Total’s experience will be the DSV-02, the all-electric single-seater racing car designed by DS Performance.
  • This partnership focuses on the development of dedicated products, lubricants and fluids allowing to improve the car’s efficiency in terms of power, as well as reducing the quantity of energy it consumes.

Today’s association is the latest chapter in the collaboration between DS and Total which dates back to the 1960s when Total developed a lubricant and fluids for the celebrated DS.

As of the next ePrix in Buenos Aires (February 18, 2017), the DSV-02 will benefit from a transmission lubricant tailor-formulated by the engineers of the Total Research Center at Solaize (CReS). This product allows the optimization of the efficiency of the gearbox and thus the lowering of the energy consumption of the car. In the short term, Total will also offer the team other products currently under development, including fluids designed to optimize the cooling system of the electric motor and its inverter, thereby achieving valuable savings in the amount of electrical energy used by the DSV-02 and facilitating performance management during races.

Xavier Mestelan Pinon, Director, DS Performance, says:
“DS Performance is in Formula E because the series offers a scope for research that no other form of motorsport can currently match. At this stage in the DSV-02’s development, we are exploring solutions to the different constraints we face. Total needs no introduction and our association with them has already harvested valuable efficiency-related gains. The lubricants, fluids and greases Total’s engineers have developed will bring a real plus in terms of performance and are also allowing us to push our own research work even further.”

“Formula E embodies the sporting expression of the evolution of the automotive industry with regard to the energy mix,”
said Pierre-Gautier Caloni, Director of Total Competition & Sponsoring.
“The values of this championship are shared by Total. This partnership with DS Performance will enable our engineers to design, develop and test specific lubricants, fluids and greases under extreme stress conditions. Ultimately, technology transfer will enable electric vehicle owners to benefit from these products. Indeed, at Total, the same researchers formulate the competition products and those for the general public. A real “best-practice” laboratory, Formula E brings real added value to the mobility of all”.

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Rally Sweden – Day 3

Craig Breen and Scott Martin finished fifth in their Citroën C3 WRC, meeting the target set for them at this year’s Rally Sweden. Meanwhile, Kris Meeke and Paul Nagle put their first points on the board in finishing fourth in the Power Stage, whilst also ensuring both Citroën Total Abu Dhabi WRT cars scored points in the Manufacturers’ championship. Last but not least, Stéphane Lefebvre and Gabin Moreau concluded a promising weekend in eighth place.

– The final leg of Rally Sweden resembled something of a sprint finish, with three stages covering less than 60km. After two runs on Likenäs, the event concluded with Torsby 2, also serving as the Power Stage.

– After dragging themselves into the top 5 on day two, Craig Breen and Scott Martin’s aim was to hold onto this position. They set about the job in hand by adopting a balanced approach, between going for speed and avoiding taking risks.

– At the end of the Power Stage, Craig Breen could take some satisfaction from meeting the target set for him by the team before the start. Thanks to two fifth-place finishes in Monte-Carlo and here in Sweden, the Irishman stays in the same position in the Drivers’ World Championship.

– Out of the top 10 in the overall standings, Kris Meeke was aiming to end the rally on a high and finish in the top five on the Power Stage. The Northern Irishman showed his turn of speed to finish fourth, which saw him score his first points of the season. And by making it to the end of Rally Sweden, Kris Meeke and Paul Nagle ensured both of the Citroën Total Abu Dhabi WRT’s C3 WRCs scored points for the Manufacturers’ standings.

– Meanwhile, Stéphane Lefebvre and Gabin Moreau ended a solid weekend in eighth position overall. Despite a bit of a moment at the start of SS16, the young Frenchmen were all smiles at the finish. In a previous generation car, Stéphane Lefebvre gathered some useful experience in only his second appearance at Rally Sweden.

– At Rally Mexico (9-12 March), Citroën Total Abu Dhabi WRT will be entering two C3 WRCs for Kris Meeke/Paul Nagle and Stéphane Lefebvre/Gabin Moreau.

YVES MATTONYVES MATTON (CITROËN RACING TEAM PRINCIPAL)
“The good work of our young drivers is what we have to take away from this Rally Sweden. Given their respective level of experience, they more than met our expectations. Although they made some minor mistakes, they didn’t let that prevent them from getting a good result at the end. We are all very aware of what we need to do to improve and be competitive. We are going to work even harder in preparation for the upcoming events.”

CRAIG BREENCRAIG BREEN
“I’m pleased to have made it to the finish and to score my first points for a factory team! It was a pretty cool weekend, even though we weren’t always completely happy with our performance level. We have to move on. The Citroën C3 WRC has so much potential and I can’t wait to be driving it again!”

KRIS MEEKEKRIS MEEKE
“We haven’t finished were we wanted to be. We have a lot of work to do and we need to analyse all the information that we’ve collected so we can improve. After two winter events, we’re now going to switch to gravel and so the next test session will obviously be very useful. It’s hard for me to feel confident after two difficult rallies, but I’m not about to give in.”

STÉPHANE LEFEBVRESTÉPHANE LEFEBVRE
“I feel like I really learned how to drive on snow this weekend. The first day gave me chance to get my bearings. Yesterday, I was at a disadvantage due to my road position but I still managed to improve before confirming my progress today. I think we did a lot of good work, especially on making the most of the tyres and managing tyre pressure. It was a very positive weekend for us, with some very useful information for us for the future.”

CLASSEMENT FINAL PROVISOIRE

1. Latvala / Anttila (Toyota Yaris WRC) 02:36:03.6
2. Tanak / Jarveoja (Ford Fiesta RS WRC) +29.2
3. Ogier / Ingrassia (Ford Fiesta RS WRC) +59.5
4. Sordo / Marti (Hyundai i20 WRC) +2:11.5
5. Breen / Martin (Citroën C3 WRC) +2:51.2
6. Evans / Barritt (Ford Fiesta RS WRC) +5:26.6
7. Paddon / Kennard (Hyundai i20 WRC) +5:31.2
8. Lefebvre / Moreau (DS 3 WRC) +7:14.7
9. Tidemand / Andersson (Skoda Fabia R5) +9:11.1
10. Suninen / Markkula (Ford Fiesta R5) +10:02.9
11. Veiby / Skjaermoen (Skoda Fabia R5) +10:18.5
12. Meeke / Nagle (Citroën C3 WRC) +10:28.7

WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS (UNOFFICIAL)

DRIVERS
1. Jari-Matti Latvala – 48 points
2. Sébastien Ogier – 44 points
3. Ott Tanak – 33 points
4. Dani Sordo – 25 points
5. CRAIG BREEN – 20 points
6. Elfyn Evans – 18 points
7. STEPHANE LEFEBVRE – 10 points
8. Thierry Neuville – 8 points
9. Hayden Paddon – 7 points
10. Andreas Mikkelsen – 6 points
11. Jan Kopecky – 4 points
12. Juho Hanninen – 3 points
13. Pontus Tidemand – 2 points
14. KRIS MEEKE – 2 points

MANUFACTURERS
1. M-Sport WRT – 73 points
2. Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT – 53 points
3. Hyundai Motorsport – 40 points
4. Citroën Total Abu Dhabi WRT – 26 points

Rally Sweden – Day 2

Since the start of the 2017 season, it seems that every day of the WRC has provided its fair share of drama. And today’s penultimate leg of Rally Sweden proved to be no exception! In the Citroën Total Abu Dhabi camp, Kris Meeke lost time and was replaced in the top 5 by his team-mate, Craig Breen. Both Citroën C3 WRCs remain in the race, as is Stéphane Lefebvre, who lies eighth overall ahead of the final day.

– Today’s leg featured seven stages: two runs each on Knon, Hagfors and Vargåsen, followed by a return trip to Karlstad for the evening’s super special stage. After the morning loop was completed at an average speed of more than 137kph, the organisers nevertheless decided to cancel Knon 2 on safety grounds.

– Having started the day fourth overall, Kris Meeke lost a place on the opening stage, SS9. Although he was happy enough with his driving and his Citroën C3 WRC, the Brit was unable to match the pace of the leaders. He held onto fifth place until SS14.

– Kris missed a corner on the Vargåsen stage and fell into a snow-filled ditch. It took a handful of brave spectators eight minutes to get him out and on his way again! Kris Meeke and his co-driver Paul Nagle ended the day in 12th place in the overall standings.

– Craig Breen and Scott Martin were determined to have an error-free day today, and started the leg well as they moved up into seventh position on SS7. Gradually improving their pace, the crew’s consistency paid off over the course of the afternoon. The problems affecting their team-mates and then the rally leader Thierry Neuville meant they ended the day in the top five of the overall standings!

– Competing in a previous generation car, Stéphane Lefebvre was running second in the starting order. He therefore found himself sweeping snow from the racing line throughout the morning. Ninth at the mid-leg point, he lost a place on SS13, after hitting a snow bank on the last corner! The end-of-day drama nonetheless saw Stéphane and Gabin Moreau move back up into eighth overall.

– The final leg of Rally Sweden is held tomorrow and features three speed tests, including the Power Stage, which now awards bonus points to the top five finishers. The rally is scheduled to finish in Torsby from 1.00pm.

YVES MATTONYVES MATTON (CITROËN RACING TEAM PRINCIPAL)
“Craig’s goal was to have an error-free day and he managed to do just that, as well as making it into the top 5. He is therefore on course to secure a convincing result, in line with the target set before the rally. With his starting position, Stéphane had to sweep the fine layer of fresh snow off the racing line. It was a useful experience, but it wasn’t easy for him to show what he can do. Despite a minor error on the final stage, he had a pretty good day. Kris’ mistake is unfortunate, but he is still on course to score points in the Manufacturers’ World Championship.”

 

CRAIG BREENCRAIG BREEN
“It was a good learning experience for us today. I tried to keep it clean so as to avoid making any silly mistakes. The afternoon was a bit more mixed: I had a good feeling on the Hagfors stage, but not so much on Vargåsen, where I was struggling to keep the car on the road. I’m pleased to be in the top 5 and I’ll try to keep it going right to the finish.”

 

KRIS MEEKEKRIS MEEKE
“This morning, I had the impression I was driving well on the stages but my times weren’t good enough to hold onto fourth place. I got caught out on the second run on Vargåsen: the rear snapped away from me coming into a left-hander and I couldn’t turn in. We went off the side of the road and got stuck in the snow. Thanks to the spectators for helping us so we could finish the day!”

 

STÉPHANE LEFEBVRESTÉPHANE LEFEBVRE
“The first loop was difficult, because I was second on the road and had to contend with sweeping the five centimetres of fresh snow on the racing line. My pace notes weren’t perfect either, so I also used the morning to make a few corrections. In the afternoon, I lost about thirty seconds after hitting a snow bank. The rest of the leg went well and I’m pleased to be in eighth place overall.”


 

STANDINGS AFTER DAY 2

1. Latvala / Anttila (Toyota Yaris WRC) 2:04:59.3
2. Tanak / Jarveoja (Ford Fiesta RS WRC) +3.8
3. Ogier / Ingrassia (Ford Fiesta RS WRC) +16.6
4. Sordo / Marti (Hyundai i20 WRC) +1:39.5
5. Breen / Martin (Citroën C3 WRC) +2:04.5
6. Evans / Barritt (Ford Fiesta RS WRC) +3:44.7
7. Paddon / Kennard (Hyundai i20 WRC) +5:00.2
8. Lefebvre / Moreau (DS 3 WRC) +5:37.0
9. Tidemand / Andersson (Skoda Fabia R5) +6:36.7
10. Suninen / Markkula (Ford Fiesta R5) +7:52.9
11. Veiby / Skjaermoen (Skoda Fabia R5) +7:58.2
12. Meeke / Nagle (Citroën C3 WRC) +9:09.2

 

Rally Sweden – Day 1

– The rally got underway on Thursday evening with a first run on the Karlstad racecourse super special stage. Kris Meeke was the top performer in the Citroën clan, setting the seventh fastest time.

– After returning to Torsby to spend the night in parc ferme, the cars set off early this morning to tackle an opening loop of three stages: Röjden, Hof-Finnskog and Svullyra. In the afternoon, the itinerary included a second run on these three stages, before the leg concluded with a run on the Torsby stage.

– Kris Meeke began the day well: the Northern Irishman set the second fastest time on SS2 to move up into third overall. He remained in third position throughout the morning, before being overtaken by Tanak due to a minor error on SS5.

– It took the no.7 C3 WRC driver two stages to reclaim third place. However, with his tyres having lost most of their studs by the end of the day, he was unable to hang onto a podium spot. He returned to the service park fourth overall, 2.1s down on the third-placed driver.

– Ninth after SS2, Craig Breen gained another place on the next stage. He remained eighth until the end of the day, despite a few incidents, such as breaking a front damper when he hit a rock (SS4) and a spin (SS6).

– The day also went pretty well for Stéphane Lefebvre and Gabin Moreau, who crept into the top 10 in their previous generation car. An error-free performance from the French driver saw him make good progress on his first Rally Sweden in a WRC.

– Tomorrow’s leg will once again feature seven timed stages, covering a total of 125km. Tens of thousands of spectators are expected to gather at Colin’s Crest, the iconic jump on the Vårgasen stage!

YVES MATTONYVES MATTON (CITROËN RACING TEAM PRINCIPAL)
“I think we can be pleased that all three of our cars are in the top 10 tonight. The pace was frantic out there, with a few mistakes being made by many of the crews but we remain well-placed to secure a good result in Sweden. Kris is fighting for a place on the podium and I think Craig has the potential to move up a place or two by being more consistent. Stéphane also had a good day, considering his limited experience here.”

 

KRIS MEEKEKRIS MEEKE
“After a good morning, I lost time in the afternoon. On SS5, I dropped about fifteen seconds stuck in a snow bank. The car hit a bump, we ran wide on the next corner and were lucky not to lose more. On the final stage, I had no grip. My tyres were completely shot, they had lost most of their studs. But we’re still in contention for a place on the podium, so I still feel positive.”

 

CRAIG BREENCRAIG BREEN
“It hasn’t really been our day today! I made a series of mistakes, I damaged certain parts of the bodywork and I lost some of the aero package. It’s incredible what a difference the aerodynamics of the C3 WRC make. Despite all that, we’re still in the race, less than a minute off sixth place.”

 

STÉPHANE LEFEBVRESTÉPHANE LEFEBVRE
“It’s been a good day, I think I’ve made quite a lot of progress on this surface. This morning, maybe I was driving a bit too much in the middle of the road, not daring to use the little snow banks on the side of the road. I enjoyed myself a bit more on the second pass. I would like to push more to close the gap to the guys ahead, but the risk with that is you end up being less effective. You have to find the right balance, but I think we’re heading in the right direction.”


 

STANDINGS AFTER DAY 1

1. Neuville / Gilsoul (Hyundai i20 WRC) 1:16:24.7
2. Latvala / Anttila (Toyota Yaris WRC) +28.1
3. Tanak / Jarveoja (Ford Fiesta RS WRC) +49.7
4. Meeke / Nagle (Citroën C3 WRC) +51.8
5. Ogier / Ingrassia (Ford Fiesta RS WRC) +55.7
6. Paddon / Kennard (Hyundai i20 WRC) +1:17.8
7. Sordo / Marti (Hyundai i20 WRC) +1:40.3
8. Breen / Martin (Citroën C3 WRC) +1:54.3
9. Evans / Barritt (Ford Fiesta RS WRC) +3:01.6
10. Lefebvre / Moreau (DS 3 WRC) +3:23.6

Rally of Sweden

For the second round of the season, the FIA World Rally Championship competitors will be tackling the only full winter event on the calendar. On the frozen, snow-covered roads of Rally Sweden, Kris Meeke/Paul Nagle and Craig Breen/Scott Martin will be hoping to slide the Citroën C3 WRC to success!

RALLY SWEDEN: SLIDING ALL THE WAY

Part of the World Rally Championship calendar since it began in 1973, Rally Sweden is one of the season’s unmissable rounds. Even when temperatures drop to close to -30°C – which is unlikely to be the case this year – large numbers of fans still flock to the stages to see the drivers deploy their acrobatic talents to keep their cars on the road. The WRCs flirt with the snow banks as they drift around corners at full speed, providing an unforgettable show for the spectators! According to the drivers, the grip offered by the studded tyres provides a genuinely unique feeling…

The 2017 running of the event includes a number of new features, with the service park now moved to Torsby airport. This configuration means that more than half of the itinerary has been revamped and the competitors will tackle several brand new speed tests. Following Thursday evening’s traditional super special stage at the Karlstad racecourse, the crews will head across the border into Norway on Friday’s leg. Röjden will be the only stage this season to be contested in two different countries! On Saturday, the highlight will obviously be Vargåsen and the infamous long jump contest held at Colin’s Crest. The rally concludes around lunchtime on Sunday, after the Torsby Power Stage.

THE CHALLENGES: KEEP MOVING FORWARD

Packed with incidents and drama, the Rallye Monte-Carlo certainly confirmed how evenly-matched the field is in 2017 and the highly spectacular nature of the new generation of World Rally Cars. For Citroën Total Abu Dhabi WRT, the opening round of the season did not however meet the team’s high expectations. Two short weeks have provided time to analyse the reasons for the disappointing results in the south of France and to fine tune preparations for Sweden.

Having conducted an initial test session in early January, the team will continue – as planned – development of the Citroën C3 WRC this weekend, on road surfaces that resemble those used during the rally as closely as possible.

Once again, two cars nominated to score points in the Manufacturers’ World Championship will be competing at this round. Alongside Kris Meeke and Paul Nagle, Craig Breen and Scott Martin will be making their competitive debut in the C3. Meanwhile, Stéphane Lefebvre/Gabin Moreau will be competing in a car from the previous generation.

After having matched the pace of the top drivers last year, Kris Meeke lines up in Sweden aiming for victory. Eighth in 2016, on his first rally in a WRC with Citroën Racing, Craig Breen will also be looking for a very good result at one of his favourite events.


 

YVES MATTONYVES MATTON, CITROËN RACING TEAM PRINCIPAL
“As soon as we returned from Monaco, the team got to work in a calm and determined fashion. Analysis of the Rallye Monte-Carlo showed that our poor performance stemmed from a series of isolated incidents, more often than not unpredictable, rather than a major underlying problem. We take some comfort from that point of view and we remain confident about our potential. In Sweden, we are obviously hoping for a better result. Once again, Kris Meeke will be aiming to win, whilst Craig Breen will need to learn and improve on his first rally with the C3 WRC. We’ll still only have two cars nominated to score points in the Manufacturers’ World Championship, but we hope we can make up some ground in the standings.”

 

LAURENT FREGOSILAURENT FREGOSI, TECHNICAL DIRECTOR
“Over the years, we have learned to cope with the specific challenges posed by this rally. The settings are different to those used on gravel and we have noted in testing that the C3 WRC responds well with our usual solutions. If the conditions deteriorate, with less snow and ice, we will need to be able to adjust the set-up, adapting the suspension to the ruts that form on the racing line. In those sorts of conditions, the tyre’s studs tend to break, so we would need to limit this phenomenon by making changes to certain settings. As the cars cover more ground, snow tends to build up on the car and the increased weight can reduce performance. We took this into account when we designed the bodywork, but this phenomenon remains inevitable.”

 

KRIS MEEKEKRIS MEEKE
“After a disappointing Monte-Carlo, both for me and the team as a whole, it’s difficult to feel fully confident coming into Rally Sweden. We have learned the lessons from the opening round and we’ll come back stronger at the upcoming events. It’s a long season. I’m happy to be back at one of my favourite rallies. In theory, I come here aiming to win, but we know that everyone’s performance level will depend in large part on the weather conditions. If it snows before the rally, my starting position for the first leg will be ideal. On the other hand, if we have a mild spell that melts the ice, then my chances would be reduced. We’ll do our very best.”

Number of appearances at the event: 3
Best result: 7th (2015)

 

CRAIG BREENCRAIG BREEN
“I’m very excited about making my competitive debut with the Citroën C3 WRC! I can’t wait to get started. This is something that I’ve been waiting for all my life. I have good memories from this rally, not least the 2016 event, which was my first WRC outing with Citroën. I’d also say that this surface is little bit more forgiving of minor mistakes, or at least that is the case when there are really compact snow banks! I feel confident in these surroundings, in the car and with the team. And although we don’t really know what to expect, I’m ready to rise to the challenge.”

Number of appearances at the event: 4
Best result: 8th (2016)

STÉPHANE LEFEBVRESTÉPHANE LEFEBVRE
“Rally Sweden is certainly the one where I have the most to learn, since I have only competed here once before, two years ago in the DS 3 R5. So from that point of view, I won’t be frustrated to be driving a previous-generation car. With the pressure off, I’ll be able to progress at my own pace. My aim will be to bounce back after a difficult Monte-Carlo. It’s difficult to make predictions or to set myself a specific target, but we’ll be looking to seize the slightest opportunity to score points.”

Number of appearances at the event: 1


 

THE TOTAL QUESTION: IS COMMERCIALLY-AVAILABLEPETROL DIFFERENT IN SUMMER AND WINTER?

Depending on the season, some properties do indeed change to adapt the differences in temperature. During the winter months, petrol needs to be more volatile, i.e. more flammable. On the other hand, the inclusion of light bases is limited in summer, to avoid harmful emissions related to evaporation and the formation of vapour locks that can disrupt start-up of the engine.


 

RALLY SWEDEN SCHEDULE

THURSDAY 9 FEBRUARY
8.00am: shakedown (Skalla)
8.04pm: Start of day 1 (Karlstad)
8.08pm: SS1 – Karlstad 1 (1.90km)
9.54pm: End of day 1 (Torsby)

FRIDAY 10 FEBRUARY
6.50am: Start of day 2 and service A (Torsby – 15 mins)
7.59am: SS2 – Röjden 1 (18.47km)
9.06am: SS3 – Hof-Finnskog 1 (21.26km)
10.20am: SS4 – Svullrya 1 (24.88km)
11.56am: Service B (Torsby – 30 mins)
1.20pm: SS5 – Röjden 2 (18.47km)
2.27pm: SS6 – Hof-Finnskog 2 (21.26km)
3.51pm: SS7 – Svullrya 2 (24.88km)
5.15pm: SS8 – Torsby 1 (16.43km)
5.55pm: Flexi Service C (Torsby – 45 min)

SATURDAY 11 FEBRUARY
6.54am: Start of day 3 and service D (Torsby – 15 mins)
8.08am: SS9 – Knon 1 (31.60km)
9.17am: SS10 – Hagfors 1 (15.87km)
10.08am: SS11 – Vargåsen 1 (14.27km)
11.29am: Service E (Torsby – 30 mins)
12.58pm: SS12 – Knon 2 (31.60km)
2.17pm: SS13 – Hagfors 2 (15.87km)
3.08pm: SS14 – Vargåsen 2 (14.27km)
5.45pm: SS15 – Karlstad 2 (1.90km)
7.41pm: Flexi Service F (Torsby – 45 min)

SUNDAY 12 FEBRUARY
6.35am: Start of day 4 and service G (Torsby – 15 mins)
7.55am: SS16 – Likenäs 1 (21.19km)
9.58am: SS17 – Likenäs 2 (21.19km)
12.18pm: SS18 – Torsby 2 (16.43km)
1.00pm: Podium (Torsby)