Citroën World Rally Team
This article needs to be updated.October 2018)(
|Full name||Citroën Total World Rally Team|
|Team principal(s)||Pierre Budar|
|Chassis||Citroën DS3 WRC|
Citroën C3 WRC
|World Rally Championship career|
|Constructors' Championships||8 (2003–2005, 2008–2012)|
|Drivers' Championships||9 (2004–2012)|
In 1998, following its withdrawal from Rally raid competition, Citroën Sport began competing in rallying with the Xsara Kit Car. Equipped with a 2L engine developing 280 hp more than 8 000 rpm, this car started competing in the French Rally Championship in 1998. At the wheel, Philippe Bugalski won drivers titles in 1998 and 1999, and Sébastien Loeb won the driver title in 2001.
In addition to the French championship, Citroën also entered the Xsara Kit Car on asphalt rounds of the World Rally Championship, Bugalski finishing fifth on the cars WRC debut on Rally Catalunya in April 1998, while Jesús Puras retired with engine problems. On Tour de Corse, Fabien Doenlen finished seventh and Patrick Magaud finished tenth. Bugalski retired with broken suspension. On Rallye Sanremo, Magaud finished 11th, Puras retired with engine problems and Bugalski crashed out.
In 1999, Bugalski and Puras were entered in Xsara Kit Cars on the three asphalt rallies again, and Bugalski won in Catalunya and Corsica, Puras finishing runner-up in Corsica.
For the 2002 season, Citroën contested 8 of the 14 Championship rounds. Sébastien Loeb and co-driver Daniel Elena provisionally won the season-opening Monte Carlo Rally but due to an illegal tyre change, received a time penalty demoting him to second. He later won his first rally at Rallye Deutschland. The team also got a third-place finish on the Safari Rally with Thomas Radstrom.
For 2003, Citroën entered their first full year in the World Rally Championship. They signed former World Champions Colin McRae and Carlos Sainz from Ford. Bugalski was also entered in a fourth car on asphalt rallies. The team won the first event of the season, Rallye Monte Carlo, with a 1–2–3 finish, with Loeb winning ahead of McRae and Sainz. Loeb also won Rallye Deutschland and Rallye Sanremo. Sainz won the Rally of Turkey. In their first full year, the team took the Manufacturers' championship, while Loeb finished second to Petter Solberg in the Drivers' championship. Sainz finished third and McRae was seventh.
Citroën reduced their team for 2004, dropping McRae. Loeb won the Monte Carlo Rally, the Swedish Rally, the Cyprus Rally, the Rally of Turkey, Rallye Deutschland and Rally Australia. Sainz won at Rally Argentina. Loeb won his first Drivers' championship. The team took the Manufacturers' championship. Sainz won on Rally Argentina and finished fourth in the standings.
For the 2005 season, the primary drivers were Loeb and François Duval. Due to a string of poor performances, Duval was replaced by Sainz for Turkey and Greece. Loeb won the Monte Carlo Rally, Rally New Zealand, Rally Italia Sardinia, Rally Cyprus, the Rally of Turkey, the Acropolis Rally, Rally Argentina, Rallye Deutschland, Rallye de France, and Rally Catalunya on his way to win the Drivers' Championship. Duval took his debut win at the Rally Australia. Citroën took the Manufacturers' championship.
For 2006, Citroën WRT took a one-year sabbatical, while developing a new car. Loeb was joined by Xavier Pons and third-driver Dani Sordo at the semi-privateer team Kronos Citroën, which received significant funding from Citroën Sport running their Xsara WRC cars. Sordo was soon promoted to second driver over Pons. Meanwhile, Loeb again won the Drivers' title, despite missing events in Turkey, Australia, New Zealand and Great Britain, after breaking his arm in a mountain biking accident. He was replaced by former world champion Colin McRae for Turkey, who was then replaced by Pons for Australia, New Zealand and Great Britain.
For the 2007 season, Citroën officially re-entered the World Rally Championship with the all new C4 WRC, driven by Loeb and Sordo. Loeb diced with Ford's Marcus Grönholm throughout the year, only securing his record-equaling fourth straight Drivers' title at the final event, the Rally GB. Loeb won in Monte Carlo, Mexico, Portugal, Argentina, Germany, Spain, France and Ireland. Sordo ended the season in 4th place. At the end of the season, Guy Fréquelin resigned as team principal, and was replaced by Olivier Quesnel.
Loeb and Sordo continued as the team's drivers, whereas drinks company Red Bull joined the team as main sponsor. At the 2008 Monte Carlo Rally, Loeb won, while  Sordo suffered engine trouble, and was forced to retire, rejoining under the Superally rules.
The season culminated in the team winning both the drivers' (Loeb) and manufacturers' titles ahead of, respectively, Mikko Hirvonen and Ford. In a typically dominant year after the retirement of Grönholm, Loeb's eleven wins for the season, including a last-day success at the season-ending Wales Rally GB over erstwhile leader, Jari-Matti Latvala's Ford Focus, broke his existing 2005 record (10) for the greatest number of wins for one driver in an individual season, as well as bringing his own career total of WRC rally victories to 47. A still winless Sordo, with 65 points, nevertheless accomplished third in the drivers' standings.
Loeb and Sordo were retained for the 2009 season. Loeb won the opening five events of the season, but suffered a mid-season drop in form and fell behind Mikko Hirvonen in the standings. However, he won the title by one point after winning the final two rounds of the season. Sordo finished third in the standings, scoring seven podium finishes, but still no wins.
Loeb and Sordo were retained again for the 2010 season. Loeb won in Mexico, Jordan, Turkey and Bulgaria. Citroën Junior Team driver and Citroën protégé Sébastien Ogier won in Portugal, increasing the pressure on the still-winless Dani Sordo. Loeb took again the driver's crown for the 7th time in a row, while Sordo managed 5th. Alongside Loeb, Sordo and Ogier's performances Citroën took yet another manufacturer title.
Loeb was joined by Ogier permanently for 2011, as he replaced Sordo. Ogier and Loeb took 5 wins each with the brand new Citroën DS3 WRC. Loeb finished again on top spot retaining his title for his 8th consecutive time while Ogier finished 3rd in the standings, Citroën also took the manufacturer crown.
After Ogier's departure to Volkswagen, Mikko Hirvonen, former Ford driver, was signed by Citroën for 2012 driving the second DS3 joining Loeb. Loeb took his first victory of the season on the 80th Monte Carlo Rally, and secured wins also in, Mexico, Argentina and Greece. Mikko Hirvonen also won the Rally de Portugal but he was disqualified thanks to his clutch and turbo being deemed illegal.
Red Bull dropped its sponsorship for 2013. The season started off with the Monte Carlo rally. Sébastien Loeb won what at the time seemed like his final Monte Carlo rally, whilst teammates Mikko Hirvonen and Dani Sordo were placed 5th and 3rd. In Sweden Hirvonen and Sordo both crashed out, and Loeb narrowly missed out on another win, as he was denied by fellow Frenchman Sébastien Ogier in the Volkswagen Polo R WRC. At Rally Guanajuato México Loeb (only competing in 4 rallies in his final WRC season) was absent and would not return until Rally Argentina. Sordo finished 4th with Hirvonen in 2nd. During the next event Dani Sordo pushed hard for his first victory, unfortunately whilst battling with Ogier he clipped a tree and that ended his challenge. Hirvonen then inherited a successive 2nd-place finish. The 33rd Rally Argentina would see the return of Loeb, who took a commanding final victory.
During the first stage of the Acropolis rally Hirvonen's steering rack failed and came loose resulting in Dani Sordo leading the challenge for Citroën. Sordo eventually finished 2nd. In Sardegna the team struggled to take the challenge to Volkswagen, Hirvonen's DNF and Sordo's 4th place was a disappointing result. Because of a disappointing first half to the season, the team decided to give Ulsterman Kris Meeke a chance with the 3rd Citroën DS3 WRC in Finland. Sordo finished 5th, and Mikko Hirvonen in 3rd, despite a high speed, 6th gear spin. Meeke was instantly on the pace of the WRC regulars, even though he was held up by Qatar World Rally Teams's Evgeny Novikov. His rally ended in trees, when he rolled at high speed with only 1 stage to run. After a strong showing by Meeke, it left Sordo under pressure to perform, as not to lose his seat with the team. Hirvonen finished 3rd in Germany, a good result on tarmac, his least favourite surface. Sordo determined to win was involved in rally long battle with Belgian Thierry Neuville and Finn Jarri-Matti Latvala. It all went down to the final stage, Sordo held a slim lead, but held on to win his first ever WRC event. It also meant that the only Team to win ADAC Rallye Deutschland since its inception to the WRC in 2002, where the Citroën World Rally Team.
Meeke competed in Australia filling in for Sordo. Hirvonen had another consistent rally, but losing dropping from 2nd to 3rd on the final stage due to a puncture. Meeke yet again showed strong pace only to destroy his Citroën DS3 WRC after rolling down a steep bank. Rallye de France-Alsace would be the final rally of Sébastien Loeb's WRC career. The rally would see many different leaders and a rally long battle between, Loeb, Sordo, Ogier, Latvala and Neuville. Loeb's final rally ended disappointingly when he rolled the car into trees on the final morning. Sordo caim close to another win but missed out to Ogier. The next round in Catalonia would yet again see Sordo challenging for victory but broke the front left suspension on his car. Hirvonen managed to finish 3rd on the event. On the final event of the season Wales Rally GB, 2014 WRC2 champion and ex-F1 racer Robert Kubica made his WRC car debut. He rolled during the Hafren stage on Friday morning, and subsequently rolled again on the Dyfi stage Saturday morning. Mikko Hirvonen had a massive accident on the Myherin stage, which destroyed the car, luckily he and co-driver Jarmo Lehtinen were uninjured. Sordo had a disappointing final rally for the Citroën Team finishing 7th after a time penalty early on in the event.
Citroën Racing was ranked second at the Championship, collecting height podiums during the season. It was their first winless season after 13 successful seasons in a row.
Østberg and Meeke continued as factory drivers. Loeb made a guest appearance in the Monte Carlo rally. He challenged Ogier for win at first but punctured his tyre. Also Citroën's protege Stéphane Lefebvre drove for manufacturer points in Rally Australia, replacing injured Østberg, and he also drove a few rallies in the third factory car. Al-Qassimi drove several races during the season again.
Citroën's highlight of the season was absolutely Rally Argentina. All three VW drivers retired due to engine problems, and Meeke scored his career-first WRC victory. Østberg finished second and Al-Qassimi scored his season-best sixth place.
After the season, Citroën announced that they would withdraw from the 2016 championship, to use all their resources to developing their 2017 car.
In preparation of the 2017 season, Citroën took a sabbatical to develop C3 WRC. Meanwhile, semi-works Abu Dhabi Total WRT participated in eight European rallies. Meeke, who had signed a three-year contract with Citroën, Lefebvre and Al-Qassimi drove some races, as well as Craig Breen.
After the 2019 WRC season, Citroen announced that they would be leaving the series after 21 years of competition.
Citroën ZX Rally Raid, 5 times World Champion of Rally Raid
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