The Citroën Racing Total Abu Dhabi WRC Team had a great event over the weekend at Wales Rally GB where Craig Breen foot at the front all weekend just missing out on a podium finish coming home in fourth place.
Mads Ostberg finished the event in eighth place in the second C3 WRC and in a Q&A with the team following the rally, Team Principal Pierre Budar was asked:
What is your analysis of this year’s Wales Rally GB?
Above all, I’d like to highlight the performance of our team, who once again did a fantastic job, and our car. Not only was it perfectly reliable, especially on Saturday’s leg where the crews had to complete more than 150 kilometres of timed stages with no midday service, but it was also very competitive on these roads, which are always really difficult to read. On day two, for example, out of a total of nine stages, at least one of our C3 WRCs – if not both – finished in the top three on six occasions, winning one of the tests. Whilst our rivals fight it out for the titles at the end of this season, that shows that we are right in the mix, regardless of the racing conditions. The fact is the level of grip was pretty low on Saturday morning, before the roads dried out more in the afternoon, so it’s really pleasing we were so competitive.
You were very close to the podium this weekend…
Yes, having closed to just 1.7s of third placed on Saturday, we had to roll the dice and go for it on the final day and that is precisely what Craig did. The truth is that when you are pushing and committed at that level, it’s easy to make a minor mistake, especially on such a slippery road surface. In any case, I’m pleased that our crews showed a lot of fighting spirit throughout the weekend, never giving up despite having a road position on day one that could easily have ruined their chances of a good result. We’ll now focus on Spain, driven by this fighting spirit. We’ll work harder again to do even better there.
Budar was asked about Craig Breen’s performance:
Having witnessed Craig Breen’s performance at first hand this weekend, Thomas Breton, his race engineer, analysed the way in which the Irishman managed to stay in touch with the leaders on Friday (sixth, 48.8s off the pace), despite a less than ideal road position (11th), before going on the attack on Saturday…
Craig was very motived and relaxed at the start of the rally, focused purely on driving. Pretty quickly, he found that he was relatively close to the pace, without forcing it. He therefore realised that if he picked up his speed a little bit, he could really do something here. It’s a rally that he knows better than some of the others and to be honest, he’s just pretty good when the conditions are consistent like they were here, even if they’re very tricky! He never lost faith either, even when he set a time that wasn’t quite so good, because he tended to know why. Having said that, he has been stronger mentally for the last few rounds, but unfortunately that hasn’t been reflected in his results, because there’s always been something that has derailed his weekend. I think it’ll have done him the world of good to have been involved in a rally where he was fighting at the front. Since Rally Sweden, his hopes of achieving a strong points finish have often been dashed by minor incidents and disappointments on the Friday leg. This time, he can head for Spain in a more confident and relaxed mood!”