Citroen Racing ran into more trouble on day 3 of the Monte Carlo rally, the first World Rally Championship event of the 2017 season. On Thursday evening, Stephane Lefebvre ran into trouble with a broken suspension while on Friday, Kris Meeke ran off course on stage four retiring from the rally.
Meeke and Lefebvre will continue however in order for Citroen to collect manufacturer points. Speaking about the second day in Monte Carlo, team principal Yves Matton commented by saying:
It’s difficult to take any positives from today’s leg, with both our cars rejoining under Rally2 rules. Insofar as Kris was aiming to win the rally, he had to push. In fact, he was in second position when he went off. Fortunately, the car is virtually unscathed and he’ll be back in action tomorrow, this time to add to his experience. Otherwise, our two crews will be trying to score as many Manufacturers’ World Championship points as possible.
Kris Meeke commented by saying:
The conditions were difficult, as is often the case in Monte-Carlo. Some corners were covered with a layer of sheet ice and it was difficult to judge the level of grip. I got caught out on a left-hand corner. The car drifted towards the outside and the right-hand side of the car hit a bank. With the front suspension arm broken, we couldn’t go any further. It was disappointing for me and for the team. This is obviously not the sort of start we were hoping to make. Clearly, we can no longer aim for a good result, but we’ll keep going tomorrow to try and learn more about the C3 WRC.
Stephane Lefebvre who is 12th overall in C3 WRC, 11:32.1 behind leader Thierry Neuville commented by saying:
We started our race in earnest today. I was struggling a little bit to get to grips with the car in these conditions, which I have never experienced before. As we completed more stages, we learned a lot. I now have to find a bit more consistency and speed to reduce the gap to the leading drivers. To do that, I think I need to make better use of the studded tyres.
Waterford’s Craig Breen in the DS3 WRC ended Friday’s eighth stage in ninth place and is currently the leading Citroen in sixth place, 3:04.1 behind Neuville. Speaking following the day of action, Breen commented by saying:
I’m pleased. To be honest, I didn’t think I would be so close to the 2017 cars! We lost fifth place after a minor off, but it doesn’t matter. I’ve never felt so confident at this rally and we set some good times in what were very tricky conditions. We’re eager to keep up our good form tomorrow.