Citroen confident WRC problems in Monte won't return in Corsica
|By David Evans||Monday, April 3rd 2017, 11:17 GMT|
Citroen does not believe the issues that plagued it in the World Rally Championship season opener in Monte Carlo will reappear on the all-asphalt Corsica round.
After a 2016 sabbatical to develop its all-new C3 WRC, the French manufacturer suffered a tough return, with the C3 WRC struggling to make an impact in Monte Carlo and Sweden.
It regrouped to win on gravel in Mexico last month with Kris Meeke, and team principal Yves Matton denied the problems - linked mainly to suspension set-up - that affected Citroen in Monte Carlo could return on Corsica's stages similar in nature this week.
"The issues in Monte Carlo were specific, just like they were in Sweden," Matton told Autosport.
"We will make changes, but these will be for the Monte Carlo Rally next year.
"If we look for stages which are a little bit similar in nature to Corsica, they are the stages on Sunday in Monte Carlo and we could have made three fastest times then."
Citroen tested on the French island in late-March, with Matton praising Meeke's efforts to sort the car on sealed surfaces.
Meeke and Craig Breen drove the C3 for a day-and-a-half each, with Stephane Lefebvre spending one day in the 2017 car, of which Citroen will run three of in a rally for the first time in Corsica.
"Kris and the team has done a huge job on the evolution [of the car on asphalt]," Matton said.
"We focused last year on the gravel and so this was an important test for us, it was the first time we were able to work with the proper asphalt car.
"We knew we had a lot to do and we have been able to get through a lot of work, we are going in the right way with the car.
"I'm quite confident Kris will be able to fight for the win in Corsica.
"Of course, it will be tight with [Sebastien] Ogier and [Thierry] Neuville, but he showed last year that he has done a good step with his understanding of the Corsican roads.
"And, from what we have seen in the test, the level of the car shows he will be able to be at the front."
WIN REMOVES QUESTIONS
Citroen remains at the bottom of the manufacturers' championship after three rallies, but Matton concedes Meeke's Mexico victory eased mounting pressure.
"This rally shows us that we have a car that is reliable, we had approximately no problems on a rally which is very rough," he said. "And we have a car which has a good base for the gravel.
"As well as those points, I will say this result gives us the confidence and it gives us the chance to do our work without the pressure which we had from our two first rallies.
"We can do our work in the normal way and that's a relief; when the results don't follow the return on the work you put in, then you begin to question what is happening."