THE C3 R5 TAKES WRC2 CLASS WIN IN ESTONIA WITH ØSTBERG AND OVERALL VICTORY AT MONT-BLANC WITH BONATO!
Showing impeccable reliability and competitiveness once again, the C3 R5 took the honours in the WRC2 class this weekend at Rally Estonia, its third win this season driven by Mads Østberg, whilst also claiming its second victory in as many rounds of the French championship with Yoann Bonato.
- The #C3R5Family was in action on all fronts this weekend: there were some twenty-two C3 R5s competing in events throughout Europe, including five in Estonia at the resumption of the WRC and nine at the return of the French Rally championship in Morzine. This latter figure meant that Citroën was the manufacturer with the largest number of entries in the category on the slopes of Mont-Blanc, where no fewer than thirty R5s were competing.
- Having already won twice this season in the WRC2 (Monte-Carlo and Sweden) with Mads Østberg, the C3 R5 added a third victory to its collection – still with the Norwegian – at Rally Estonia on its first appearance on the world rally championship calendar. This was not Mads’ debut here, however. He had competed at the rally before (overall winner of the event in 2011 and 2012) and used all of his experience and talent to take the early lead on the ultra-fast stages. Only a puncture (SS4) slowed his progress temporarily, but he reclaimed the lead on SS6. He went on to dominate the rest of the rally, leading to the finish and winning an incredible fifteen of the seventeen stages. This third win in as many outings for the formidable team he has formed with the C3 R5 helped to strengthen their hold on the WRC2 championship.
- Meanwhile, despite their inexperience on these unusual roads and up against some competition from local drivers in the WRC3, Marco Bulacia, Nicolas Ciamin, Sean Johnston and Yohan Rossel nonetheless produced intelligent performances in the four other C3 R5s competing in Estonia. They gradually got to grips with the stages, finishing fourth, sixth, eighth and ninth in a category that featured twenty-two starters.
- After a dominant victory at Le Touquet in the C3 R5, Yoann Bonato strengthened his hold on the championship lead with a clear-cut and incident-free win at Rallye Mont-Blanc Morzine. The Isère driver grabbed the lead on SS2, not relinquishing it for the rest of the rally. The C3 R5 was so dominant that it won eight (five with Bonato, two with Gilbert and one with Franceschi) of the thirteen stages and also grabbed second place with Quentin Gilbert, a strong runner-up to Bonato.
- William Wagner and Pierre Roché finished seventh and eighth respectively to complete a fine overall result for the #C3R5Family in the French Alps. After a very good start and even setting the fastest time on SS2, Jean-Baptiste Franceschi – last year’s winner of the 208 Rally Cup and promoted to works driver in the C3 R5 this year – unfortunately then lost time with a puncture. He managed to fight back to eleventh place overall, however, after a strong race that saw him clearly up his game compared with Le Touquet.
WHAT THEY SAID…
Christophe Lecureux, CHL Compétition, winner of Rallye Mont-Blanc with Yoann Bonato (C3 R5)
“We had five C3 R5s competing here for Yoann Bonato, Jean-Michel Da Cunha, Laurent Lacomy, Philippe Greiffenberg and Maxime Lecureux. Preparations were made during August, which provided the everyone in the team with work to do and also helped to lift their spirits. We are absolutely delighted with the result in Morzine, because aside from Yoann’s win, which sees him extend his lead in the championship, none of our C3 R5s had any problems at all. Laurent Lacomy, who is a good amateur driver, was fighting for a place in the top fifteen before he ran into trouble. That proves that this car is genuinely accessible and that you can enjoy yourself and show your true worth in it.”
Mads Østberg, winner of the WRC2 in Estonia with the C3 R5
“Torstein and I were both very pleased to be back competing in the WRC this weekend in the C3 R5 after this long break. I hadn't raced here for eight years, and the itinerary of the rally was more technical, not quite as fast and with more jumps than I remembered, but there was the same atmosphere! Our in-competition test at Rally Liepaja in Latvia helped us to prepare for the fast roads in Estonia and we also used the event to keep working on the development of the car. All of that meant we had a very fast C3 R5 this weekend and were able to win the WRC2 class. We have therefore extended our lead in the standings ahead of the rest of the season.”
Marco Bulacia, fourth in the WRC3 with the C3 R5
“It was a super feeling to be back behind the wheel of a real C3 R5, after long months spent competing in virtual races. I'm pleased with my rally insofar as everything was completely new for me. I had never competed in such a fast event. I think it was probably even faster than Rally Finland. We needed time to adapt, both in terms of the pace notes and my driving. We are now second in the WRC3 and are going to keep fighting to maintain our position, or perhaps even move up the standings.”
Elisa de Crignis / +33 6 26 47 28 62
Cécile Estenave / +33 6 72 82 74 08