THE CITROËN C3 WRCs BREAK THE ICE
The Citroën C3 WRCs produced an assured performance during the Rally Sweden shakedown, with Craig Breen and Kris Meeke setting the second and fourth fastest times respectively. Everything is ready for the ceremonial start, which will be held this evening in Karlstad.
Contested on a 7.23km-long stage in Skalla, the Rally Sweden shakedown took place in good conditions. The road was covered with a good layer of ice, but the lack of snow left no room whatsoever for mistakes!
Since the tyres used during the shakedown are now included in the overall allocation for the rally, the Citroën crews chose to stick to the three mandatory runs.
Craig Breen and Scott Martin set the best performance for the Citroën Total Abu Dhabi WRT, with the second fastest time, a tenth of second off the lead pace. Kris Meeke and Paul Nagle also finished among the leaders. They ended fourth fastest in their C3 WRC, 6/10ths off the leading time.
Competing in a previous-generation car, Stéphane Lefebvre and Gabin Moreau made the most of the twisty section of the stage to keep pace with the 2017 WRCs and rack up an impressive eighth place.
The crews will now focus on preparing for the start of the rally, with the opening speed test held at the Karlstad racecourse. Following the 1.9km-long super special stage, contested from 8.08pm, the cars will then head for parc ferme in Torsby.
CRAIG BREEN: "I took it pretty easily on the first run. And then I said to myself that I could push a bit more because the confidence was there. In the end, I set a good time and I'm very happy about it! I’m pleased with how recce went for us. The conditions of the roads themselves are better than they have been for a good few years. We just don't have the snow banks! If you make a mistake, you can end up in a ditch pretty quickly…"
KRIS MEEKE: "I don't think you can read too much into the results of the shakedown. With the new rules on tyre allocation, some drivers decided not to push. Personally speaking, I wanted to drive fast to confirm my feeling in the car. That's what I did and I'm pleased with how it went. There are very good conditions on the roads. We now have to keep an eye on the sky and see if the snow begins to fall!"
STÉPHANE LEFEBVRE: "We were especially comfortable in the slow, twisty section, because our car weaved through the series of corners easily. I was pretty calm on the first pass and then I decided to push a bit more on the next couple of runs. I feel confident in the car and we had a good recce, so I can't wait to get started."