MADS ØSTBERG WINS WRC2 WORLD TITLE WITH THE C3 R5!
Mads Østberg and Torstein Eriksen wrapped up their fourth category win of the year at ACI Rally Monza to become WRC2 world champions in the C3 R5, whilst Marco Bulacia and Marcelo Der Ohannesian finished as runners-up in the WRC3 world championship.
- Held as part of the World Rally Championship for the first time and contested on roads around the famous racetrack, this year’s ACI Rally Monza promised to provide an unprecedented challenge. The fact that it was held on the first weekend of December made the event even more unpredictable, given the decidedly wintry weather in northern Italy. The crews had some very tough conditions to contend with, including snow and rain.
- However, the #C3R5Family, which featured a six-strong line-up (Østberg-Eriksen, Bulacia-Der Ohannesian, Rossel-Fulcrand, Ogliari-Ciucci, Lefebvre-Dubois and Somaschini-Zanchetta), proved it was more than capable of handling such conditions, as Østberg-Eriksen grabbed the WRC2 world championship title and Bulacia-Der Ohannesian finished as runners-up in the WRC3 world championship.
- Having already won three rounds of the WRC2 (Monte-Carlo, Sweden & Estonia) with the PH Sport C3 R5, Mads Østberg and Torstein Eriksen bagged their fourth win this year to seal a richly-deserved debut world title with Citroën. It was just reward for a very strong season, spent largely among the front-runners. Third at the end of Friday’s opening leg, the Norwegian crew excelled in the extreme conditions on Saturday, moving into the lead on the snow with two stage wins. They remained in pole position right to the finish, despite the high stakes.
- Winners in Mexico, runners-up in Turkey, fourth in Estonia and third in Sardinia in the Tagai Racing Technology C3 R5, Marco Bulacia and Marcelo Der Ohannesian saw their incredible consistency this season rewarded by second place in the WRC3 world championship, this time taking sixth in the category.
- Back in the C3 R5 here in Italy and despite a clear lack of time in the car, Stéphane Lefebvre and Thomas Dubois managed to up their pace gradually to take a fine seventh place in the RC2 class amidst contenders for the WRC2 and WRC3 titles. Yohan Rossel and Benoît Fulcrand, having also started well on Thursday, unfortunately ran into trouble early on Friday’s leg, losing substantial time in the process. This meant they spent the rest of the weekend hamstrung by being well down the running order, but nonetheless made it to the end of the rally. They could take some satisfaction from having added to their experience, whilst also producing the occasionally impressive moment (2nd overall in RC2 on SS11).
WHAT THEY SAID…
Didier Clément, Head of Customer Racing, Citroën Racing
“The RC2 world title brilliantly secured by Mads Østberg and Torstein Eriksen and the runner-up place in the WRC3 world championship for the promising youngster Marco Bulacia concludes what has been a season of achievements, wins and titles for our C3 R5. I'm very proud of this collective result because it is down to the tireless work of the development teams, the drivers, the co-drivers and the teams entering these cars. Our heartfelt congratulations to Mads who has had a superb season. He is a top level driver, with whom the entire team really enjoys working. Our congratulations also go to Yoann Bonato, who is one of the architects of this success story.”
Mads Østberg, WRC2 world champion with the C3 R5
“What an unbelievable feeling! I am really happy, especially as it was such a difficult weekend, with so many ups and downs all through the year. We were very much the underdogs in the championship but we won through persistence and thanks to the excellent development work done on the C3 R5. The whole team, both at Citroën Racing and PH Sport, did an amazing job throughout the season to get to where we are now!”
Bernard Piallat, PH Sport team manager
“Obviously, I'm delighted with the result, especially as it was far from being a foregone conclusion. This is PH Sport’s sixth world title in a Citroën, with Mads’ win adding to those of Sébastien Loeb in 2001, Dani Sola in 2002, Sébastien Ogier in 2008, Robert Kubica in 2013, Stéphane Lefebvre in 2014. The team, as usual, did an extraordinary job throughout the season and the upgrades introduced by Citroën Racing also paid off. Everything worked well. This weekend was no different, with good weather information provided by Météo France and excellent work done by the ice crews, in very tricky conditions.”
Marco Bulacia, WRC3 world championship runner-up with the C3 R5
“Apart from our two punctures, it was an excellent rally for us, insofar as we managed to be very quick in some very tricky sections, covered with snow and slush. Obviously, I would have loved to win the title but it is already a dream for me to finish as runner-up. We are going to learn a lot of lessons from this superb year and come back even stronger next season.”
Tamas Tagai, Tagai Racing Technology team manager
“It has been a long season, with a lot of uncertainty but it has been a truly incredible year with Marquito and Citroën! We’re proud to have been part of this amazing journey. Everyone has done their absolute utmost to achieve the best result possible. Congratulations to Marquito, Marcelo and to Citroën Racing, and to all the members of my team for the excellent job they have done throughout the year.”
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