They will take part in FIA World Touring Cars Championship (WTCC) with former champs Yvan Muller and Sebastien Loeb. They are also continuing their WRC programme with two very strong results out of two events held so far this year, featuring Mads Ostberg and Kris Meeke. They will also be involved in this year’s FIA Junior World Rally Championship, supplying cars and tech to the participating crews and teams. And some thought Citroën were leaving WRC… I did, I admit.
Yet, for now, they’re staying put and their right foot is firmly planted on the gas pedal. Sebastien Loeb may have switched from WRC battlefields to WTCC arenas, but Citroën’s rally team regrouped and they are, as far as drivers are concerned, extremely strong. It never made much sense for them to abruptly pull the plug on WRC and just leave, especially with JWRC and R5 projects in the works. Together with Abu Dhabi Racing they built a very strong and organized team in recent years and for now I feel as though they want to remain on the rally scene both for customer car programme as well as the main WRC assault, which helped Citroën rebuild brand’s image.
They will actually do the unthinkable this year and compete on two fronts in similar capacity, running works teams in two different championship series (admittedly, WRC programme being backed more by Abu Dhabi than by Citroën, but still, the company name is behind it all). In recent news Citroën Racing reps reiterated the company’s intention to stay faitful to WRC for at least another year, so whether WTCC is going to be their main objective or not, WRC team will be run and kept very much alive and in top shape. Multiple champions cannot afford anything less than that. For how long will they be able to run two programmes? Perhaps they want to make a smooth transition from one title winning series to the next, gradually reducing their WRC plan while boosting WTCC? Sounds a bit silly, doesn’t it.
There could and probably will be some changes in and around the WRC in the next 2 or 3 years, and few other companies may finally decide to bite the bullet and join the existing pack of manufacturer squads. For WRC fans around the world one of the best things about this is – Citroën will never be too far away. For now at least.