There’s A Right Way To Do Things

  • Alvin Kato

    I’ll be brash and say: “It’s about darn time someone wrote a piece about this!” because you share my very exact thoughts on this Jason. I told @revenger210:disqus the same thing once he tagged me in this shocker.

    Personally I feel Citroen are spoiled, they were spoiled my Loeb’s winning form and their miserable failures over the past years have them feeling ashamed at how low they’ve fallen. They forget that even Loeb too was nurtured to get to where he was.

    I currently loath Yves Matton with the same loath I had for Jahmo Mahonnen for introducing that stupid 2 day road sweeping rule. They both have something in common: they don’t know what its like to be strive for greatness as a driver. And the fact that they hold powerful and influential positions is really sad for the sport.

    I wish Kris had signed with Toyota. Makinen would never have done this to him, look at how patient he’s been with Juho Hanninen. Sad just sad.

    • Jason Anthony

      They definitely had the “perfect storm” with Loeb. Citroen got their hands on a “once in a lifetime” driver right at the start of his career and the start of their WRC program. It almost never happens like this, but like you said, they unfortunately came to expect it based on what happened from 2002-2012. I tell you what though… Toyota might have just played an absolute blinder by signing Lappi. Much like Loeb and Citroen, both Toyota and Lappi are in the very early days of their WRC careers… they could be the next dominant combination over the coming decade in the WRC!

      • Alvin Kato

        Yeah Lappi is the surprise for sure. A lot of people slept on him for sure, I being one of them(I wanted Andreas to get the seat!) but I guess am eating my words.
        I feel sad for all the drivers who thought they had a chance once Ogier retires :) they are going to have deal with Mr. Lappi!
        Let’s see how he performs in Poland now that he’s gotten confident in the car!

  • Constantijn Blondel

    First things first: I like Kris (well, part of him), and anyone who can throw a WRC car around the stages and get to the end, and win rallys, has absolutely zero to prove to me – respect to him and Peter.

    But – and a very big but: all things being equal, I really can’t blame Citroen here. As someone who loves the sport and doesn’t have any specific favorite driver, seeing Kris roll again, again, and again … and again … I mean seriously Kris, come on. I hate to say it, but I’m with Citroen because this is clearly going nowhere, and a ‘mutually agreed request to sit the next one out out’ in any case seems like a good idea both for the team and for Kris.

    IF it turns out it’s just a lame excuse to get Mikkelsen in, that’s another story, and I would disapprove of that, but so far it seems more like a “time out Kris, cool down and get yourself back together” to me than anything else. Until/unless it turns out otherwise in the future, my view is supported by the cold hard facts as well as the statements of everyone involved.

    So yeah, I think Citroen made the right decision. Here’s to Kris. Chill man, and get your shit together. Hope to see you back in winning form again very soon.

    • Jason Anthony

      I hear what you’re saying, and a lot of it makes sense. My only question is this… instead of yanking Kris out of the car for a rally, why not run him as a non-points entry? Craig Breen and Mikkelsen can shoulder the poniits scoring pressure and Kris can just work on getting out of the funk that he currently finds himself in. Hyundai did much the same thing with Thierry Neuville a few years back and it did wonders for his confidence. He was able to get his rhythm back and now look at him. I just don’t think that sitting out a rally will ever do anything beneficial for any rally driver. These guys rally… it’s what they do, and the only way for them to figure a way out of a mess like this is to get behind the wheel. Sitting at home is going to do nothing.

      In addition, the more cars Citroen has out on rallies, the more data they can pull to try to figure out what in the world is going on with the C3. They need all the mileage they can get right now!

      • Constantijn Blondel

        Yep, that’s a fair point. Very little else I can say about that :)

  • oregonwings

    I agree with you in principle, but I think it’s difficult to compare Malcolm and M-Sport with a manufacturer like Citroën. Malcolm’s drivers often come with some sponsor deals / money, so there is reason to keep them on. Also, since M-Sport is effectively a privateer-ish company, the decisions are Malcolm’s alone. At Citroën I’d assume Yves has to answer to a board of directors or the like. And we know how business works when numbers start to fall on Wall Street…businesses often make a dramatic change just for the sake of making it look like they are doing something even if that change doesn’t effectively solve the issue. They do this just to please the investors. So if Yves is answering to the manufacturer heads, he might not have a choice but to bench Kris even if that isn’t the best solution long term. Bean counters often only look to the most recent quarterly reports, likewise it seems Citroën is only looking at the most recent few rallies.

    • Jason Anthony

      All really good points Mike! Thanks for chiming in with your thoughts. I think that you are spot on when it comes to the differences between the organizational culture of M-Sport and Citroen. I know that it’s beginning to sound a bit cliche when we hear about the “family atmosphere” of M-Sport, but I really do think that there is something to that. For Malcolm and M-Sport, rallying is their passion… For Citroen, it’s a marketing campaign. You are absolutely right that once this is considered, there are going to be fundamental differences in the way decisions like these are made.

      By the way! How’d you like STPR? That’s my home rally and I usually volunteer on the medical side of things, but I ended up having to work that weekend and couldn’t go. Real bummer… it would have been awesome to meet you in person and talk rallying. Maybe next year!

      • oregonwings

        And for those that don’t like Yves Matton, it was Yves who put the backing behind Kris back in 2013 to give him a multi-year contract. So good on him for that. I think he was under outside pressure. The comment most peddled around the past couple of days is that “Kris is here to win rallies, not come in 5th” when comparing him to Breen. Yes and no. Citroen stated that this year was not the year they were planning on going for the championship. Great, then what is their goal. Well, it is apparent there are suspension issues with the car. That was clear in Sweden, the way the compression was handled in Argentina by both Craig and Kris, Craig bottoming out on that embedded rock last weekend, etc. The stage times are also very erratic where the drivers appear to be comfortable and competitive on one stage, and then way off the pace on another. So clearly something isn’t quite right. That said, if this is supposed to be the “test season” to bring about the scenarios that aren’t discovered during the year they spent developing the car, you have to still get the mileage and bring the car home, even in 7th or 10th place, just so they can use that data to fix the issues. Breaking the car on Day 1 accomplishes little. Yes, the other argument is that problems don’t necessarily occur unless you drive the car harder. True, but I don’t think going 10/10ths is required. If he just focused on staying in the middle of the road for a few rallies, that would be preferable to crashing out. On the bright side, he’s testing that new roll cage really well (ooh…I did just say that! LOL!).

        As for STPR, it was great! I really wish I had more time there as since it was very last minute. I didn’t have the time away from work to arrive early enough to do recce. Heck, just the description from the drivers was enough to make your eyes widen a bit! What I did see looked brilliant though, and the organizers put on a great event (especially the food! That was awesome!). Would have been great to meet you in person. Damn day jobs! Any plans to maybe go up to NEFR?

        • Jason Anthony

          After enduring the freezing cold of Perce Neige and then the high altitude of Rally Mexico, I’m going to indulge my motorsport laziness a little bit. I’ve been to NEFR in the past, and I’d love to go again, but this year, I’m going to be enjoying beer on the hillside at Lime Rock Park watching the IMSA series that weekend. NEFR is a fantastic rally though… the Concord Pond stage is EPIC! It’s the closest thing we have to Rally Finland here in the USA. I remember watching Stig Blomqvist absolutely flying through there in a Group N car back in 2005. Awesome stuff. I’ll be back there at some point…

  • FuchsrohreWRC

    Not totally surprising news – I still find it disappointing. Yes, he’s made mistakes – but he’s not helped by the car having major issues. Finishing 5,6,7th place is of no use to Citroen as they’ll learn nothing for the future. He’s the only Citroen driver to show rally winning pace. What will Lefebvre offer? Lower Top 10 pace – if he doesn’t bin it. Mikkelsen is still getting to know the car, but you would expect improvement – but rally challenging pace?? Hmm….wait and see…

    However, if Kris comes back in Finland refreshed and performs well; then it was the right decision….

    But, it has to be said, I’m not a fan of Matton’s man management skills – which leaves a lot to be desired.

    • Jason Anthony

      I have to be honest, I was surprised how far off the pace Mikkelsen was in Sardinia. Maybe I was just being naive, but I thought he’d be top 5 for sure. Very curious to see how Poland treats him!

  • Constantijn Blondel

    Sorry for necro-ing this thread, but you know … with 20/20 hindsight, I changed my mind. Especially right now, I’m metaphorically shouting out loud at Citroen, in the ears of whoever can do something about it to extend Kris’ contract for 2 years at least, and longer would be better.

    The guy _very clearly_ knows how to drive a WRC car and how to win a rally. Job insecurity right now is the last thing he needs, and the best thing to do right now for Citroen is to put a little bit of faith in their driver, and show that someone somewhere in the team has a halfway decent working knowledge of human psychology. At the moment, it’s not Kris in the car, but a giant Damocles Sword, and last I checked those don’t make good pilots. For whatever reason, I have zero doubt that if they give Kris that little bit of seemingly excessive trust that would be so good for him, he’d repay them way beyond their expectations.

    Cheers from Berlin.

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