– After six gravel rounds, the Citroën Total Abu Dhabi World Rally Team returns to tarmac at Rallye Deutschland.
– Two DS3 WRCs have been entered for Kris Meeke/Paul Nagle and Mads Østberg/Jonas Andersson.
– Citroën Racing has enjoyed eleven consecutive wins at Rallye Deutschland, a World Championship record.
In the next two months, three of the four rallies will be held on tarmac. This surface requires very specific parts and set-up, which have consistently given the cars prepared in Versailles an advantage.
“For everyone – the technicians, the engineers and the crews – it’s an important point of the season,” emphasized Yves Matton, Citroën Racing Team Principal. “We need to get to grips again with conditions that we haven’t experienced since the Rallye de France in October 2013. Testing will be just as important for the drivers as the rest of the team. You need to re-hone some of your reflexes again to prepare for this first round of the season on tarmac. And Rallye Deutschland is especially important for Citroën in that we are on a run of eleven consecutive wins.”
The DS3 WRCs are not very different to those driven recently in Sardinia, Poland and Finland. “They are the same cars,” confirmed Didier Clément, the DS3 WRC’s Chief Operations Engineer. “Given that we are limited to six chassis per season for both crews, there is no specific body shell for the tarmac rounds. The only differences concern the level of the struts, the shock absorbers, the brakes, the wishbones and the tie-rods.”
Preparations began with a tried and tested set-up, on the banks of the Mosel and at the Baumholder military base: “The car has to be easy to drive so the drivers feel confident to push on the quick stages through the vineyards. We have also tried to develop our knowledge of how the tyres respond in varying weather conditions. During the race itself, one of the key aspects will involve having accurate weather forecasts. In the last ten years, Rallye Deutschland has been contested on completely dry roads on very few occasions.”
On Friday, the cars will head west, with the running order that of the World Championship standings. Not far from Luxembourg, Sauertal (14.14km – 8.38am/2.42pm), already contested in 2013, will be followed by Waxmeiler (16.40km – 9.56am/4.00pm), a brand new stage close to the Belgian border, and then Moselland (21.02km – 11.19am/5.23pm), completed in the opposite direction to last year.
Saturday’s leg will be begin towards the east, with Stein & Wein (17.53km – 7.38am/2.31pm), still in the vineyards, and then Peterberg (11.08km – 8.38am/3.31pm) and its many changes of direction. The loop will then continue in the Baumholder military base. This year, two stages have been designed in this unique setting on the WRC calendar: firstly, a short stage, Arena Panzerplatte (3.03km – 9.51am/4.44pm), and then the huge Panzerplatte Lang (42.51km – 10.06am/4.59pm) with theHinkelstein and the famous Gina’s jump.
The schedule for the final day features two stages, located to the north-east of Trier, each run twice: Dhrontal (18.03km – 7.28am/10.55am) and Grafschaft (19.27km – 8.04am/12.08pm), which will be the Power Stage on the second pass. The rally is scheduled to finish at Porta Nigra from 2.30pm.