The final day of the Rallye Monte-Carlo saw Stéphane Lefebvre’s impressive display on the Col de Turini to claim the C3 WRC first stage win. Citroën Total Abu Dhabi, Craig Breen – who finished fifth overall – and Stéphane Lefebvre therefore put their first points on the board in the 2017 World Championships. Contested with no service, the schedule of the final leg served up the mouthwatering prospect of two runs over the Col de Turini, with repeat passes on the Lucéram – Col St Roch and La Bollène Vésubie – Peira Cava stages.
When it came to choosing their tyres for the loop, the drivers were uncertain what to do due to the weather forecast, which suggested there would be snowfall towards the end of the morning. In the Citroën clan, Stéphane Lefebvre opted to go with four Michelin Pilot Sport S5s (soft tyres), and two Pilot Alpin Q4L/R1 winter tyres (no studs) as spares. Craig Breen opted for a mix of two Pilot Sport S5s and two SS5s (super-soft tyres), and two Pilot Alpin winter tyres (no studs) as spares. On SS15, Stéphane Lefebvre and Gabin Moreau’s tyre choice paid off. The French crew produced a superb performance as they tackled the Col de Turini, which saw them record the C3 WRC’s very first stage win.
After SS16 was cancelled (on safety grounds, with too many spectators in the wrong places), Stéphane demonstrated his acrobatic skills on the second pass. As the snow settled, he kept his wits about him to ensure his C3 WRC stayed on the road despite running on slick tyres. He then set the second fastest time on the Power Stage and climbed two places in the overall standings to finish ninth. Fourth at the start of today’s leg, Craig Breen and Scott Martin were unable to compete with Dani Sordo’s 2017 model in their previous generation car. The Spaniard moved ahead of them, but finishing in the top-five was nonetheless one of the performances of the rally.
In the Drivers’ World Championship, Craig Breen and Stéphane Lefebvre now lie fifth and seventh respectively. The points scored by Stéphane Lefebvre mean that Citroën Total Abu Dhabi WRT end the opening weekend fourth in the Manufacturers’ standings. The WRC returns in a few weeks’ time at Rally Sweden, on 9-12 February.