After winning the WRC2 class at the opening round of the world championship in Monte-Carlo, the C3 R5 confirmed its excellent start to the season by securing a dominant victory in Sweden on its first outing on snow and ice in the even more competitive WRC2 Pro class.
Switching from a car in one category to another – WRC to R5 in this case – is never easy, and yet that is precisely the feat that Mads Østberg and Torstein Eriksen pulled off very successfully last weekend at Rally Sweden. Despite driving the car for the first time competitively, the two Norwegians were quickly comfortable in the C3 R5, evidence of how easy it is to get used to Citroën Racing’s flagship customer racing product.
The Team Citroën Total crew was immediately among the frontrunners before then claiming a stage win on SS3 and with it, taking the lead in the WRC2 Pro class. It was a lead that they would hold right until the end of the rally, completing a dominant performance during which they secured three further stage wins (including one tied) on the C3 R5’s first outing on snow and ice. This win is the perfect start to Citroën and the C3 R5’s season in the new WRC2 Pro championship. The next event for the team will be Rally Argentina (25-28 April), where Mads Østberg and Torstein Eriksen will be again competing on behalf of Citroën.
In addition to the programmes of Yoann Bonato-Benjamin Boulloud and Mads Østberg-Torstein Eriksen, WRC2 winners in Monte-Carlo and WRC2 Pro winners in Sweden respectively, Citroën Racing will also be following with interest the fortunes of other C3 R5 customers competing throughout the world. Crews that include the likes of Guillaume de Mevius and Martijn Wydaeghe (DG Sport) in WRC2, Benjamin Israël and Marcelo Der Ohannesian (Procircuit Citroën Monster) in Chile, José Pedro Fontes and Inès Ponte (Sports&You) in Portugal, and Pepe Lopez and Borja Rozada (Sports&You) in Spain.
Pierre Budar, Citroën Racing Team Principal
“In the tricky, slippery road conditions, it was easy to make a mistake, but Mads used all of his experience and knowledge of this surface to produce a consistent performance, whilst also setting some promising times on his first competitive outing in the C3 R5. As we are constantly looking to fine tune its handling, we already have a few ideas about how to improve in certain areas after this maiden outing on snow. We’ll keep working closely with Mads and his team so that the rest of the programme is equally successful.”
Mads Østberg, Citroën Total driver
“I’m delighted with this positive result on our debut outing in this new adventure. I think we can be proud of what we have achieved, given the limited time we had to set everything up. I also feel there is a great deal of motivation in the whole team to keep improving and so I can’t wait to shift my focus to Argentina, where you can be sure we’ll be even better prepared.”
C3 R5 KEY FIGURES
Four-wheel drive car with a 1600cc turbo engine developing 282hp and weighing 1230kg
Competitive debut: 2018 Tour de Corse
WRC2 & WRC2 Pro wins & podiums: 2018 Tour de Corse (2nd in WRC2), 2018 Rally de Portugal (3rd in WRC2), 2018 Rally Turkey (2nd in WRC2),2019 Rallye Monte-Carlo (1st in WRC2), 2019 Rally Sweden (1st in WRC2 Pro)
2018 French Rally Champion with 5 wins (Lyon-Charbonnières, Mont-Blanc, Cœur de France, Cévennes and Var)