Wales Rally GB - Anyone for a bit of rain, mud and fog?

Wales Rally GB - Anyone for a bit of rain, mud and fog?

26.09.2018: Whilst most of Europe enjoys something of an Indian summer, the C3 R5 prepares to brave the cooler, rather autumnal conditions that tend to prevail on the gravel roads of Wales Rally GB.

Whilst most of Europe enjoys something of an Indian summer, the C3 R5 prepares to brave the cooler, rather autumnal conditions that tend to prevail on the gravel roads of Wales Rally GB.




Citroën Racing will be looking once again to Stéphane Lefebvre and Gabin Moreau to showcase the car's qualities, supported in Wales by the private crews Ole Christian Veiby - Stig Rune Skjaermoen and Simone Tempestini - Sergiu Itu.



Dense, gloomy forests often enveloped by thick fog, roads invariably covered with mud and very changeable levels of grip: despite being held a few weeks earlier than usual this year, Wales Rally GB may nonetheless present the C3 R5 with rather autumnal conditions as it tackles a new challenge on its debut appearance in the UK.




However, having already secured three podium finishes (runner-up in Corsica, third in Portugal and runner-up in Turkey) in the very competitive WRC2 class, the car has quickly proved its versatility and ability to perform on extremely different types of road surface. Stéphane Lefebvre, Citroën's works driver, will spearhead the team's challenge in Wales.



He knows the specific difficulties that lie ahead this weekend, having competed here three times before and finished eighth overall in 2015. Often among the leading drivers, the 26 year-old Frenchman will be determined to secure a maiden win for Citroën Racing's new flagship product and top off this year's programme, intended both to promote the new car and finalise its development.




A programme that has certainly begun to turn heads: the up-and-coming 22 year-old Norwegian, Ole Christian Veiby, has switched from a rival manufacturer to the C3 R5 to pursue his private campaign in Wales, and then in Spain (25-28 October). He has already begun to familiarise himself with his new car and will certainly be looking to do well at this event, in what will be his fifth appearance in Wales.




The same goes for Simone Tempestini, the second customer driver competing in the UK, undoubtedly buoyed by his recent podium finish in Turkey.




Whilst retaining most of what has made it a classic rally, this year's route includes some changes, with the introduction of two new stages, Penmachno (16.95km) and Slate Mountain (1.63km), on Friday and some new sections on Brenig and Sweet Lamb Hafren.




Sunday's leg, which concludes in Llandudno in the north of Wales, will also feature a new stage, Elsi (10.06km), and a largely revised version of Gwydir (14.76km).
 





WHAT THEY SAID


Pierre Budar, Citroën Racing Team Principal



"Having successfully negotiated the endurance test posed by Rally Turkey, the C3 R5 will be tackling something more of a sprint race in Wales.



Although this will be its first appearance at this unusual event, I have faith in my team to once again show the car's ability to adapt to all road surfaces, especially as we have another good driver competing in the C3 R5."





Stéphane Lefebvre



"Since Germany, I've had the opportunity to get my feeling back on gravel in the C3 R5 during a development test session around Mazamet. I'll also be doing some more specific testing in Wales just before the start, to refamiliarise myself with the countless changes in grip.



The difficulty of the roads here is being able to judge the level of grip and distinguish, for example, between mud that's slippery and mud that offers grip. But I am determined to turn our undeniable potential into a strong result."




Number of appearances at the event: 3
Best result: 8th (2015)
 



- Elisa Decrignis -  photo Citroen

Permanent-URL: http://www.automobilsport.com/wales-rally-gb-rain-mud-fog---181134.html

26.09.2018 / MaP

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