Citroen Total World Rally Team Deutschland Rallye preview

Citroen Total World Rally Team Deutschland Rallye preview

17.08.2019: Round ten of the WRC season sees the championship return to tarmac. Citroën Total World Rally Team crews Sébastien Ogier – Julien Ingrassia and Esapekka Lappi – Janne Ferm will be hoping to play one of the leading roles at this tough, multi-faceted test.

Round ten of the WRC season sees the championship return to tarmac. Citroën Total World Rally Team crews Sébastien Ogier – Julien Ingrassia and Esapekka Lappi – Janne Ferm will be hoping to play one of the leading roles at this tough, multi-faceted test.



Having secured a podium on their very first outing in a WRC – finishing third in a C4 in 2010 – followed up with a win a year later whilst still competing for Citroën and then two other outright victories, Sébastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia have always performed very strongly at this rally, where their ability to read the road has proven invaluable.


One of only two rounds exclusively contested on a sealed surface along with the Tour de Corse, it nonetheless provides a completely different challenge to the French event and is one where Citroën has often shown their credentials (12 wins, 11 of which in the WRC).



It is therefore no surprise that the six-time world champions come into this event with the firm intention of pursuing their progress in the championship.



Having claimed a stage win on their first outing in Germany in a WRC in 2017, Esapekka Lappi and Janne Ferm went even better last year, grabbing another stage win on their way to a fine third place overall. As things stand, their 2018 performance remains their only podium finish on tarmac in the WRC. And yet, this round is one of their favourites, due to the constant changes in grip and road surface.


Boosted by their strong recent performance in Finland, where they finished as runners-up, Esapekka and Janne will be focusing on consistency as they seek to pick up where they left off in Scandinavia. Their seventh position in the running order may however prove to be a disadvantage, especially if there is rain, as slippery mud tends to get dragged onto the roads as more cars come through the stages.


With four days of dedicated pre-event testing held on stages that are representative of those contested during the event, the Citroën Total World Rally Team enjoyed hard-working and instructive preparations. The team tested on a wide variety of road types and was also fortunate to experience changeable weather conditions, always useful for this kind of event.




It also ran through some final checks on the engine upgrade due to be introduced at this round, on which it used an upgrade token.
 



KEY FIGURES



19 timed stages covering a total of 344.04 km


2nd – the C3 WRC‘s best result in Germany (2017)

36 Michelin tyres, to be chosen from 32 hard compound, 26 soft compound and 12 rain tyres.


12 consecutive wins by Citroën at Rallye Deutschland: between 2001 and 2006 with Xsara WRC, from 2007 to 2010 with C4 WRC, and from 2011 to 2013 with DS3 WRC, Sébastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia having won the 2011 rally.
 




RALLY DEUTSCHLAND SCHEDULE (GMT+2)




This event is often regarded as actually being three rallies in one. One part of the route features very narrow, technical stages lined with pavements that wind through steep hills of the Mosel vineyards.



Another part takes the crews through the countryside of the former French department of the Sarre, with a series of tight hairpins, whilst Saturday’s leg is famous for the stages held in the Baumholder military base, where the bumpy, concrete roads are hard on both the tyres and the cars’ damper systems.



The 2019 rally will be no exception to the rule, with day one unchanged compared with 2018 (101.42km of timed stages). The main difference at this year’s event is the fact that both stages held in the Baumholder military base will be contested in the opposite direction to usual.



They have also been grouped together in the second loop on Saturday, which may enable a more specific set-up to be chosen for each loop and the different surfaces found on the stages contested in the morning and afternoon. In any case, with a competitive distance of 157.92km, this leg is certain once again to provide the weekend’s heavyweight challenge.



Sunday, however, will be no walk in the park. The final leg includes two runs on the long Grafschaft stage, (28.06km) with all the difficulties specific to the Mosel vineyards roads, whilst Dhrontal, the other stage contested, returns to its 2016 configuration.



The weather often plays a pivotal role at this summer round, as conditions can change very quickly. Heavy showers can be extremely localised, meaning that getting your tyre choice right can prove decisive. When it does rain, the roads – left dirty by the passing farm machinery and wine-growing vehicles – can quickly turn into an ice rink, with highly inconsistent grip levels that are difficult to read…
 








- Aurelie Lehe, photo Citroen

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17.08.2019 / MaP

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