The #C3Rally2Family drivers were back in international action at Rally Croatia, round three of the World Championship. Leaders from the opening stage, Yohan Rossel and Valentin Sarreaud dominated the WRC2 class throughout the weekend, ending the rally on the top step of the podium.
Although Eric Camilli and Stéphane Lefebvre were competitive with the leaders pace-wise, they both suffered punctures.
- Featuring twenty stages and contested over a competitive distance of almost 300 kilometres on narrow, winding tarmac roads, Rally Croatia posed a real challenge to both drivers and cars alike.
- Back competing in the WRC after picking up valuable points in January at the Rallye Monte-Carlo in the C3 Rally2, Yohan Rossel wasted no time in showing his rivals his pace. Alongside co-driver Valentin Sarreaud, Rossel made use of the full potential of the C3 Rally2 to move top of the WRC2 standings after SS1. Rossel and Sarreaud went on to produce a solid performance, keeping out of trouble and managing their lead throughout the weekend to secure their first class win in the WRC2 in the C3 Rally2. Rossel also scored an extra four points for the Drivers’ World Championship in setting the second fastest time in the Power Stage.
- To master the demanding Rally Croatia stages, which feature varying levels of grip, drivers need to have a car with a perfect set-up. Full of confidence in the C3 Rally2, Stéphane Lefebvre and co-driver Andy Malfoy produced some spectacular performances, claiming four stage wins in the WRC2, and looked to be on course to score big points. Unfortunately, Lefebvre lost all hope of a strong finish on SS13 when he picked up a puncture. He nonetheless finished seventh in class, having shown very good pace for much of the weekend.
- Eric Camilli and Thibault de la Haye were competing at Rally Croatia for the first time in the C3 Rally2. Reputed for his speed, Camilli looked set to challenge for a podium, having got to grips with the tricky Croatian roads. With three stage wins, the French ace was running third when he too suffered a puncture on SS13. The #C3Rally2Family pushed hard late on Saturday and on Sunday to finish Rally Croatia just outside the top five.
- Having committed to another programme in the WRC2, American driver Sean Johnston was also competing at Rally Croatia for the first time. Alongside co-driver Alexander Kihurani, the C3 Rally2 driver made good progress throughout the weekend, enabling him to end the event in eleventh place in the WRC2.
- With eleven stage wins in three days of racing, the #C3Rally2Family drivers showed a high level of competitiveness at an unusual tarmac rally, with some very changeable weather conditions. The Citroën Racing engineers provided the #C3Rally2Family drivers with the best set-up to fight for the leading places.
- Entered by Citroën Rally Team Hungary at the Therwoolin Boldogkő Rally in the C3 Rally2, Mads Ostberg claimed his second overall victory this season in the Hungarian Rally Championship, confirming his lead in the drivers’ standings.
- 2021 German Rally Champion with the C3 Rally2, Marijan Griebel is aiming to successfully defend his title. The German driver confirmed his intentions by finishing third at the ADAC Rallye Erzgebirge, the opening round of the season.
WHAT THEY SAID…
Yohan Rossel, Winner in the WRC2 class at Croatia Rally
“We have worked very hard with the PH Sport team since Monte-Carlo and this win is for them. It’s my first victory at this level. It was very important to win this rally to score big points for the WRC2 Championship, that was the target, this weekend, of course. We grabbed the lead after the opening stage. After that, we then used the potential of the C3 Rally2 to increase the gap, then manage our position and keep out of trouble. This victory is very important for the Championship.”
Valentin Sarreaud, co-driver of Yohan Rossel, winner in the WRC2 class at Croatia Rally
“The rally went perfectly, really, but it was very difficult with the changing weather conditions. The C3 Rally2 worked perfectly. We felt confident in the car very quickly. Despite the tough conditions, we were still able to push on all the stages. Sure, the gaps were big, but the rally wasn’t easy by any means. I’m very pleased with how things are working with Yohan Rossel. Croatia was our second rally together, after the Spa Rally in 2021 and we have won again. We hope to keep up our good form in the next few rallies.”
Stéphane Lefebvre, sixth in the WRC2 class at Croatia Rally
“This was a very demanding rally, with difficult conditions, we didn’t make any driving errors. We were able to fight for the top times on stages we were learning throughout the rally, which goes to show our level of performance. Unfortunately, with two punctures, a podium finish was soon out of reach. I am not satisfied with the sixth-place finish because we were expecting so much more.”
Eric Camilli, seventh in the WRC2 class at Croatia Rally
“I’m very pleased with our performances in the C3 Rally2. I think we might have been able to fight for a podium spot had we not had the puncture. After that, we lost any chance of achieving our goal. This was my first appearance at Rally Croatia. We raced in the rain, which is not an ideal way to see stages for the first time. We had to get to grips with things first and we ended up losing some time. Our weekend in Croatia ends on a positive note, however, and our good level of performance gives us hope that we have a chance of a podium in Portugal.”