Having secured a one-two finish in the WRC2 at the 2023 Rallye Monte-Carlo, Citroën Racing’s WRC2 works crews, Yohan Rossel – Arnaud Dunand and Nikolay Gryazin – Konstantin Aleksandrov, will be determined to repeat the exploit this year in the C3 Rally2 and make the perfect start to their WRC2 campaign.
The C3 Rally2s entered by the DG Sport team will be sporting a new livery for the 2024 season, showing off the brand’s new visual identity and its racing heritage.
There will be a new addition to the #C3Rally2Family later in the season with Marco Bulacia and Diego Vallejo joining the WRC2 as a third works crew, whilst Mads Østberg and Yoann Bonato will be showcasing the qualities of the C3 Rally2 in the ERC.
The #C3Rally2Family will equally have significant representatives in the FIA NACAM (North And Central AMerica) championship, as well in national championships in France, Italy, Spain and Ireland.
With a modified route around Gap and 17 stages over a competitive distance of 324.44km, the 2024 edition of the Rallye Monte-Carlo promises once again to provide teams and drivers alike with a heavyweight challenge. Added to which, there is a serious risk of wintry conditions during the weekend. The world’s most famous rally kicks off in the dark on Thursday evening with a run over the Col de Fontbelle and the iconic twists and turns of the Bayons – Bréziers test.
On Friday, stages will be contested against the backdrop of Champsaur and Valgaudemar, before venturing into the Drôme and Isère departments for Saturday’s leg. The event finishes on Sunday with a return to the famous Col du Corobin, near to Digne-les-Bains, concluding with a single run to the top of the Col du Turini for the Power Stage.
With six and four previous appearances respectively, Yohan Rossel – Arnaud Dunand and Nikolay Gryazin – Aleksandrov Konstantin are all too aware of the need to treat this event with great respect. They have learned over the years how to manage the changing levels of grip and make the right tyres choices at the right time, enabling them to finish first and second in the WRC2 class this time last year.
Then, that they are aiming to be among the frontrunners in the C3 Rally2 once again this year. Both crews have enjoyed good preparations for the rally, managing to secure a one-two finish (Gryazin ahead of Rossel) at the Rallye Hivernal du Dévoluy, contested in similar conditions.
This event marks the start of their season in the WRC2, the feeder category to rally’s elite class, where they will be joined later in the year by Marco Bulacia – Diego Vallejo in competing on behalf of Citroën Racing. Whilst the standard in the WRC2 championship is incredibly high, both Rossel and Gryazin – who finished third and fourth overall in 2023 – will be gunning for the title this year, competing on a variety of surfaces that they are both starting to master and where the C3 Rally2 has already shown its competitiveness.
The car is however set to be fine-tuned even further by Citroën Racing’s technical team, with upgrades due to be introduced during the year to ensure that the C3 Rally2 continues to shine on tarmac and gravel.
The ERC, which is scheduled to start at Rally Hungary (12-14 April), will also see significant numbers of #C3Rally2Family competitors, including Mads Østberg (third in the 2023 championship) and Yoann Bonato, both committed drivers of the C3 Rally2 for several seasons now.
Bonato, still partnered by co-driver Benjamin Boulloud, will also be competing in the French Championship, where he will be leading a contingent of C3 Rally2s, including Léo Rossel – Yohan’s brother – winner of the 2022 Stellantis Motorsport Rally Cup and third in the 2023 French Rally Championship, alongside co-driver Guillaume Mercoiret. Léo’s successor in winning the Stellantis group’s famous promotional formula, Anthony Fotia – alongside co-driver William Hanocq – will also be competing in a C3 Rally2 prepared by PH Sport, just like Rossel.
Defending Italian rally champions in the C3 Rally2, Andrea Crugnola – Pietro Ometto will be trying, in addition to a one-off outing in the ERC at the Rallye de Rome (26-28 July), to make it a hat-trick of national titles. A feat that Ricardo Cordero and Marco Hernandez have already achieved in the FIA NACAM championship, as the pair will this year be hoping to secure a fourth title. Diego Ruiloba and Luis Angel Vela, winners of the Junior title in the Spanish Superchampionship in a C3 Rally2, will be looking to keep improving. Lastly, the C3 Rally Trophy Ireland will enable the three best local #C3Rally2Family crews to share no less than 9,500 euros in prize money at each race. The action kicks off at the Galway International Rally on 3-4 February!
Didier Clement: Stellantis Motorsport Customer Racing Sporting Manager
“We’re proud to have some first-class crews once again this season in all of the championships in which we are competing, starting with the three entered in the WRC2. Yohan Rossel and Nikolay Gryazin will be the first into action this weekend at an event that looks set to live up to its reputation as a very demanding rally, but they have the talent and the tools to do well. Especially as the C3 Rally2 improved even further throughout 2023 thanks to the work put in by Citroën Racing’s technical team. We intend to pick up where we left off this year, with several upgrades to come, so we can add even more to our performance levels on both tarmac and gravel.”
Yohan Rossel – Citroën Racing WRC2 works driver
“I’m delighted to start the season at Rallye Monte-Carlo, especially as I won here last year. There are no guarantees that the outcome will be the same this year but the aim is to try to challenge for the win and start the season by putting some serious points on the board. It’s always a tough rally but I get the feeling that with the return of the stages around Gap, it’s going to be even trickier. It exciting for the fans with some very competitive racing ahead and the first night promises be a great start! I’m certainly feeling confident coming into the event. The C3 is one of the best Rally2 cars; I feel good behind the wheel and in the team. It’s now up to us to make sure we focus on making a good start to the year.”
Nikolay Gryazin – Citroën Racing WRC2 works driver
“The feeling has been pretty good because the car suits my driving style. I have competed at this rally several times and it’s a surface that I really like. Last year, the grip was pretty consistent, so it was relatively easy to choose right set-up, but if the conditions are more changeable, it’s always more complicated to find the right balance, especially with the tyres, to be quick in all conditions. Luck also plays an important role at rally like Monte. This season certainly looks like it will be a great challenge: we saw last year what Yohan was able to do in the C3 Rally2. We also saw it in the ERC and the French Rally Championship, so it’s obviously a competitive car, but the standard among the competition is high too. It’ll be up to us therefore to adapt the car to my driving and to the specific features of each event.”