Citroën Racing, associated with Team DG Sport Compétition, launched its official 2024 programme with the first round of the World Rally Championship (WRC) at Rallye Monte-Carlo, making its return to Gap this year.
Official Citroën Racing crews Yohan Rossel – Arnaud Dunand and Nikolay Gryazin – Konstantin Aleksandrov, at the wheel of the number 20 and 21 C3 Rally2s, took the start of the 92nd Rallye Monte-Carlo in Monaco on January 24 and battled it out for victory from stage to stage until the very last, PowerStage at Col de Turini.
Record crowds cheered from the roadsides of the Alpes de Haute-Provence and Hautes-Alpes, as the crews showcased the performance and reliability of the C3 Rally2. Finishing first and second in the 2023 edition, Rossel and Gryazin were committed to repeating their exploits and taking on the highly competitive WRC2 field, whom this year welcomed a new manufacturer.
The official Citroën Racing drivers kept the suspense high throughout the rally, fighting in the top three, claiming in turn the scratch times and positions in the overall standings.
The expertise of the Citroën Racing and DG Sport Compétition teams allowed them to get the best out of their C3 Rally2 on the legendary but tricky stages of the Rallye Monte Carlo, such as Bayons / Bréziers, with the famous Tourniquets pass and its fireworks, and Esparron / Oze in milder-than-usual weather conditions. Their near-perfect runs through the dirt, partially muddy sections and the occasional patch of frost enabled them to set seven scratch times, six for Rossel and one for Gryazin.
Their relentless attack against Pepe Lopez’s Skoda for the victory, played out up to the last stage, the Col de Turini, putting up a magnificent fight! Citroën Racing’s leading crews showcased motivation and vigor, experience, caution and judicious risk-taking, to stay in the mix of the leading trio.
It was on the final day of the Rallye Monte-Carlo that Rossel and Dunand made a brilliant comeback and set the day’s three scratch times, having started the morning 15 seconds behind Gryazin and Aleksandrov. Only a ninth of a second off of the leader coming into the Power Stage, Rossel and Dunand put in a perfect run.
They went on to win Rallye Monte-Carlo with a four second lead over the second-placed car. Gryazin and Aleksandrov, who showed their skill throughout the rally, finished third; we can only expect an exciting season ahead from the DG Sport Compétition line-up.
Yohan Rossel, Citroën Racing Official Driver, Rallye Monte-Carlo WRC2 Winner:
“Winning the Rallye Monte-Carlo in this way is such an incredible start the 2024 season, at the top of the Col de Turini in the last special stage, it’s a special feeling. The team did a great job, as did the ushers, we had worked hard on the rally, we were ready and it paid off! In the battle for victory, we never gave up and we’re delighted about that. I salute the performance and the determination of our teammates Nikolay and Konstantin, who led for most of the rally. It’s going to be interesting to see how we motivate and challenge each other this year.”
Nikolay Gryazin, Citroën Racing Official Driver, third in Rallye Monte-Carlo WRC2:
“First, I would like to congratulate my teammates Yohan and Arnaud! They had an incredible last day, hats off to them! I am happy to have him as a teammate as I can learn a lot from him. For me something was missing today, and I need to analyze the data to understand what exactly, as feeling wise the car was working perfectly. Rally is a lifelong learning experience, in every race there is something we find to improve for the future.
Overall, I am content with the result as I get to be a part of Citroën Racing family which is a dream come true. To work together with the people who made Citroën big during the years is an amazing experience. DG Sport did a flawless job during the whole event!
I would like to take the opportunity and thank every member of the team who took great care of us and the car. I am already excited to be back behind the wheel next week in Arctic and to dance with our lady on the snow in Sweden.”