The #C3Rally2Family drivers kicked off their year at the ever challenging Rallye Monte-Carlo, as the iconic event hosted the curtain raiser of the 2022 season. Despite bearing their fair share of racing scars, the Citroën C3 Rally2 drivers nevertheless showed impressive pace throughout the weekend.
Contested at night in the tricky conditions typically encountered in the foothills of the Alps in January, including a run over the iconic Col de Turini, the first two stages of the Rallye Monte-Carlo provided a serious early test for the crews. Eric Camilli pushed from the word go in his C3 Rally2, ending the short opening leg leading the WRC2 class.
Citroën stalwart Stéphane Lefebvre has once again signed up to compete in the C3 Rally2 for his WRC2 programme this season. He has known the car since its first competitive outings, having raced in the C3 Rally2 in the WRC in 2018. Confident with the 2022 upgrades, he claimed a maiden WRC2 stage win (SS3) for Andy Malfoy, his co-driver, grabbing the WRC2 overall lead at the same time.
Yohan Rossel, winner of the WRC3 in 2021, added his name to the list of top performers with two stage wins, compared with three in total for Lefebvre. The C3 Rally2 dominated the much daunted second day.
In scoring several WRC2 stage wins from the start of the Rallye Monte-Carlo, the #C3Rally2Family drivers produced a very high level of performance. However, the testing road conditions on the stages caught out the crews. Eric Camilli threw in the towel after SS5, before Stéphane Lefebvre had to retire when one of his wheels was ripped off on SS9.
Consistently finishing in the top two on the stages, Yohan Rossel impressed following his switch to WRC2 with the C3 Rally2 this year. Fighting for the overall lead, Rossel was a strong competitor and stood up to the stern test posed by the Rallye Monte-Carlo. Ultimately sixth in class, the C3 Rally2 driver nonetheless ended his rally by picking up maximum points in the Power Stage.
American driver Sean Johnston continued on his learning curve in the WRC with the C3 Rally2. Full of confidence throughout the rally, his smart, methodical approach secured him fourth place in the WRC2, his best result to date in the category.
Top performer at the Rallye Monte-Carlo WRC2 with nine stage wins, the C3 Rally2 more than lived up to the performance expectations at what is widely regarded as one of the toughest rallies on the WRC calendar. The crews benefited from the advice and expertise of Citroën Racing’s engineers, ensuring they could exploit the potential of C3 Rally2 with the best technical solutions. The #C3Rally2Family drivers certainly showed that they will be serious contenders for the WRC2 title this year.
WHAT THEY SAID…
Didier Clément, Head of Customer Racing, Citroën Racing
“We clearly saw the pace of the car this weekend! Eric Camilli was leading the WRC2 when he made his minor, but fatal mistake. Stéphane Lefebvre was about to move top of the WRC2 standings when he was penalised for the error of his gravel crew. The C3 Rally2 drivers definitely turned up this weekend. Our 2021 WRC3 champion was also one to impress and quickly adjusted to life in the WRC2 with the C3 Rally2 and its new upgrades. He was also in contention for the class win, before adding his name to the list of drivers who have fallen victim of the demanding Rallye Monte-Carlo stages. With no technical issues and sound tyres choices, the #C3Rally2Family drivers produced strong performances. Unfortunately, the unpredictable nature of the event mean that the overall result in terms of points, despite some very good performances, is a bit short of our expectations. But it doesn’t reflect the performance level of the C3 Rally2 and our crews. We’re very pleased with the solid and consistent performance of Sean Johnston, who finished fourth in the WRC2 class.”
Vincent Ducher, SainteLoc Racing Rally Team Manager
“Fourth place for Sean Johnston is a good result for the SaintéLoc team. Rallye Monte-Carlo is always a tough, demanding event. We had no technical issues at all on the C3 Rally2, which shows its reliability, in addition to its performance level. Sean had a very good race and confirmed his progress in the C3 Rally2. Eric Camilli was dominating the WRC2 before he was caught out by an icy patch. He’ll have the opportunity to bounce back at the forthcoming rounds of the championship.”
Yohan Rossel, PH Sport – 6th at Monte-Carlo in the WRC2
“The upgrades introduced on the C3 Rally2 by the Citroën Racing engineers helped me to start my WRC2 programme with confidence. I feel comfortable in the car and I managed to challenge for the lead for 75% of the rally. That shows my progress since last year and that of the C3 Rally2. In terms of performance, we had a good rally. Sadly, the result doesn’t reflect the pace we had because I lost time at the end of day three stuck on a bank and then I had two punctures. It’s incredibly frustrating! But we’re here to learn and improve. We showed that and the team worked really hard. We’ll now concentrate on the next round of the WRC2.”
Thomas Breton, Eric Camilli’s engineer at SaintéLoc Racing
“We made use of the set-up options that are possible with the C3 Rally2 to implement different solutions according to the various road conditions that you get at the Rallye Monte-Carlo. With Eric Camilli, we initially planned for a fairly aggressive approach before switching to a softer set-up, enabling us to make the most of the performance level of the C3 Rally2 in the conditions on Thursday night.”
Sean Johnston, SaintéLoc Racing – 4th at Monte-Carlo in the WRC2
“It’s always very satisfying to make it to the end of a Rallye Monte-Carlo given how demanding the event is for crews and cars alike, so this definitely our best result in the WRC2. We worked a lot during pre-event testing and that preparation helped us to get off to a good start. We felt confident in the C3 Rally2 and its latest upgrades. We managed to make progress throughout the four days of racing, whilst keeping out of trouble. We made a real step forward this weekend and I’m now looking forward to exploiting the potential of the C3 Rally2 a bit more.”