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november 17, 2017 - Citroen Racing

The Citroën crews make their presence felt

The Citroën Total Abu Dhabi WRT crews all produced solid performances on day one of #rally Australia, meeting the targets set by Yves Matton. Kris Meeke and Paul Nagle ended the day third overall and in contention for the win, whilst Craig Breen/Scott Martin and Stéphane Lefebvre/Gabin Moreau set a series of impressively quick times. All three C3 WRCs held top 10 positions at the end of the opening leg.

  • Day one began with a loop of three stages held in the forests to the north of Coffs Harbour: Pilbara, Eastbank and Sherwood. In order to have the best possible traction on the roads' dusty, loose gravel surface, the Citroën opted to run with soft compound Michelin LTX Force tyres.
  • Second on SS1 and SS2, Kris Meeke took up the same position in the overall standings behind the early leader, Andreas Mikkelsen. On the next stage, however, the Briton lost a dozen seconds or so after briefly running wide and off the road. At the mid-leg point, the no.9 C3 #wrc driver remained in second place, 16.6s behind the leader.
  • At this point, Craig Breen was third, just 1.1s behind his team-mate. On his competitive debut in Australia, the Irishman gradually picked up his pace: he finished seventh on SS1, fifth on SS2 and was then third on SS3!
  • The start of Stéphane Lefebvre's #rally was compromised by a puncture that he picked up barely two kilometres into SS1. The Frenchman remained committed and managed to set the second fastest time on SS3. At the mid-leg point, he was ninth overall, 33.9s behind Mikkelsen.
  • For the afternoon loop, tyre choice proved to be trickier than in the morning. The Citroën drivers decided to run with four hard tyres and one soft. Consistently finishing in the top four on the forest stages, Kris Meeke stayed in second place and held off Neuville, who had chosen to fit soft tyres for the loop. 
  • Still third after SS4 despite one of his tyres coming off the wheel rim, Craig Breen lost two places on the stages that followed. After minor errors led to the loss of the front splitter and the rear diffuser, he had to contend with reduced aerodynamic efficiency on his C3 #wrc.
  • Just like on the first pass, Stéphane Lefebvre picked up a puncture on Pilbara. With no spare wheel, he then had to drive more cautiously to avoid the risk of getting another puncture, which would have meant having to retire. He held onto ninth place, a few seconds behind Ogier.
  • Following a regroup in the service park, the day concluded with two runs on the Coffs Harbour Super Special Stage. Thierry Neuville sneaked ahead of Kris Meeke on the final two stages by just 0.7s, meaning the C3 WRCs ended the day in third, fifth and ninth positions.
  • Tomorrow's second leg gets underway early in the morning with the 48.89km-long and treacherous Nambucca stage!

More information on the press release

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