Citroën Racing Team Principal Yves Matton admits that his team ‘cannot wait’ for the start of the World Touring Car Championship in Marrakech in one week’s time, with the event marking more than a year of preparation for the French manufacturer.
Citroën will embark on their first season in the WTCC and their first official season of circuit racing, with World Rally Championship legend Sébastien Loeb joining the team for his first full season of circuit racing.
Matton explains that his team are excited for the season ahead and, despite more than a year of preparation, that he wishes they could have yet more time to prepare.
“Starting a season is one thing, but starting your first season in a new discipline is something else entirely,” said Matton. “Everything is new to us: the cars, of course, but also the equipment, the methods, the regulations, the race strategy…
“Every member of Citroën Racing has invested a huge amount of energy and enthusiasm to ensure that we are ready when the time comes. Of course, we would have liked to have had a few more days to prepare, but we can’t wait to get to Marrakech. It will be the culmination of over a year’s work.
“Our challenge now is to develop the essential reflexes we need in order to be strong performers in WTCC. We will be looking closely at our first times to see where we stand in relation to the competition.”
Four-time WTCC champion Yvan Muller admits that the event in Morocco – the only world championship circuit racing event to take place in Africa – will be a difficult place to start the new season.
“It’s a very difficult circuit,” said Muller. “Because it’s not a permanent track, the surface is very slippery at the start of a meeting. The key to a fast lap lies in how you tackle the rumble strips. You have to climb over them, or sometimes jump them, while making sure not to end up in the wall, of course! Obviously, we’ve worked on this in testing, but we will have to wait to be out on the track to get a clearer idea of what to do.”
“Only a week after Marrakech, we’ll be at Paul Ricard for the second round,” added Muller. “Even if all goes well, the mechanics won’t have a lot of time to get the cars ready. If there’s a lot of damage, things will be even tougher for them. That adds a little extra pressure.”
This season will mark Frenchman Muller’s ninth in the WTCC and the touring car veteran will be driving for his third different team in the series, having previously raced for manufacturer teams SEAT and Chevrolet (RML).