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Citroën heading to ‘one hell of a circuit’

Citroën’s Sébastien Loeb says he is “heading to one hell of a circuit” this weekend, as the World Touring Car Championship (WTCC) takes on the legendary Nürburgring Nordschleife.

Former rally driver Loeb is used to tackling a seemingly endless combination of unfamiliar turns, but this weekend the nine-time World Rally Champion must take on the Nürburgring Nordschleife, without a co-driver and simultaneously competing against all of his WTCC rivals.

“We’re going to be taking on a hell of a circuit,” said Loeb. “It’s a real thrill to drive on. If you want to be quick, you need to use the whole track, but the grass and the safety barrier are so close that there is very little margin for error.”

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The recent test day at the circuit saw José María López top the times, with Loeb 2.490 seconds behind in second. The top 11 drivers in the test were covered by less than 20 seconds.

“The times in testing were quite close,” added Loeb. “We’ll see how much progress the different drivers have made using their saved data.”

Equally enthusiastic about the circuit is reigning champion López, who has been putting in extensive preparation for this ‘showpiece’ event on the WTCC calendar.

“This circuit is just amazing! I understand now why it’s so famous!,” enthused López. “But to fully appreciate it, you have to have confidence in your driving and in your car. That was the case two weeks ago, when I felt that I was totally in sync with my Citroën C-Elysée WTCC. I hope to feel the same way this weekend.

“I’ve worked really hard to prepare for this meeting, putting in lots of laps on the Citroën Racing simulator. I feel as ready as I’ll ever be!”

Former triple champion Yvan Muller admits that he struggled a bit during the official test day at the ‘Ring in April, with the Frenchman posting the fifth best time, 5.617 seconds off the pace.

“The tests were tough,” said Muller. “I did close the gap on my teammates as the day went on, but that gap is still too wide for my liking. I’ll have to judge when to attack and when to take risks and come up with the best strategy to score as many points as possible over the two races.”

Chinese driver Ma Qing Hua was third fastest during the test day, and is looking forward to the WTCC spectacle, which is held in support of the Nürburgring 24-Hour race this weekend.

“Every driver should come and drive here one day! I think the WTCC cars will put on a great show and I’m happy to be part of it,” said Ma. “At the end of April, I felt great in my C-Elysée. It was a really comfortable drive. If everything comes together during my runs, I think I can compete for a top place.”

The WTCC will stage two three lap races around the Nürburgring, which take place at 11:15 and 12:15 CEST (10:15 and 11:15 BST) respectively on Saturday 16 May.

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