The Citroën World Touring Car Championship (WTCC) team continued testing during the nine-week break over the summer, clocking up mileage at the Motorland Aragón circuit in Spain.
Despite the French marque’s four drivers occupying the top four positions in the drivers’ championship, Citroën continued to test during the summer.
The French manufacturer’s dominance over the past two years has been consistent, with the outfit winning 75% of all races since entering the championship.
“Rather than testing new parts, we focused on optimising what we already have,” explained Xavier Mestelan, Technical Director of Citroën Racing. “During the races, we don’t always have the time to take a step back and analyse everything in detail, so we had a number of issues that we hadn’t been able to address.
“The session focused on three main aspects: the differential, the braking consistency and the rear-end assembly. We learned some things that will help us be even more effective in the meetings to come. That’s going to be particularly important given that we will be visiting three circuits we’ve never raced at before between now and the end of the season.”
Drivers Yvan Muller and Ma Qing Hua believe that the test sessions will help them to cope better with the unfamiliarity of the upcoming races at the Twin Ring Motegi in Japan and then the Buriram circuit in Thailand in late October.
Commenting on the Japanese challenge, Ma said: “It’s a circuit made up of medium and fast turns. The three straights should provide some overtaking opportunities.
“I don’t think it’s an especially difficult course, particularly when you compare it to the Nordschleife or Vila Real! But we won’t really be able to make a judgement until we get out there. We’ll have to try and find the right trade-off between downforce on the bends and peak speed for overtaking.”
Muller is unfazed by the new challenge, with all drivers being on an equal footing heading to the venue this weekend.
“It’s always interesting to go to new places,” said Muller. “I don’t think any of the drivers will have raced at Motegi before. We shouldn’t expect huge peak speeds; I think our setups will prioritise downforce.
“We’ll also have to be careful with the tyres, because apparently the surface is very abrasive.”