Citroen Racing / WRT is now officially Citroen Total Abu Dhabi World Rally Team, with the arrival of the new major title partner which was announced by the team few days after the last rally in Spain this season. The new livery was unveiled at Abu Dhabi, Monte-Carlo Beach today.
Present at the event, Citroen Racing Team Principal, Yves Matton, We are very proud to have forged a relationship with a partner that is as prestigious and dynamic as Abu Dhabi. Like our long-time partner Total, Abu Dhabi will be visible across all our 2013 programmes: on the works teams competing in the WRC and the MERC (Middle East Rally Championship), but also in the Citroën Racing Trophy held in the main countries in Europe. Together, we are also committed to establishing a rally driver development programme with Abu Dhabi Racing.”
Eight time & five time consecutive World Rally Champions Constructors title winning team, has a 3 car line up for the 2013 season, with the no.2 car fielding their new leading driver/codriver pair, Mikko Hirvonen / Jarmo Lehtinen, "Now that I have my first season with Citroën under my belt, I feel ready for this new challenge,” asserted the Finn. “I have been World Championship runner-up four times, so the next logical step is to aim for first place!"
However it reserves the no.1 car for the 9-time World Champion driver Sebastien Loeb, who will be competing in selected rallies to get points to the works team. “We’ll start the season in Monte-Carlo and we’ll also be competing in Sweden, because it’s a rally that I would love to win in normal racing conditions. And I couldn‘t begin to think about missing the Rallye de France,” confirms Seb.
Spaniard, Daniel Sordo will be driving the third car & be nominated for points winning position, wherever Loeb/Elena pair are not taking part. “I’m incredibly pleased to be back with the team. The first test sessions went very well and I’m ready to help Citroën win more titles. My personal goal will be to win my first rally in the WRC,” says the Spaniard.
There will also be a 4th car in the field, where behind the wheel will be the team’s newcomer, Khalid Al-Qassimi who will start his season in Sweden in a racing programme featuring eight WRC rallies. The United Arab Emirates driver will also be looking to win the Middle East Rally Championship (MERC) again. He will be driving a Citroën DS3 RRC sporting Abu Dhabi Citroën World Rally Team decals: “Joining such a successful team and competing on two fronts will undoubtedly help me to keep improving. After winning the title for the first time in 2004, winning the MERC again will be my main goal.”
The Middle East Rally Championship will also provide two young drivers with the chance to acquire valuable experience in a Citroën DS3 R3. The crews will be selected for this programme following a qualifying event in Citroën DS3 Racing cars held on December 7-9 at the Yas Marina circuit. “The varied and difficult nature of the MERC will ensure it emphasizes the qualities of the DS3 R3,” commented Marek Nawarecki, Customer Racing Manager at Citroën Racing. “The drivers will be selected using the same methodology that we apply in our European promotional formulas, and they will enjoy the same backing and support, geared toward helping them to improve in our programme.”
Hope this new alliance brings a good charm and support to the team and the sport as a whole.