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Citroen could exit WRC amid PSA shake-up

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Citroen could exit WRC amid PSA shake-up
By:
Nov 14, 2019, 12:11 PM

Citroen’s future in the World Rally Championship is under review, with a departure from the series reckoned to be a strong possibility.

The French marque returned to the WRC in 2017 after a year away from the sport was spent developing the C3 WRC, but its latest car has been, by some distance, the least successful of the four World Rally Cars it has produced.

Motorsport.com contacted Citroen Racing and parent company PSA Motorsport, but neither was available for comment.

Motorsport.com understands Citroen Racing team principal Pierre Budar was engaged in high-level discussions with Citroen CEO Linda Jackson about the team’s future during and after a disappointing Rally Spain last month.

Jackson’s own position at Citroen has also come under scrutiny amid suggestions she will be replaced by Mitsubishi’s former head of production, Frenchman Vincent Cobee.

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Speculation of Citroen’s third departure from the WRC in the series’ current era intensified with PSA’s announcement of a 2022/23 FIA World Endurance Championship return for Peugeot on Wednesday.

PSA’s other global motorsport commitment remains with DS competing in Formula E.

One Motorsport.com source said: “Citroen is out of rallying again, this is 99 percent sure.”

 

Citroen has run a two-car programme with the focus on Sebastien Ogier’s drivers’ title defence this season, but the power steering issue which ruled Ogier out of the lead in Spain last month also ended his hopes of a seventh world title.

An engine problem for teammate Esapekka Lappi compounded the squad’s Spanish misery by forcing the Finn into a terminal retirement form the Salou-based event.

In its three years of competition, the C3 WRC has garnered just six wins from 40 WRC starts.

At the height of its power, Citroen’s won 36 of 56 WRC rounds it contested in the C4 WRC. It also dominated both the drivers’ and manufacturers’ championships, winning 17 titles between 2003 and 2012.

Citroen’s departure from the WRC would leave Ogier clear to join Toyota for next season in place of Hyundai-bound Ott Tanak.

Lappi's options are more restricted. He departed Toyota for Citroen 12 months ago and M-Sport Ford would appear to be his only option for 2020.

Esapekka Lappi, Citroën World Rally Team

Esapekka Lappi, Citroën World Rally Team

Photo by: McKlein / Motorsport Images

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About this article

Series WRC
Drivers Esapekka Lappi , Sébastien Ogier
Teams Citroën World Rally Team
Author David Evans