The C3 Rally2Family drivers were back in international action at Rally Croatia, round three of the World Championship. Opening stage leaders Yohan Rossel and Valentin Sarreaud dominated the WRC2 class all weekend, finishing the rally on the top step of the podium.
Although Eric Camilli and Stéphane Lefebvre were competitive with the leaders in terms of pace, they both had punctures.
With twenty stages and races over a competitive distance of almost 300 kilometers on narrow, winding asphalt roads, Rally Croatia presented a real challenge for drivers and cars alike.
Back in the WRC after racking up valuable points at the Rallye Monte-Carlo in the C3 Rally in January, Yohan Rossel wasted no time showing his rivals his pace. Alongside co-driver Valentin Sarreaud, Rossel took advantage of the full potential of the C3 Rally2 to top the WRC2 standings after SS1. Rossel and Sarreaud put in a solid performance, staying out of trouble and maintaining their lead all weekend to secure their first class win in WRC2 in the C3 Rally2. Rossel also scored four additional points for the Drivers’ World Championship by setting the second fastest time in the Power Stage.
To master the demanding Rally Croatia stages, which have different grip levels, drivers need a car with a perfect set-up. Confident in the C3 Rally2, Stéphane Lefebvre and co-driver Andy Malfoy delivered spectacular performances, with four stage wins in the WRC2, and they seemed on track to score big points. Unfortunately, Lefebvre lost all hope of a strong finish on SS13 when he suffered a flat tire. He nevertheless finished seventh in class after showing very good pace for much of the weekend.
Eric Camilli and Thibault de la Haye took part in Rally Croatia for the first time in the C3 Rally2. Known for his speed, Camilli seemed up to the challenge for a podium finish as he mastered the tricky Croatian roads. With three stage wins, the French ace was third when he also suffered a flat tire on SS13. The #C3Rally2Family pushed to its limits late on Saturday and Sunday to finish Rally Croatia just outside the top five.
American driver Sean Johnston, who had committed to another program in WRC2, also took part in Rally Croatia for the first time. Alongside co-driver Alexander Kihurani, the C3 Rally2 driver made good progress throughout the weekend, closing the event in 11th place in WRC2.
With eleven stage wins in three days of racing, the #C3Rally2Family drivers showed a high level of competitiveness during an unusual tarmac rally, with some very changeable weather conditions. Citroën Racing’s engineers provided the #C3Rally2Family drivers with the best set-up to compete for the leading positions.
Entered by Citroën Rally Team Hungary at the Therwoolin Boldogkő Rally in the C3 Rally2, Mads Ostberg took his second overall win this season in the Hungarian Rally Championship, confirming his lead in the Drivers’ Classification.
2021 German Rally Champion with the C3 Rally2, Marijan Griebel aims to successfully defend his title. The German driver confirmed his intentions by finishing third in the ADAC Rallye Ore Mountains, the opening round of the season.
Yohan Rossel, winner in the WRC2 class at Croatia Rally:
“We have worked very hard with the PH Sport team since Monte-Carlo and this win is for them. It’s my first win at this level. It was very important to win this rally to score big points for the WRC2 championship, which was obviously the goal this weekend. After the opening stage we took the lead. After that we used the potential of the C3 Rally2 to widen the gap, then manage our position and stay out of trouble. This win is very important for the championship.”
Valentin Sarreaud, co-driver of Yohan Rossel, winner in the WRC2 class at Croatia Rally:
“The rally actually went perfectly, but it was very difficult with the changing weather conditions. The C3 Rally2 worked perfectly. We felt very comfortable in the car very quickly. Despite the tough conditions, we were able to push all stages. Of course the holes were big, but the rally was by no means easy. I am very happy with how Yohan Rossel is doing. Croatia was our second rally together, after the Spa Rally in 2021 and we won again. We hope to maintain our good form in the coming rallies.”
Stéphane Lefebvre, sixth in the WRC2 class at Croatia Rally:
“This was a very demanding rally, with difficult conditions, we didn’t make any driving mistakes. We were able to fight for the top times on podiums that we learned during the rally, which shows our level of performance. Unfortunately, a podium finish with two flat tires was soon out of reach. I’m not happy with sixth place because we expected so much more.”
Eric Camilli, seventh in the WRC2 class at Croatia Rally:
“I am very happy with our performance in the C3 Rally2. I think maybe we could have fought for a podium spot if we hadn’t had the flat tire. After that we lost every chance to reach our goal. This was my first appearance at Rally Croatia. We rode in the rain, which is not the ideal way to see stages for the first time. We had to get the hang of things first and in the end we lost some time. However, our weekend in Croatia ends positively and our good performance gives us hope that we have a chance of a podium in Portugal.”