Citroën clinches its eighth manufacturers’ championship*
Citroën clinches its eighth manufacturers' championship*
Citroën rally driver Sébastien Loeb became World Rally Champion for the ninth time in succession at this month’s Rallye de France, at the same time securing another Manufacturers’ Championship for our very own Citroën Total World Rally Team.
Fittingly, Sébastien and his co-driver Daniel Elena claimed their title with an outright win in the French rally, held in and around the city of Strasbourg. It was the 75th rally victory of their outstanding careers.
Our win in the Manufacturers’ Championship brings us our eighth title of the past ten years. We are immensely proud that our DS3 WRC car has provided the power, agility and reliability needed to surpass the world’s best in the most challenging racing conditions.
Victory in both Championships came with a pair of rallies to spare. The final two rounds of the 2012 season will be held in Sardinia and Spain.
Our second WRC pair – driver Mikko Hirvonen and co-driver Jarmo Lehtinen – also performed brilliantly in France, finishing a mere 44 seconds adrift of their teammates after three days, 22 stages and more than 250 miles of white-knuckle competition. Bringing their DS3 WRC home in third place, Mikko and Jarmo’s podium result provided the vital points needed for our team to take the manufacturer’s crown in France.
Mikko might even have gone one better, were it not for the bigger picture. “I have been really cautious so as not to jeopardise the team’s overall result,” he admitted in the middle of the third day. His words provided a timely reminder that victory in the Manufacturers’ Championship is a genuine team effort and not simply due to Sébastien’s outstanding talent behind the wheel. As our general manager Frédéric Banzet commented, “The engineers, technicians and crews have all done a fantastic job this season.”
Sébastien and Citroën are both proudly French, so it was all the more wonderful to win both championships in France. “This is what we came to do, experience the feelings we enjoyed in 2010 again by winning the world title at home,” said Sébastien at the end of the rally. “This year the feeling is even more special, because it is undoubtedly the last one.”
The 2012 champion has said he will compete in only a few rallies next year and is due to contest the World Touring Car Championship the year after.
So while we can all look forward to seeing a fresh face as World Rally Champion in 2013, we have no intention of giving up our constructors’ trophy so easily. This time next year, we sincerely hope to be celebrating yet another win for an outstanding Citroën team.
*Subject to publication of the official results by the FIA.