Citroën Racing boss Yves Matton has acknowledged that improvements need to be made and has pledged to work “even harder” after his squad’s lackluster start to the season.
Citroën took a year out of World Rally Championship competition in 2016 to prepare for a comeback with an all-new C3 WRC car and a driver line-up led by Kris Meeke.
But there has been little to celebrate at the opening rounds in Monte Carlo and Sweden after which Citroën is placed last in the manufacturers’ standings while Meeke lies 14th in the drivers’ championship.
Having retired from Rallye Monte-Carlo, a frustrated Meeke struggled to match the pace of his rivals in Sweden, especially on repeated stages. He was in fifth place on day two before an off-road excursion sent him plunging down the standings to his eventual finishing position of 12th.
“We are all very aware of what we need to do to improve and be competitive. We are going to work even harder in preparation for the upcoming events,” Matton said.
“We clearly still have work to do to make the most of our car’s potential in certain conditions. On this surface we were fast on the first pass on the stages [but]we still need to work out why our drivers were less comfortable on the second runs,” he added.
Matton expects that the gravel roads of Guanajuato Rally Mexico will suit Meeke better than the unique mix of ice and loose snow that was a feature of the championship’s only winter round.
“Kris had a few difficulties feeling entirely at ease in the car on the variety of road surfaces faced,” he explained.
“In these conditions, it’s not easy to develop your confidence. There’s a good chance the situation will be different in Mexico, where the road surface is more consistent throughout the rally,” Matton added.