CitroŽn Junior Team gets onto gravel
For the first time in its history, the CitroŽn Junior Team will face an event that is held entirely on gravel, the most common surface of the World Rally Championship. On the Vodafone Rally de Portugal, Evgeny Novikov/Dale Moscatt, Conrad Rautenbach/Daniel Barritt and Sťbastien Ogier/Julien Ingrassia will once again be trying to get in amongst the points-scorers.

The fourth round of the 2009 World Rally Championship season is a real classic. Having returned to the calendar in 2007 but taken a year off in 2008, the Rally Portugal has been the scene of some of the most memorable moments in the history of the sport. The route runs through the south of the country, not far from Faro, and this year it offers an itinerary that is almost completely brand new. The stage is set for the CitroŽn Junior Team crews to demonstrate all their potential.

Just as was the case in Norway and in Cyprus, there will be three CitroŽn C4 WRCs at the start. The crews eligible to score manufacturer points will be Russian driver Evgeny Novikov, co-driven by Australian Dale Moscatt (nį7), and Zimbabwean Conrad Rautenbach, co-driven by Britainís Daniel Barritt. The all-French line-up of Sťbastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia will also be competing for the team in a third CitroŽn C4 WRC.

After finishing sixth on their most recent World Rally Championship event in Cyprus, Conrad Rautenbach and Daniel Barritt hope to continue to make progress in Portugal. Their performances during the final two gravel days of the Cypriot event have prompted them to aim still higher. ę After finishing sixth in Cyprus, we want to do even better now Ľ said Rautenbach. ę A good result will come from putting in some good stage times. Iím going to try to steadily improve my times while making sure I get to the finish, in order to score points in both championships. Ľ

Evgeny Novikov has delivered some truly noteworthy performances since the start of the season, so he too will start the rally with the same ambitions. ę Iím beginning to build up a really good feeling with the CitroŽn C4 WRC Ľ commented Novikov. ę Itís an extremely competitive car. My goal is to gain a little more experience and reach the finish, while putting in a few good stage times. Ľ

Sťbastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia came within a couple of hundred metres of a good result in Cyprus. Nonetheless, the reigning Junior World Rally Champion is keen to put his accident behind him. ę Weíve got to keep on working hard Ľ he concluded. ę I believe weíre making progress with every rally. Portugal will be our first Ďnormalí event. Iím aiming just to get to the finish there without making any mistakes, in order to concentrate completely on my driving.

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