The CitroŽn Racing Trophy goes European
ďTo celebrate the first year of the CitroŽn Racing Trophy, we will be present at the Antibes Rally with about 20 crews,Ē said Simon Jean-Joseph, who is in charge of CitroŽn Racingís customer competition department. ďThe CitroŽn Racing Trophy is a competition that knows no frontiers.

Our competitors come from seven different countries. They are the best drivers in their respective championships and this should provide us with a truly fascinating rally.Ē The 44th Antibes Rally will get underway on Friday night with a spectator superspecial.

By launching the CitroŽn Racing Trophy at the start of the year in eight different European countries (France, UK, Belgium, Ireland, Czech Republic, Romania, Poland and Portugal) CitroŽn has created a real sense of occasion. ďIn a very short space of time,Ē added Simon Jean-Joseph ďCitroŽn Racing has managed to pull off this huge, but extremely rewarding, challenge. Weíve managed to present our customers with both a thrilling and ambitious competition. With its flexibility, allowing drivers to choose the events in which they would like to take part, and its international flavour Ė which permits them to sample rounds from a wide variety of championships Ė as well as an attractive prize structure, several competitors have signed up. Bearing in mind that we live in tricky economic times for the world of motorsport at the moment, we can draw an extremely positive initial conclusion. So in order to celebrate the success of the CitroŽn Racing Trophy, we had the idea of organising this get-together at the Antibes Rally.Ē

Marked out by its status as Franceís round of the European Rally Championship, the Antibes Rally fits in well with the outward-looking philosophy of the CitroŽn Racing Trophy. ďThe characteristics of the rally are a perfect match for the event that we want to put in place,Ē continued Simon Jean-Joseph. ďWhatís more it is a very nice rally, held on some challenging and well-known stages. The scene is set for us to give all the Trophy crews an experience that they will really remember.Ē

The Antibes Rally is the penultimate round of the European Rally Championship, taking in 239.07 competitive kilometres split over three days and 20 stages. Some of the stages on the itinerary, such as the Col de Bleine and the Col du Turini, are amongst the most famous in the history of the sport. The CitroŽn drivers who are about to tackle them share Simon Jean-Josephís enthusiasm.

ďIíve never taken part in the Antibes Rally before and Iím delighted that now Iím finally doing so,Ē said Marc Amourette, who will drive a CitroŽn C2 Super 1600. ďI already know a few of the stages from the Monte Carlo Rally. Our objective is to be the first two-wheel drive car home, with the highest overall placing that we can manage as well. Weíve got a very interesting collection of drivers competing here, which will enable everyone to really judge their level.Ē Northern Irishman Andrew Bushes is eager to get going in his similar car. ďItís fair enough to be feeling this keen,Ē he joked. ďAntibes will be my very first overseas rally. I know it wonít be easy but I canít wait to get started!Ē

ďThis was a brilliant idea from CitroŽn,Ē said Bryan Bouffier, the rally winner in 2006. ďThere will be 17 of us with a CitroŽn C2-R2 MAX, which should guarantee a fantastic battle. Thatís the whole reason why we go rallying. Iím convinced that the potential of the C2-R2 MAX will allow us to aim for an interesting overall result.Ē Amongst Bouffierís rivals will be Thierry Neuville, who is also relishing the opportunity to pit himself against new opposition. ďItís going to be a great experience!Ē said the young Belgian. ďIt will allow us to find out just where we are compared to the very quickest MAX drivers.Ē

While many drivers are inspired by the great battle that the C2-R2 MAX crews will undoubtedly deliver, others are simply impatient to discover new territory: particularly Irishman Martin McCormack. ďIím fully aware of the reputation of this rally,Ē said the 2009 C2-R2 UK Cup winner. ďWeíll be taking part in a legendary event, containing stages that have written rallying history. Itís a real pleasure to be participating.Ē Polish driver Jan Chmielewski is in complete agreement. ďItís fantastic to be able to meet top crews from other countries on such a rally,Ē he said. ďWeíve got the Col du Turini and 30-kilometre stages to look forward to Ė all thanks to CitroŽn.Ē

As the crews complete the recce and make their final preparations for the 44th Antibes Rally this week, the tension is mounting. It will reach a peak on Friday night at around 20:40, when the first competitor blasts onto the opening superspecial. The CitroŽn Racing Trophy will then be ready for its rendezvous with the best that Europe has to offer.

THE CITROňN RACING TROPHY DRIVERS IN RALLY ANTIBES ABELLI Julien 21 years old/C2-R2 MAX/95000 PARIS.
Codriver: Klinger Nicolas.
Team: PH-Sport.
Experience: Julien got into motorsport from a very young age. By the time he was 10, he was already competing in karts. He climbed the ranks of karting to eventually reach the World Championships. Onhis first F3 Euroseries race, aged 18, he won his class. He next switched to endurance racing for the 2007 season and then moved to Formula Renault in 2008, where he picked up some impressive results. This year, he has claimed several podiums and one win on the track. The Antibes Rally will be only his second taste of rallying after the Montbťliard Rally, which takes place the weekend before Antibes.
First motorsport memory? : "The races at Montlhťry that I used to go and watch with my father."
CitroŽn in a word? : "An excellent training ground."

AMOURETTE Marc
36 years old/C2 SUPER 1600/76340 REALCAMP.
Codriver: Marie Gwenola.
Team: Trajectoire Racing.
Experience: Having made his motorsport debut through circuit racing in the AX Cup (1993) Marc then moved onto rallycross, where he became French champion at the wheel of a Saxo Kit Car. Marc was a CitroŽn factory driver on the French Super 1600 Championship in 2002 and then won the C2 Super 1600 Challenge in 2004. He drove the C2-R2 on the French gravel Championship in 2006. In 2007 and 2008 he showed his skills with the C2 Super 1600 (Corsica 2007) and the C2-R2 MAX (Monte Carlo 2007 and Le Touquet 2008). This year, Marc has claimed two podiums at the wheel of the C2 Super 1600, on the Coeur de France Rally and Bťthunois Rally. He is competing on the Antibes Rally for the first time.
First motorsport memory? : "It was at a Formula 1 Grand Prix with my father. I was stunned by the noise and the amazing look of the Tyrell six-wheeler. I wanted a toy one straight away to play with!"
CitroŽn in a word? : "Competition."

BIASION Mathieu
30 years old/C2-R2 MAX/13100 AIX-EN-PROVENCE
Codriver: Descamps Jean-Charles.
Team: DP Autosport (Italy).
Experience: As a distant relative of two-time World Rally Champion Miki Biasion, Mathieu made his debut in the Peugeot junior formulae, driving a Peugeot 106 and then a 206. He next spent a season in Italy during 2003 before contesting the Junior World Rally Championship in 2004. He came back to France in 2005 and tried his hand at various World Rally Championship events in 2006. His first and only event at the wheel of a CitroŽn dates back to 2002, when he finished seventh on the Cardabelles Rally.
First motorsport memory? : "The Lancia Delta S4 making its way through the snow at the Le Burzet stage, on the 1986 Monte Carlo Rally."
CitroŽn in a word? : "Perfection"

BOSCH Florentin
20 years old/C2-R2 MAX/06740 CHATEAUNEUF
Codriver: Templier Romain.
Team: FB Rally, a team created by his father.
Experience: Florentin started off in the Peugeot 206 Cup last year, finishing 15th overall. This year, he has taken part in the Terre de Langres Rally and the Terre de Causses Rally with a C2-R2 MAX. First motorsport memory? : "The French gravel Championship won by my father in 1994, when I was five years old."
CitroŽn in a word? : "World Champions!"

BOUFFIER Bryan
31 years old/C2-R2 MAX/26150 DIE
Codriver: Baumel Mathieu.
Team: Trajectoire Racing.
Experience: Thanks to a father who was a rally driver himself, Bryan entered the world of motorsport very quickly. He won the Rallye Jeunes programme in 1999 and then entered the Peugeot Trophy from 2000 onwards. In 2002 he won the series and was given a works drive on the French Championship in a Peugeot 206 Super 1600, which he maintained for three years. In 2006 he spread his wings and competed on several rallies in Europe with a Peugeot 207 S2000. He became Peugeot Polandís factory driver and won two national championships there in 2007 and 2008 (and 2009 on Mitsubishi). At the same time, he took part in several rounds of the French gravel Championship in 2007. In 2009, he won Group R in the Terre de l'Auxerrois Rally at the wheel of a C2-R2 MAX.
First motorsport memory? : "Definitely the Group B cars in the 1980s."
CitroŽn in a word? : "Loeb!"

BUSHES Andrew
29 years old/C2 SUPER 1600/LISBURN, Northern Ireland.
Codriver: Myland Richard.
Team: NW Motorsport.
Experience: Andrew started his rally career in the co-driverís seat at age 16 before switching to the driverís side when he was 18. He won his class on his very first rally, at the wheel of an Opel Nova. In the Peugeot 106 that he switched to afterwards, he continued to rack up more success and became the national Super 1600 champion in 2006. During the same year, he first drove the Saxo Kit Car Ė which led him onto even greater achievements. This year, he has a C2 Super 1600 at his disposal, but he has only driven one rally with it. The Antibes Rally will be his second event with the C2 and his very first one outside of Britain.
CitroŽn in a word? : "A winning team!"

CESA Massimo
27 years old/C2-R2 MAX/BELLUNO, Italy.
Codriver: Rossi Luca.
Team: Vieffecorse.
Experience: Massimo made his competition debut in 2002 at the wheel of a Group N Peugeot 106. In 2004 he won the Peugeot Trophy. He began to drive a CitroŽn in 2008. Last year he finished second in the C2-R2 Cup and this year he won it with four event victories. While he already has 50 or so rallies behind him, Antibes will be a first for Maximo.
First motorsport memory? : "I come from an area that has produced drivers like Sandro Munari, Miki Biasion, Toni, and VudafieriÖso I have been immersed in a rally atmosphere for as long as I can remember."
CitroŽn in a word? : "Excellence."

CHMIELEWSKI Jan
26 years old/C2-R2 MAX/KRAKOW, Poland
Codriver: Pleskot Ireneusz.
Team: NEO-Rosetex Rally Team.
Experience: Jan started off in motorsport two years ago. After a season driving a Renault, he successfully made the switch to a CitroŽn C2-R2 with which he became Polish R2/A6 champion in 2008. This year he is competing on the CitroŽn Racing Trophy Polska with a C2-R2 MAX and he has won one rally so far. Leaving aside a rally he drove in the Czech Republic, Jan has no experience outside of Poland.
First motorsport memory? : "When I was little, I had a sports steering wheel that I used to play with in my room. I sat down, made the noise of a racing car, and tried to go as quickly as possible!"
CitroŽn in a word? : "A great company."

GAJEK Nicolas
37 years old/C2-R2 MAX/92140 CLAMART
Codriver: Godet Vincent.
Team: Trajectoire Racing.
Experience: Nicolas made his debut in 1997 in an AX GTI, with which he took part in the AX challenge. He moved onto the Saxo Challenge in 2004 and made his name in national and regional events in the north of France and Normandy. Nicolas is a research technician at the PSA technical centre in Vťlizy. This will be his first participation in the Antibes Rally.
First motorsport memory? : "I think it was probably sat on my fatherís lap and driving his Peugeot 404, with its enormous steering wheel."
CitroŽn in a word? : "Loyalty, as Iíve only ever driven CitroŽn rally cars: the AX GTI, Saxo Challenge, C2-R2 MAX."

LAFONT Eric
48 years old /C2-R2 MAX/38250 VILLARD DE LANS.
Codriver: Lafont Nadine.
Team: PH-Sport.
Experience: The Frenchman got his rally career underway with some selected events in 2003. He then decided to focus exclusively on the French Rally Championship after sampling the Criterium des Cevennes Rally. He has been a mainstay of the championship for several years (2004, 2005 and 2006) taking numerous class victories. Since 2009, he has been a CitroŽn customer.
First motorsport memory? : "Following the Monte Carlo Rally in a 2CV during the early 1980s."
CitroŽn in a word? : "Passion."

MACKERER Pascal
48 years old/C2-R2 MAX/68610 LAUTENBACH ZELL
Codriver: Risser Hubert.
Team: PH-Sport.
Experience: Since starting his career in 1979, Pascal has accumulated plenty of experience on several different rallies on a wide variety of surfaces. He has participated in many junior formulae both with CitroŽn and Peugeot, claiming an impressive haul of victories. In 2009 he won Group R on the Saint- Yrieix Rally with the C2-R2 MAX. He already has two participations on the Antibes Rally behind him. First motorsport memory? : "The Lorraine Rally, which I followed on my motor scooter. I was about 12 or 13 years old and I saw drivers like Jacques Henry and Jean-Claude Andruet."
CitroŽn in a word? : "As Iím an old man now I would have said 2CV or DSÖbut these days Iíd rather say Sebastien Loeb: and furthermore heís from Alsace like me! "

McELHINNEY Adrian
32 years old/C2-R2 MAX/DONEGAL, Ireland
Codriver: Buckley Shane.
Team: MCD Rally Service.
Experience: Adrian made his debut at the age of 18 with a Suzuki that he kept for four years, before switching to a Peugeot 206 and finally a CitroŽn C2-R2. In 2009 he won the C2-R2 Irish Cup. He has already visited several French rallies as a mechanic, but the Antibes Rally will be a new experience for him.
First motorsport memory? : "My fatherís Mini racing car."
CitroŽn in a word? : "Rally."

McCORMACK Martin
23 years old/C2-R2 MAX/DRAPERSTOWN, Northern Ireland.
Codriver: Roberts David.
Team: John McKallop.
Experience: Martin started driving when he was aged 20. His first rallies were in a Ford Escort with his brother. In 2008, he made his debut in a CitroŽn C2-R2 with which he won the C2-R2 Irish Cup. This season, at the wheel of a C2-R2 MAX, he won the C2-R2 CUP UK. The recent Le Touquet Rally marked the first time that he had competed outside of his homeland. First motorsport memory? : "My brother Greg competed for a long time and my first memories of motorsport are with him, both on events and at the house where he kept his cars."
CitroŽn in a word? : "Professionalism."

MONTANA Francesco
39 years old/C2-R2 MAX/SALENTO, Italy.
Codriver: Montagna Alberto.
Team: Vieffecorse.
Experience: This southern Italian driver has taken part in around 100 rallies with a huge variety of cars (Talbot Sunbeam, Fiat 131, Renault 5 GT, MitsubishiÖ). He has had a CitroŽn for two years and is competing on the Antibes Rally for the first time.
First motorsport memory? : "The Salento Rally, where I come from."
CitroŽn in a word? : "Magnifico!"

NEUVILLE Thierry
21 years old/C2-R2 MAX/SANKT-VITH, Belgium.
Codriver: Gilsoul Nicolas.
Team: Willy Plas Motorsport International.
Experience: When Thierry was 19, he won a competition to spot young up-and-coming rally talents. His prize was a season in the 2008 Belgian Championship. At the end of the year, the Belgian Motorsport Federation decided to support him. Thierry entered the CitroŽn Racing Trophy Belux and won his first event. Since the start of this season, Thierry has contested three rallies in France, claiming R2 victories at the Rouergue and Terre de Langres events. On the ADAC Kohle und Stahl Rally in Germany, the Belgian took his and the C2-R2 MAXís first overall win. Before heading for the Antibes Rally, Thierry contested the Catalunya Rally in Spain. He dominated the R2 class before being forced into retirement.
First motorsport memory? : "For me, itís watching Bruno Thiry on the 2001 Condroz Rally, when he was driving a Skoda Octavia WRC."
CitroŽn in a word? : "A fantastic spirit of competition."

PERRIN Benjamin
26 years old/C2-R2 MAX/71500 BRANGES.
Codriver: Perrin Quentin.
Team: Automeca.
Experience: Benjamin is the son of Jean-Paul Perrin, who won the Regional Rallies Final at Mazamet in 2002. He made his debut co-driving for his father before switching to the driverís seat when he was aged 20. After contesting a few events close to home in order to get up to speed, Benjamin then entered the junior formulae where he built up some good experience on both surfaces. This season he won Group R on the Vins M‚con Rally, but Antibes is completely new to him.
First motorsport memory? : "Herbie: the film and the exploits of that Volkswagen Beetle with number 53 on the bonnet!"

PLETKA TomŠö
34 years old/C2-R2 MAX/MILOVICE, Czech Republic.
Codriver: Novak Petr
Team: V.D.K Racing Team.
Experience: Tomas made his competitive debut in 2005 at the wheel of a Skoda Felicia 1.6 before moving onto the Felicia Kit Car in 2006. At the end of the 2007 season he acquired a CitroŽn C2-R2 (finishing fifth in his national A6/Super 1600 championship) and then converted it into MAX specification for the 2008 season (where he again finished fifth). He then bought a brand new C2-R2 MAX from CitroŽn Racing for this year. Tomas benefits from some experience of international events, having already participated in rallies in Austria, Croatia, Catalunya (2007), and Germany (2008). This will be his second Antibes Rally.
First motorsport memory? : "When I was little I had a Group B Audi Quattro S2 matchbox model, which I played with all the time!"
CitroŽn in a word? : "The best way to go rallying."

PRITCHARD Jason
21 years old/C2-R2 MAX/BUILTH WELLS, Wales.
Codriver: Edwards Andrew.
Team: North Road Garage
Experience: Jason started out in rallycross at the age of 16 and then took part in his first rally aged 17 with a Peugeot 106 Maxi. In 2006 he had his first taste of the CitroŽn C2-R2, with which he won the UK Cup in 2008. This will be his first Antibes Rally.
First motorsport memory? : "There are some photographs of me at the very first rally I ever attended, when I was just two months old!"
CitroŽn in a word? : "Professionalism"

QUINSAC Xavier
30 years old/C2-R2 MAX/06700 ST LAURENT DU VAR.
Codriver: Duchemin Aymeric.
Team: Automeca.
Experience: Xavier contested his first event, the Antibes Rally, in 1998. Up until 2003 he competed mainly in his home region before embarking on a Peugeot Trophy campaign. In 2005 he contested the Var Rally with a C2 and finished fourth amongst the Challenge competitors. In 2007 and 2008 he switched makes and drove on the Suzuki Cup, before returning to the PSA Group fold in 2009. He knows the Antibes Rally very well, having competed on it seven times before. This tally includes two successes in the Peugeot 206 series (2005 and 2007). Xavier won his first rally this year, at Fayence.
First motorsport memory? : "When I was 17, I had a date with a girl on the Col du Turini. I went there wearing a bucket-load of aftershave and a ton of hair gel. She never turned up, but I got to see Dominique De Meyerís BMW M3 Ė and I was bitten by the motorsport bug!"
CitroŽn in a word? : "World Champions!"

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