Four aces in the pack for the Citroën Junior Team
Rally of Great Britain (22-25 October 2009) – Preview

For the first time the Citroën Junior Team will enter four Citroën C4 WRCs on the Rally Great Britain: the final round of this year’s FIA World Rally Championship. The regular Citroën Junior Team crews of Sébastien Ogier/Julien Ingrassia and Conrad Rautenbach/Daniel Barritt will be joined on this occasion by Petter Solberg/Phil Mills and Aaron Burkart/Michael Kölbach.

Three weeks after a first-rate performance on the rapid asphalt of Catalunya, the Citroën Junior Team will field four C4 WRCs on the all-gravel Rally Great Britain. Petter Solberg, who was fourth in Spain on his debut with the C4 WRC, joins the Citroën Junior Team and is nominated to score points in the manufacturers’ championship. The 2003 World Rally Champion has triumphed in Wales four times, and he starts this year’s event with high hopes. “The Citroën Junior Team has given me a great chance to show what I can do with a competitive car,” he said. “My goal is obviously to be fighting at the front. I’ve already been extremely impressed with the performance of the C4 WRC and I hope to be able to seize every opportunity that comes my way on these stages that I really love.”

Sébastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia, who currently lie eighth in the World Rally Championship, are returning to the event where they made their debut at the wheel of the C4 WRC in 2008. One year ago, the duo hit the headlines by sensationally grabbing the rally lead on the opening stages. “This will be the very first rally that we have driven before with a WRC car,” said Sébastien. “I don’t think that this will give us any particular advantage, but it should certainly make things a little bit easier. I also hope that the conditions will be a little better than they were last year. As the rally is running a month earlier, there should at least be no ice this time. We’re coming to Rally GB with no particular pressure. The idea is for us to get quickly up to speed and aim for a good result. A top-five finish would be great, but if the podium is within our reach then we will do everything possible to go for it.” Sébastien and Julien will be the second crew nominated to score manufacturer points.

For Conrad Rautenbach – who lives in London – and his English co-driver Daniel Barritt, the Rally Great Britain is their home event. “I’ve always loved this rally,” said the Zimbabwean. “I feel at home here and I’ve got loads of supporters. The stages are fantastic, especially those run on the first day. It’s going to be a very nice rally. I hope I get a good feeling with the car and finish in the points.”

Aaron Burkart was classified second in the 2008 Junior World Rally Championship at the wheel of a Citroën C2 Super 1600, and he will drive a Citroën C4 WRC on the Rally Great Britain as part of his prize through the Citroën Junior Experience: “I’d like to thank Citroën for this fantastic initiative,” said the German. “We’re going to be learning all about the C4 WRC from scratch on some extremely demanding roads. I hope to reach the finish so that I can make the most of this experience and enjoy myself as much as possible.”

Evgeny Novikov will not start the final round of the season. The Citroën Junior Team is naturally disappointed by the decision of the 19-year-old Russian driver, which is due to some of the difficulties he has experienced on certain rallies this year.

Three questions to… Petter Solberg
You got to know the Citroën C4 WRC on the Catalunya Rally. What were your first impressions of it?
“Driving such a fantastic and fast WRC machine again was a dream that has become a reality for me. On asphalt the car made a big impression, even though I was still learning it. It’s a great chance for me now to drive a car as competitive as this one. I’ve already done some gravel tests and I’ve felt very comfortable with the C4 WRC from the start. We’ve got some other tests planned next week. I hope we can do the maximum number of kilometres possible in testing so that we are completely ready for the Rally Great Britain.”

You’re joining the Citroën Junior Team for this final round of the season. What is your feeling with the team?
“It feels like I am going back to my roots in many ways. I’ve had some highs and some lows but now I’m sitting on a great opportunity thanks to Citroën. I’m like a young driver who is keen to get noticed. I want to show what I am capable of and do everything possible to make the most of this chance. At the same time, my goal will also be to get a good result for the Citroën Junior Team. »

You’ve already won the Rally Great Britain four times. What’s your goal for this year?
“What else can I hope for apart from an excellent result with the Citroën C4 WRC? The Rally Great Britain is an event that I really enjoy. My co-driver Phil Mills will also be rallying on home territory in front of a huge number of his supporters. I want to fight at the front, with the very best drivers, as I’ve always tried to do whenever I’ve had the right equipment to do it!”

Useful information
Rally of Great Britain (round 12/12) (22-25 October)

Surface: gravel

Where: Cardiff

Practical information: Rally HQ and the media centre are located within the Wales Millennium Centre. The service park is next to the Wales Millennium Centre. There is a one-hour time gap between Great Britain and France (GMT +1, until Sunday morning when the clocks go back to GMT). So at 0200 on Sunday 25 October, the time will go back to 0100. On the first day of the rally, Friday 23 October, the sun will rise at 0751 and set at 1800. On Sunday 25 October, the sun will rise at 0655 and set at 1656. In October, local temperatures tend to range between 8 and 14°C. The average rainfall is 109mm. The local currency is the Pound Sterling (£). £1 = 1.07€.

Technical: The Citroën C4 WRCs driven by Sébastien Ogier and Petter Solberg will be equipped with engines already used in Australia and Spain.

Tyres: A total of 42 soft-compound Pirelli Scorpion WRC 205/65R15 tyres will be at the disposal of each crew for the rally. Competitors will be allowed to carry two spare wheels but cutting the tyres is prohibited.

Reconnaissance: This will take place on Tuesday 20 October and Wednesday 21 October between 0800 and 1900, with a maximum of two runs allowed over each stage. The maximum speed allowed is 80kph unless local road signs indicate otherwise.

Shakedown: This will take place between 0800 and 1200 at Margam Park, on a 4.95-kilometre stage 61 kilometres away from the service park.

Press conference: Thursday 22 October at 1330 in the media centre.

Route: Total length of 1466.27 kilometres, of which 348.30 kilometres are competitive. There are 16 stages (8 different stages).

Timing: Day 1 – Friday 23 October: 584.78 km of which 130.30 km are competitive (6 stages, 3 different stages). Start: 0600 – SS1: ‘Hafren 1’ (32.14 km) – SS2: ‘Sweet Lamb 1’ (5.13 km) – SS3: ‘Myherin 1’ (27.88 km) – Regrouping (1155/10 min) – Remote service A (1205/15 min) – SS4: ‘Hafren 2’ (32.14 km) – SS5: ‘Sweet Lamb 2’ (5.13 km) – SS6: ‘Myherin 2’ (27.88 km) – Service B (1816/45 min) – Last car into parc fermé at 2230.

Day 2 - Saturday 24 October: 571.92 km of which 138.16 km are competitive (6 stages, 3 different stages). Service C (0710/15 min) – SS7: ‘Rhondda 1’ (35.72 km) – SS8: ‘Crychan 1’ (14.99 km) – SS9: ‘Halfway 1’ (18.37 km) – Regrouping (1304/14 min) – Service D (1318/30 min) – SS10: ‘Rhondda 2’ (35.72 km) – SS11: ‘Crychan 2’ (14.99 km) – SS12: ‘Halfway 2’ (18.37 km) – Service E (1933/45 min) – Last car into parc fermé at 2330.

Day 3 - Sunday 25 October: 309.57 km of which 79.84 km are competitive (4 stages, 2 different stages). Service F (0710/15 min) – SS13: ‘Port Talbot 1’ (17.41 km) – SS14: ‘Rheola 1’ (22.51 km) – Regrouping (0959/20 min) – SS15: ‘Port Talbot 2’ (17.41 km) – SS16: ‘Rheola 2’ (22.51 km) – Regrouping (1350/3 min) – Service G (1353/10 min) – Finish at 1403.

Final podium: Sunday 25 October from 1435.
Final press conference: Sunday 25 October at 1530 in the media centre. Route: The forests of Hafren and Myherin will provide the backdrop to the first day of the rally. The Hafren stage (SS1 and SS4) is longer than it was last year and Sweet Lamb (SS2 and SS5) has also changed. Myherin (SS3 and SS6) has been re-routed to avoid a stream. On Saturday, Rhondda (SS7 and SS10) will utilise roads that have not seen action since 2003, while the end of the test uses a section from last year’s Resolfen stage. Halfway (SS9 and SS12) is run the same way round as it was in 2007. On the final day, Port Talbot (SS13 and SS15) is exactly as it was in 2007, while a new section has been added onto Rheola (SS14 and SS16).

The crews before this rally:
Petter Solberg: First WRC rally: Sweden 98 (16th) – WRC wins: 13 – WRC rallies: 148.

Phil Mills: First WRC rally: Great Britain 90 (ret.) – WRC wins: 13 – WRC rallies: 154.

Sébastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia: First WRC rally: Mexico 08 (C2 S1600 / 8th, 1st JWRC) – WRC

rallies: 19 – Junior World Rally Champion: 2008 (C2 S1600).

Conrad Rautenbach: First WRC rally: Monte Carlo 04 (ret.) – WRC rallies: 55.

Daniel Barritt: First WRC rally: Great Britain 00 (ret.) – WRC rallies: 36.

Aaron Burkart: First WRC rally: Germany 03 (ret.) – WRC rallies: 30.

Michael Kölbach: First WRC rally: Great Britain 95 (35th) – WRC rallies: 34.

The crews at the start of the Rally Great Britain:
Petter Solberg: 12th participation: 2008 (4th), 2007 (4th), 2006 (3rd), 2005 (1st), 2004 (1st), 2003 (1st), 2002 (1st), 2001 (ret.), 2000 (ret.), 1999 (9th), 1998 (ret.).

Phil Mills: 14th participation: 2008 (4th), 2007 (4th), 2006 (3rd), 2005 (1st), 2004 (1st), 2003 (1st), 2002 (1st), 2001 (ret.), 2000 (ret.), 1999 (9th), 1998 (ret.), 1997 (ret.), 1990 (ret.).

Sébastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia: 2nd participation: 2008 (C4 WRC/26th). Conrad Rautenbach: 5th participation: 2008 (C4 WRC/15th), 2007 (Xsara WRC/ret.), 2006 (64th), 2004 (ret.).

Daniel Barritt: 6th participation: 2008 (C4 WRC/ret.), 2006 (51st), 2005 (24th), 2002 (ret.), 2000 (ret.). Aaron Burkart: 3rd participation: 2006 (C2 S1600/24th), 2005 (Saxo S1600/ret.). Michael Kölbach: 3rd participation: 2002 (ret.), 1995 (35th).

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