2017 has been a highly anti climatic year for Citroen Racing as all their development work over the last eighteen months with the new C4 fell short of their competitors it seemed.
Number one driver for season’17, Kris Meeke had a nervous start with an off in Monte Carlo running wide an hitting an ice bank on a fast left and arrive in Sweden it seemed as though the Citroen C4 was leading Kris and calling the shots rather than the opposite way around and come to the penultimate stage we heard a very angry Meeke saying “I’m not fucking driving this.”
Mexico brought hope, where Meeke was consistently at the front and took the Rally victory despite a bizarre off in the final power stage through a car park, though he had enough in hand to take the rally victory. Citroen boss Yves Matton and his team were most likely less than pleased to witness the off and possibly are still holding it against the Dungannon man.
So what’s gone wrong?
Citroen Racing seem to believe the answer is drivers, chopping and changing driver line ups, dropping all three drivers at different events, Kris Meeke, Craig Breen and Stefan Lefebvre before drafting Andreas Mikkelson in for selected rallies. All of whom are in coherence with the handling issues that lie beneath the C4 but Citroen seem to have taken it in their stride and get the nine time champion Sebastian Loeb back in the drivers seat to test the C4. Less than surprising to every one else in the rallying world, Loeb’s reviews were in line with what everyone else has been saying.
Fast forward and now with over 75% of the season completed, number one from the beginning Kris Meeke has little or no confidence in the car and team around him and openly admits he can’t find the limits because of his lack of confidence, Craig Breen has been probably the most consistent driver in 2017 and is leading Citroen driver in the points championship yet he has been dropped for Spain where Meeke lines up alongside Lefebvre and Al-Quassimi. Meanwhile Andreas Mikkelson has signed for Hyundai and Citroen are trailing the manufacturers championship by a lengthy margain.
Is it time for a management shake up at Citroen Racing ? We think so!