Citroën Total Abu Dhabi WRT has opted to make use of the summer break in the WRC calendar to enter Craig Breen – Scott Martin at Rally Estonia in their C3 WRC. Offering similar characteristics to Finland’s fast flowing stages, this non-world championship event will help the team prepare for the famous “1,000 Lakes Rally”.
Whilst the crews tackled the roads of Rally de Sardegna, the last outing in the WRC, at an average speed of around 115kph, they will be contesting the stages in Finland (26-29 July) at closer to 130kph. They will also have to deal with a constant stream of crests and big jumps, which are rarely negotiated on straight sections. This is why Citroën Total Abu Dhabi WRT has decided to enter Craig Breen in a non-WRC event at Rally Estonia, as it aims to fine-tune its preparations for the specific challenges that lie ahead in late July around Jyväskylä. Equally renowned for its very quick roads, this rally will enable the Irishman to reacquaint himself with higher speeds in the C3 WRC, get used to the fast-flowing countryside and the incredibly precise driving called for on this kind of event. Of course, it was in Finland that Craig scored his first WRC podium in 2016 (3rd) and he will therefore be determined to do well again there this year. This full-scale test session will provide Citroën with additional feedback to supplement the information that can be acquired during testing. Based near to Tartu, in the south-east of the country, the event will be something of a dress rehearsal for Finland, with other WRC regulars also competing, and will see Craig Breen and Scott Martin contest sixteen stages over a competitive distance of 146.04km.
WHAT THEY SAID
Pierre Budar, Citroën Racing Team Principal
“The purpose of this outing is to help Craig get into the best possible shape before Finland. It will also be useful from a technical point of view and supplement our normal pre-event test session because it will enable us to use a greater variety of roads. Similarly, when you drive in proper racing conditions, with pace notes, you acquire other information than you do in testing, where the driver tends to learn the roads by heart very quickly.”
“This will be my third time here after 2011 and 2015, and although the stages seem to have changed quite a bit since then, this appearance looks like it will be excellent preparation for Rally Finland. The stages here are extremely fast, quicker than in Finland in places, in fact. They will help me to get used to driving at high speeds again and be on the pace from the word go at the end of July in Jyväskylä.”