Acropolis - Citroen Junior Team - Preview
Three weeks after a successful outing in Sardinia, which resulted in a fine fifth place for Evgeny Novikov and Dale Moscatt, the Citroen Junior Team will once more line up three C4 WRCs for the start of the Acropolis Rally in Greece:
one of the classic fixtures on the WRC calendar.
For the first time in its history, Greece's round of the World Rally Championship will be based in Loutraki. On the first day, a remote service area based in Itea will host the crews as they contest stages to the north of the Gulf of Corinth.
Day Two will use stages in the Peloponnese that have not seen competitive action since the 1980s. The rally will finish on Sunday with five final stages, including two runs through the fearsome Aghii Theodori test.
Just as was the case in Italy, Conrad Rautenbach/Daniel Barritt and Evgeny Novikov/Dale Moscatt have been nominated to score manufacturer points for the Citroen Junior Team, which is currently fourth in the World Rally Championship standings.
Conrad Rautenbach will be starting his fifth Acropolis Rally, which is also the second time that he will have competed in Greece at the wheel of a C4 WRC.
"We learned a lot in Sardinia, thanks to the very tricky roads there and the hot temperatures," Rautenbach reported. "I think we are well-prepared for Greece now. There are some new stages planned for this year, which are a bonus for us as we are still just gaining experience. I'm impatient for the rally to start now, so that we can demonstrate our progress.
After driving a flawless rally on the last round in Italy, Evgeny Novikov and Dale Moscatt scored their first-ever World Rally Championship points by finishing fifth. In Greece, which shares certain characteristics with Sardinia, the Russian driver hopes to continue making progress.
"The result in Sardinia was a huge source of satisfaction for us," he said. "This year, our aim is simply to learn, whilst at the same time demonstrating that we are capable of putting in some good performances. In Greece, I want to stick with the same sort of pace. The rally will once more be an extremely tricky one, with temperatures that are likely to exceed 50°C in the cockpit."
Sebastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia got off to an excellent start in Italy and would like to continue their progress in Greece.
"The objective remains the same," confirmed the Frenchman. "The plan is to be as consistent as possible throughout the rally in order to be sure of making the finish. The conditions in Greece are likely to be even tougher than they were in Italy."
"It's going to be a question of staying very careful and concentrated throughout both the recce and the actual rally," Ogier pointed out. "I hope to have something to show for it all at the end!"