After a month-long summer break, the FIA World Rally Championship heads to Finland for the ninth round of the series from 30 July to 2 August. The Citroen Junior Team will be running three C4 WRCs for its crews: Sebastien Ogier/Julien Ingrassia, Evgeny Novikov/Dale Moscatt and Conrad
By improving both its performance and reliability throughout the second third of the season, the Citroen Junior Team has gone from strength to strength since April. In Argentina, Italy, Greece and Poland, the team always managed to place at least one of its C4 WRCs in the points, thanks to Ogier, Rautenbach and Novikov.
Some fastest times from Ogier and Novikov on the world's toughest stages have also underlined the growing potential of the operation and its drivers.
One month after a promising performance in Poland, the team now faces a real icon in the world of rallying. Finland is well known as the spiritual home of rallying, producing six World Champions that have claimed 13 of the 30 world titles allocated since 1979. The event's rapid stages and rollercoaster crests make it an unforgettable experience for everyone who goes there.
Ogier and Novikov have been nominated to score manufacturer points for the Citroen Junior Team, with Rautenbach entered in the third car. In order to prepare for the quickest rally of the season, the three crews undertook a three-day test last weekend to set up their C4 WRCs and get to grips with the unique conditions of Finland.
Having first sampled the Finnish stages at the wheel of a C2-R2 MAX, Sebastien Ogier will re-acquaint himself with the rapid gravel roads at the wheel of a C4 WRC.
"While I've already been to Finland, everything's going to be a lot quicker this year," he said. "Our test before the start of the rally should help me a lot. Our main objective is to continue building up experience by driving consistently and getting to the finish of each rally without hitting problems."
After putting in some remarkable performances throughout the season to date, Evgeny Novikov starts his very first Rally Finland with plenty of confidence.
"This extremely tricky rally will be a completely new experience for us," he explained. "Our recent performances have been encouraging. I'm beginning to develop a really good feeling with the C4 WRC. Our ambition is to continue the progress we have made by setting some good stage times and getting to the finish without resorting to SupeRally."
Conrad Rautenbach will start the Rally Finland for the sixth time: his second Finnish event at the wheel of the Citroen C4 WRC. The Zimbabwean finds it impossible to hide his enthusiasm for the rally.
"There's nothing that comes close to the feeling you get when you launch a WRC car into the air for 30 or 40 metres," he said. "This is a very technical rally that you have to approach with really good pace notes. My objective is to get to the finish and set some good times along the way. If everything goes well, we should be in a good position to score points."