Citroen Racing team principal Yves Matton says Sebastien Loeb’s impressions and feedback on its C3 during testing correlated to that of Kris Meeke, Craig Breen and Andreas Mikkelsen but no further word has been given on a potential return to WRC for the nine-time world champion.
While Citroen aims to turnaround its underwhelming 2017 in WRC it called on the services of Loeb during a test on asphalt as part of its extensive preparations ahead of the ADAC Rallye Deutschland next weekend (18-20 July).
On the final day of a week-long test, Loeb enjoyed his first session in a 2017-specificaiton WRC car for Citroen which has given the French manufacturer encouragement and hopes to see the nine-time world champion return for a test on gravel before the end of the year.
Matton says Loeb’s information was in line with his regular drivers and was impressed by his speed and consistency despite being away from the WRC since the 2015 Rallye Monte Carlo.
“Sebastien Loeb and Daniel Elena then did an additional day’s work [on the seven day test],” Matton said. “The heavy rain that fell in the morning wasn’t ideal but it helped us gather valuable information on driving in such specific conditions.
“In the dry, Seb’s impressions matched those of Kris, Craig and Andreas and we compared the different technical feedback. Everything appears to be following on consistently after the Tour de Corse, where we showed how competitive the C3 WRC is on tarmac.”
With Meeke’s victory in Mexico remaining Citroen’s sole rostrum appearance so far in 2017, Matton expects another tough challenge in Germany but with Breen finishing in fifth place last time out in Finland and a healthy bank of testing completed the rostrum remains the target for the remainder of the year.
“As has often been the case this season, the race is bound to be very tight,” he said. “We aim to be among the frontrunners but it’s difficult to make any predictions, especially as the weather is likely to significantly influence the way that the race plays out.”