Belfast Telegraph

Meeke leads in Monte Carlo but Breen must be patient

By Sammy Hamill

Citroen have entered their three contracted drivers in the season-opening Monte Carlo Rally in January but only Kris Meeke and Stephane Lefebrve will drive the all-new C3 car.

Circuit of Ireland winner Craig Breen has been entered in a 2016-specification DS3. However, he and Lefebrve are expected to switch roles for round two of the World Championship, Rally Sweden, in February.

It may be the fourth round, Rally France in April, before Citroen are ready to field a third C3, the new generation car which has been extensively tested and developed by Meeke. The preparation programme continued this week with Meeke and Lefebrve filmed testing the car on snow-covered roads in the south of France.

The Ulsterman will lead the team in all four rounds, including Rally Mexico in March, with Breen and Lefebrve alternating in the second C3. The provisional Monte Carlo entry list, the first event to feature the 2017-specification cars, also includes the new Toyota team who have nominated Jari-Matti Latvala and Juho Hanninen, another former Circuit of Ireland winner, to debut their WRC Yaris.

Hyundai have entered all three of their drivers, Dani Sordo, Thierry Neuville and Hayden Paddon, in a trio of new i20s but so far the early list does not include any entries from the M-Sport Ford team.

They pulled off a coup by signing four-time World champion Sebastien Ogier and he is expected to line-up alongside Ott Tanak and possibly Eric Camilli. Negotiations to secure a place for Ulster Rally winner and British champion Elfyn Evans in a DMACK Tyres entered Fiesta are continuing.

But while Ogier and Latvala have found teams following the exit of Volkswagen, Andreas Mikkelsen will drive an R5 Skoda Fabia in Monte Carlo in WRC2.

Belfast Telegraph


From Belfast Telegraph