Having secured an official drive in a Citroën C3 R5 for the French championship season after winning the Peugeot 208 Rallye Cup last year, Yohan Rossel and Benoît Fulcrand will begin their campaign this weekend on the stages of the Rallye du Touquet-Pas de Calais.
In 2019, PSA Motorsport will remain true to its tradition of identifying and promoting talented young drivers by officially entering a C3 R5 – its flagship customer racing product – in the French Rally Championship for Yohan Rossel, one of the sport’s rising stars. The 24 year-old Frenchman is a pure product of the PSA group’s promotional formulas: having won the 2014 Citroën Racing Junior Trophy in a DS3 R1, he claimed the Citroën Racing Trophy in 2016 in a DS3 R3 before then securing last year’s Peugeot 208 Rallye Cup, winning four of the seven races. A result that led to his promotion this season, as stipulated in the rules of the Peugeot cup.
Despite his young age, Yohan already has considerable experience of racing on French roads. He drove to overall victory at the 2017 Critérium des Cévennes in a DS3 R5 and also secured two other podium finishes that year (2nd at the Rallye Lyon-Charbonnières and 3rd at the Rallye du Var). He therefore has legitimate hopes of success this year and will undoubtedly be a good ambassador for the C3 R5.
He will be helped by taking part in pre-event testing before each race and has already been involved in the development programme for Citroën’s latest model. The season kicks off this weekend with the 2019 Rallye du Touquet-Pas de Calais, the first of nine rounds in the French Asphalt Rally Championship. This will be Yohan’s third appearance here, as he takes on the particularly fast and slippery stages on the Côte d’Opale. With a total of twenty-five R5s expected to start, competition promises to be very stiff, especially as Yohan will be up against the likes of Yoann Bonato – Benjamin Boulloud, the defending and two-time French champions, and Stéphane Lefebvre – Xavier Portier, also competing in a C3 R5. Adrien Van Beveren, the motocross and cross-country rally rider, has also chosen the C3 R5 to contest his first ever car rally on home soil, after two previous experiences as a safety crew driver.
Didier Clément, Head of Customer Racing Promotion, Citroën Racing.
“The synergy that exists between Peugeot Sport and Citroën Racing provides a genuine opportunity to rise through the ranks for the winner of the 208 Rallye Cup and we are delighted that this is the case. The idea was to ensure the lucky winner had every chance of success, which is why we chose the French championship, so that Yohan didn’t have to learn new events given that he already had to step up from an R2 to an R5. The championship is also one of the most competitive in Europe and the stages in France provide the ideal setting to showcase both the C3 R5 and Yohan’s qualities. Yohan already has some experience in the R5 category, and we are going to support his progression by giving him several opportunities to drive the car, so that he can gradually up his pace and aim for the best possible results.”
Yohan Rossel, Citroën Total driver
“I’m delighted by the opportunity that has been given to me with the C3 R5, especially as I’ll have all the support I need to do well with supervision and input from Citroën Racing. I already did a day of development testing before Monte-Carlo, then another one recently in Corsica, as well as some testing at the start of the week on the roads around Le Touquet, so I feel well prepared and confident in the car. I hope we get a bit of rain for the shakedown, that way we will have run through all the potential conditions before the start of the rally as there are often showers at this round. The goal will be to get among the frontrunners from the word go, whilst trying to have a clean race and secure some big points.”
2019 FRENCH RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP CALENDAR
1. Rallye Le Touquet Pas-de-Calais (14-16 March)
2. Rallye Lyon Charbonnières – Rhône (18-20 April)
3. Rallye Antibes Côte d’Azur (17-19 May)
4. Rallye Vosges Grand Est (14-16 June)
5. Rallye Aveyron Rouergue Occitanie (4-6 July)
6. Rallye Mont-Blanc Morzine (5-7 September)
7. Rallye Cœur de France (27-29 September)
8. Critérium des Cévennes (24-26 October)
9. Rallye du Var (22-24 November)