Citroen has written-off the rest of this year’s World Rally Championship season and is now focused on returning to the front in 2018.
The French firm has endured a shocking debut season with the C3 WRC, despite stepping back from the 2016 WRC to work on development of the new car.
Ahead of the season, Citroen was expected to dominate, but the Parisians still languish at the foot of the manufacturers’ table after a nightmare run of results.
Team principal Yves Matton told Motorsport News that his squad is now directing its efforts for the remainder of this season towards a new start in 2018.
“The idea now is to work toward a middle and long-term view,” Matton said. “We are working towards 2018 when we want to find back the pace.
“We cannot say we don’t have the pace, we have the pace in some conditions – but in rallying it’s not enough to have the pace in some places. We are working to have the pace from a car in every condition.”
Matton was quick to add that he wasn’t writing off Citroen’s chances of winning more rallies – after Kris Meeke’s Rally Mexico victory early in the year – but he added that the emphasis had changed in every aspect of the programme.
He said: “When we are testing now we are working more in development than in testing for the set-up for a specific rally.
“This doesn’t mean we cannot fight for the victory in a rally, but we have changed the approach more than a little bit.”
At the last event in Poland, Andreas Mikkelsen ran the team’s lead car with a different technical specification to the other two factory C3 WRCs with homologation changes made to the Norwegian driver’s Citroen.
“We never did this before, running cars in different specifications,” said Matton. “But we learned a lot in Poland.
“I took the decision after [Rally Italy in] Sardinia that we would homologate the new torque split. The work with the suspension is not so straightforward.
“With the torque split you change the part and it’s working or it’s not working. With the suspension, you cannot take the shock absorber from the shelf and expect it to be perfect.”
Mikkelsen is confident the car has moved on with the homologation changes he tried.
“We did a lot of changes to the car before Poland and the team is very happy about this,” he said.
“We worked on the differential to try to stop the rear sliding so much and this is good.
“We did a lot in those two days, but it takes time – you know you don’t build a new damper in a day. There is more to come, especially in the suspension.”