Citroen Australia has announced it will enter a two-car factory-backed team in the 2014 Australian Rally Championship (ARC).
The new team will be hoping to deliver the local division of the French manufacturer similar success to the brand’s recent World Rally Championship (WRC) domination that has seen Citroen claim eight constructor’s titles since debuting in 1989 – helped in no small part by nine-time WRC World Champion Sebastien Loeb.
Citroen Australia general manager John Startari said the team is very excited to have the opportunity to extend Citroen’s successful rallying heritage to the local series.
“This is the first time Citroen Australia has had a factory backed team in the event and this gives [us] the opportunity to prove the quality and reliability of our cars in the tough sport of rallying,’’ Startari said.
The man who will head Team Citroen Australia, team principal Ron Cremen, brings top-level experience coming from his current role as team manager for the Abu Dhabi Citroen Total World Rally Team competing in this year’s international championship.
“Our team of youth and experience looks forward to the demanding challenges of the 2014 Australian Rally Championship in the DS3-R3,” Cremen said.
As part of Citroen’s ARC campaign, an apprentice scheme allowing Citroen mechanics the opportunity to be involved in a race team environment will be introduced.
Citroen Australia’s announcement to join ARC from 2014 comes with the news that Honda Australia will be exiting the sport at the end of the 2013 season.
After debuting in 2010, claiming a driver’s championship in 2012 with Eli Evans and co-driver Glen Weston and setting a new record for the most consecutive rally wins in a season – nine from nine starts – Honda Australia director Stephen Collins said, “We are extremely proud of what we have achieved over the past four years.”
Round Five of this year’s ARC is on this weekend in Coffs Harbour, taking place alongside Round 10 of the WRC.