PH Sport's Mads Østberg and Yohan Rossel will benefit from official backing from Citroën Racing and its partners Total and Michelin on respectively eight and six rounds of this year's FIA World Rally Championship, with the French youngster enjoying additional support from the FFSA (Fédération Française de Sport Automobile). Nicolas Ciamin and Eric Camilli will also have assistance for the Rallye Monte-Carlo. Including private entries, a total of six C3 R5s are poised to start the 87th running of the WRC's winter classic.
Citroën Racing will be providing support for promising Frenchman Yohan Rossel, winner of last season's French Rally Championship at first attempt in a C3 R5. As victor of the 208 RALLY CUP in 2018, Yohan earned a full campaign in his national series in 2019 and ended up clinching the crown on his home event, the Critérium des Cévennes. For 2020, the 24-year old will be part of the Equipe de France FFSA squad and will take part in six WRC3 events with the aim of learning and producing consistent performances. Co-driven by Benoît Fulcrand, his programme will kick off with the Rallye Monte-Carlo, before switching to gravel in Portugal, Italy and Finland, and concluding with Rallye Deutschland and Rally GB.
Mads Østberg and his co-driver Torstein Eriksen, who will team up with the French pair at PH Sport, have a calendar of eight WRC2 outings. The Norwegian is already familiar with the car following a season in WRC2 Pro in 2019 which he wrapped up with a class victory in Catalonia. Mads has considerable experience of the World Rally Championship thanks to a career spanning more than 10 years. In 2020, the Scandinavian pair has set its sights on the WRC2 title and will contest the same six events at Yohan Rossel/Benoît Fulcrand, along with trips to Sweden and Japan.
The entry for the 2020 Rallye Monte-Carlo features four other C3 R5s, including one for Nicolas Ciamin who also plans to travel to six WRC3 rounds this season. The list continues with Yoann Bonato who made a considerable contribution to the car's development in collaboration with Citroën Racing's technical department. He is targeting a programme of several rallies this year, although the exact choice has yet to be settled. Eric Camilli, who topped the WRC2 class (since renamed WRC3) in Catalonia last autumn, will also drive a C3 R5 on the Rallye Monte-Carlo, as will the outgoing Spanish champion Pepe Lopez.
The above French and Norwegian crews all attended a recent week-long test organised in the French Alps by Citroën Racing to help finetune their preparations for the Monaco classic which promises to be as fiercely fought as ever this time around.
Yohan Rossel (WRC3):
"I am thrilled to be continuing my adventure with PSA Motorsport with backing from the FFSA [Fédération Française de Sport Automobile]. Thanks to Citroën and Peugeot one-make championships, we have managed to work our way up the ladder and we now have the good fortune to be embarking on our first full world-class season with help from Citroën, Total and Michelin. We have so much to learn and our aim is to stay clear of trouble and finish well at the end of the year. I am delighted to be teaming up with Mads. His experience of the world championship will clearly be a big help, especially on the Monte Carlo where tyre choice is such a big challenge. I won the two-wheel drive class on this event last year and I'm looking forward to seeing what it's like with four-wheel drive!"
Mads Østberg (WRC2):
"It's great to be continuing with everyone in the team. We worked hard on the car's development last year, with the main evolutions notably concerning its brakes, suspension and engine performance. That should give us a certain edge in 2020. Along with Torstein, our aim is to win as many rounds as possible and claim the title. I am very happy that our cooperation with Citroën is continuing and it's nice to be joining forces with Yohan. It's always positive to have a team-mate. I can hardly wait for this year's Rallye Monte-Carlo to get the season under way. We will do our absolute best to come away with a strong result."
Didier Clément (Customer Competition Manager, Citroën Racing):
"Last season, our ongoing work on the C3 R5 allowed us to notch up numerous wins. For 2020, our objectives are to keep up the development momentum, step up our involvement in the sport's leading national and international championships and provide our drivers with the means to shine in the C3 R5. The Rallye Monte-Carlo has long been an iconic event for Citroën and we are very glad to have the benefit of the experience and speed of Mads Østberg who will team up with the talented Yohan Rossel. They are joined on the entry list by four other drivers who are just as ambitious and competitive as them. We are obviously pleased with the strong interest the C3 R5 has generated and we are eager to see it perform on this prestigious but also exacting rally."