Citroen Launch Junior Team in WRC

In a time when most manufacturers are finding it very hard to stay committed to their racing programmes, Citroen announced they are to launch a second team in the World Rally Championship next season. The Citroen Junior Team will be listed as an M2 team – therefore receive points in the manufacturer standings – and will run no less than 4 Citroen C4 WRCs in the series.

“We are absolutely thrilled to be able to confirm the Citroen Junior Team as an M2 entry in the 2009 World Rally Championship. As required by the regulations, the Citroen Junior Team will contest at least eight events in order to qualify for Manufacturers' points,” announced Citroen Sport Director Olivier Quesnel just before Christmas.

As expected, Sebastien Ogier will be one of the main drivers to compete for the new outfit next year, alongside South African Conrad Rautenbach. The former has won the Junior World Rally Championship at his very debut in the series in 2008, while the latter ran a private Citroen C4 WRC last season. Rautenbach scored an impressive 4th place in Argentina, ranking 15th overall in the drivers' classification. The duo will be joined by young Russian driver Evgeny Novikov.

Chris Atkinson is also scheduled to compete for Citroen Junior Team in Rally Ireland next year, but his future with the team is yet to be decided. The Aussie was left without a racing spot for 2009 following Subaru's retirement from the sport in mid-December.

“It is no coincidence that we have chosen to employ the word 'Junior' in the team's official name. It is an M2 team which will predominantly run drivers who are currently learning the sport, and their average age will be 22. Our aims are to develop the commercial side which we began in 2008 and also enable our crews to benefit from our expertise. The programme will allow them to gain valuable extra experience which will put them in good stead for the next step of their career,” added the Citroen Sport Technologies Manager Benoit Nogier.
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