WRC Citroen boss, Pierre Budar: the Board “pushes us very hard”


There are few teams that have the eye of their parent company’s board so focused on them as Citroen does.

Undoubtedly the C3 WRC is not the car they hoped for. After so much success with the Xsara, C4 and DS3, the C3 hasn’t come up to scratch. There are 1000 different reasons why that is the case but it has helped the speculation of whether the team is committed.

We know they are in until the end of next year at the very least when Sebestien Ogier’s contract is up, but beyond that, there is a question mark.

The Citroen boss, Linda Jackson has continually fielded questions on TV as to where the team is headed and it is not unusual to see her in the service park.

But does this pressure do anything to the team? And how does team boss Pierre Budar manage this and his star driver at this time. We found out at WRC Rally Germany.

“We are pushing very hard,” Budar said to RacerViews.

“Internally, you cannot see it here of course, bu we have a lot of people working at the factory to develop the car as fast as possible. So making parts for the car, for us to be able to improve.”

“So people are very focus to improve the car and everybody is pushing very hard to give up the best cars possible – in this situation we have to of course, to get Seb able to fight.”

They played some of their jokers for this round to improve the car. It has always been good in certain situations – like on tarmac or in altitude but drivers have stuggled with the predictability of the car.

Indeed at Rally Germany, Ogier complained about turn in on Friday, losing some 30 seconds. A puncture forced him further back but at least the team was able to get some pace in the car.

However, the team hasn’t won a rally since round 3 and the gap to the top is getting a bit bigger than the team would be hoping for.

“Iit’s not enough, of course, to not fight for wins, or the championship.”

“It’s very good to be able to perform at the best level even if you cannot win. But you need to be able to fight for the win if you want to – to be at the top of the Championship, that is for sure. So it’s positive. It’s not enough.”

That is for now. But what of the future? The new 2022 ruleset has not been announcd yet and like the others Citroen are looking for some sort of electification.

Like it or not, manufacturer led motorsport – i.e. all at the elite global level has to keep up with the times – and for now that means electification. There is no value in engineering and developing pure internal combustion engines now. The technology, regulations and wider socitial views have moved on.

The teams and the FIA have been hard at work but now the regulations are late. Hyundai boss, Andrea Adamo had mentioned that he would like them before Finland. Now it is after Germany.

As Budar explains, late rules have knock on effects for those looking to compete in motorsport, like the WRC.

“It is quite key to get the FIA to make it clear,” Budar said.

“This kind of decision is of course decided in the top management of the PSA Groupe. If we cannot explain what to do, where we go, what we want to do, it’s it’s impossible to get any decision.”

“So if there is no decision, as you know, the decision is made by itself. So we push really hard since last year, to get a better view about it.”

Then the question remains, is Budar talking to a sympathetic board at PSA and Citroen when he talks about rallying?

Afterall, rally is in the DNA of the PSA Groupe. Citroen took its first prestiage rally win in 1959, winning the Monte. PSA have a lot of other success and won with Peugeot in their most recent return in 2000 and 2002 – but we all know the history in rally goes back to the formtion of the individual companies – and both compaines have liked competition in the past.

Has this attitude changed or what does the PSA Groupe expect from the team?

“They push for us to get a good result.”

“It’s normal. I mean, when you have the top management of a group like this one involved in a championship, they want us to be a winner.”

“We are not here to just to race, we are here to win. So they push very hard.”

“But I feel it like positive because they are very interested in our own performance. So, if they don’t say anything, it’s not a good sign.”

“Of course, they request for a win every weekend!”

Which is always going to be an impossibility in current rallying, such is the strength of their opposition.

The team have won more than in the past and they have come a long way since the, lets call it unpleasentness of last year.

Equally they are used to winning. They won the Formula E Championship with DS this year. And the company has turned around a very precarios situation from the Global Financial Crisis to be in positive territory.

But now with Citroen in their 100th year, will they be in rallying in their 105th year?

I doubt they even know but we sure hope so.


Sam Tickell