Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Breaking WRC News: Sébastien Ogier is out as Mikko Hirvonen jumps from Ford to Citroen

After an exceptional 2011 season with ten victories, the seventh manufacturers’ title for the Citroën Total World Rally Team and Sébastien Loeb’s / Daniel Elena’s eighth drivers’ title*, Citroën Racing is already turning its attention to 2012 with the arrival of a new crew for next season.

Initially contracted until December 2013, Citroën Racing has finally decided to finish their collaboration with Sébastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia at the end of the 2011 season.
In 2012 and 2013, Sébastien Loeb’s and Daniel Elena’s team-mates will be Mikko Hirvonen and Jarmo Lehtinen. The Finns, runners-up in the 2009 and 2011 World Championship, have scored 14 victories and 51 podium finishes in 124 starts in the WRC.

Olivier Quesnel, Citroën Racing Team Principal, said, “Seeing Sébastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia leave strikes a particular emotional chord in the whole team. Citroën Racing trained them, first of all in the JWRC and then in the Citroën Junior Team and the Citroën Total World Rally Team. They had a very good season with five victories and third place in the Drivers’ World Championship, and they made a productive contribution to the conquest of the manufacturers’ title alongside Sébastien Loeb and Daniel Elena who have claimed their eighth consecutive world crown, a unique achievement in motorsport. Now, we’re very happy to welcome Mikko Hirvonen and Jarmo Lehtinen. They’ve been our toughest rivals over the last four seasons and we’re really looking forward to our future collaboration. Mikko is a talented driver and his consistency will be a big help in our fight to retain the manufacturers’ title.”

Frédéric Banzet, General Manager Citroën Automobiles, said, “I’d like to take advantage of this occasion to repeat my congratulations to the whole Citroën Racing team for their 2011 titles, as well as Sébastien Loeb and Daniel Elena for their eighth consecutive crown. I’d also like to thank Sébastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia for their involvement with the make over the last four years and the six victories they’ve added to its results. Today, I’d like to welcome Mikko Hirvonen and Jarmo Lehtinen who are joining us to continue Citroën Racing’s sporting adventure and its determination to score more victories starting with the 2012 Monte Carlo Rally.