info thanks to Ateco

Citroen is back on the hard stuff this weekend (20-22 August 2004) and
aiming for its third German victory as the World Rally Championship has its
first tarmac event since the Monte Carlo at the start of the season.

With its lead in both the Drivers' and Manufacturers' matched to its tarmac
form, the team could not be better placed to maintain its winning ways.

Not that team director Guy Fréquelin is counting his bratwurst before the
even starts.

"The Deutschland Rally is the most unpredictable asphalt rally of them all,
so it has to be prepared with great care," Guy Fréquelin explains. "It's a
mixture of three different types of surface, which means tyre choice will
be critically important. It's also quite conceivable that the choice that
appears ideal at service could end up being an error by the time the cars
reach the start of the group of stages. If the weather proves unsettled and
changeable, Baumholder will be very difficult to read accurately and it
could become a total lottery. As a result, the Deutschland Rally will not
necessarily provide an accurate guide to the pecking order on asphalt that
we will be able to apply to the two other rallies on this type of surface."

The German round's other main feature is the often uncertain weather which
can range from searing heat and a very real risk of storms to damper,
overcast conditions. The Mosel River cuts a 'corridor' between the Eifel
and Hunsrück Hills along which weather fronts tend to be channelled, giving
the event its special flavour and complicating tyre choice. Indeed, certain
choices have to be made well upstream of some stage starts and are made
more complex still by the inclusion of RTFZs (Remote Tyre Fitting Zones)
during Legs 2 and 3. At these mini service parks, drivers will only be able
to choose from three 'pre-selected' sets of tyres

Sébastien Loeb had his debut WRC win in Germany, a feat he repeated last
year. Can he do it again this year?

"I was very pleased with the Xsara I drove during pre-event testing and I
am happy with the work that has been done," he says. "The car was easy to
drive and nicely balanced. I felt confident, and that is important given
how delicate the conditions can be. For once, being first on the road
during the opening leg shouldn't be a handicap. We have some good cards in
our hand and we don't have our backs to the wall, which means we can choose
our own tactics. I feel confident!"

This year's Deutschland Rally marks the maiden asphalt outing of the 2004
Xsara which features revised weight distribution thanks to a switch to
composite wings and the latest homologation, notably concerning the engine,
that first appeared in New Zealand. The car has undergone extensive
pre-event preparation in the hands of Philippe Bugalski, as well as a week
of testing organised between the Argentina and Finland rallies. This
session was attended by Carlos and Sébastien who put the Xsara through its
paces over the roads of the Mosel Valley vineyards as well as across the
Baumholder ranges. The week was also a chance to test the latest tyres
developed by Citroën's longstanding partner Michelin.

The Xsara WRC is unbeaten in Trier since 2001. Winner of both Deutschland
Rallies to have counted towards the World Championship (2002, 2003),
Sébastien Loeb views this rally - which takes place close to his native
Alsace - as his own. Meanwhile, the entire Citroën team is fired up not
only to defend its monopoly in Germany but also to strengthen its position
on top of both the Drivers' and Manufacturers' points tables.


Michelin, Magneti-Marelli, Kinetic, OZ, AIS and Citroën Financement are
Team Citroën-Total's partners in the FIA World Rally Championship.

Questions to Guy Fréquelin

Following the addition of two new gravel rounds and the switch of Rallye
d'Italia to the loose, the proportion of asphalt rallies has been reduced
to one quarter of the championship. What are your thoughts on this? And
what in your opinion would be the ideal ratio?
"It's a shame that gravel has become so preponderant in the championship.
At the end of the day, the cars we promote via this sport are designed for
use on asphalt. This accentuation of the tendency towards gravel is perhaps
aimed at countering the domination of the French makes over this type of
surface, but our rivals are already making significant inroads into this
domination: Markko Märtin posted the highest number of fastest stage times
in Germany last year and Petter Solberg won outright in Corsica.
Personally, I believe the ideal proportion of asphalt events in a
sixteen-round championship is five events.

How has your team approached the calendar's return to asphalt?
"The Deutschland Rally is the most unpredictable asphalt rally of them all,
so it has to be prepared with great care. It's a mixture of three different
types of surface, which means tyre choice will be critically important.
It's also quite conceivable that the choice that appears ideal at service
could end up being an error by the time the cars reach the start of the
group of stages. If the weather proves unsettled and changeable, Baumholder
will be very difficult to read accurately and it could become a total
lottery. As a result, the Deutschland Rally will not necessarily provide an
accurate guide to the pecking order on asphalt that we will be able to
apply to the two other rallies on this type of surface"

Citroën has scored three consecutive wins in Trier, including both
occasions that the event counted towards the World Championship. Is a
fourth win possible?
"Of course it is! And that's what we'll be out to achieve. I hope the Xsara
and our drivers will be in the thick of the fight at the sharp end and I am
counting on the team's technical staff to call this one as well as they
can, notably concerning tyre tactics. But I have no intention of losing
sight of the fact that our ultimate aim is to win both championships. As I
have already said, this rally can be decided on a throw of a dice. And if
it doesn't roll as we wish, we will react accordingly"

to Sébastien Loeb

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What is your analysis of your weekend in Finland? And how do you feel
physically?
"I finished Rally Finland pleased, disappointed, and in pain! Pleased
because it wasn't a foregone conclusion that I would succeed in increasing
my championship lead on this event. But I was disappointed with my personal
performance. It's such a specific rally, and I have yet to master it, but I
intend doing everything in my power to put that right. Finally, I was in
quite a lot of pain following my accident during testing over the
Baumholder ranges. Over the last two stages in Finland, I had to manage my
lead over Janne Tuohino despite suffering quite badly, especially on
landing after the jumps. My programme since Finland has been check-ups,
treatment and rest I'm glad to say the pain is going away and I intend to
be fully fit in time for Germany!"

The Deutschland Rally was the scene of your maiden WRC win. Is it a special
event for you?
"It is! It's perhaps not the most prestigious round of the championship,
but it's one all my friends from home can easily come and watch, since
Alsace is just an hour and a half away by car. And although it has never
been a simple rally, it has always gone well for me. I recently analysed
last year's stage times in detail as a function of everyone's tyre choices.
That reminded me how close the fight had been, right up to the very end.
Tyre choices promise to be more critical still following the introduction
of quantity restrictions. We're really going to have to play this one close
to our chest!"

Will you be aiming for a third consecutive win?
"I effectively want to win again. I was very pleased with the Xsara I drove
during pre-event testing and I am happy with the work that has been done.
The car was easy to drive and nicely balanced. I felt confident, and that
is important given how delicate the conditions can be. For once, being
first on the road during the opening leg shouldn't be a handicap. We have
some good cards in our hand and we don't have our backs to the wall, which
means we can choose our own tactics. I feel confident!"

and to Carlos Sainz

Before Argentina, you said that to succeed in an event, you have to love
it. What is your opinion of the Deutschland Rally?
"I have occasionally read in the press that this is a rally I don't like.
That's not strictly true! For sure, it's not my favourite, but that doesn't
mean I don't like it There are certain rallies on which I don't derive as
much pleasure as elsewhere, but they are part of the championship and you
have got to concentrate on doing your best. That's what I will be doing in
Germany with the intention of finishing in the big points again"

You recently tested the Xsara on asphalt. Did it feel as competitive as
last year's car? How has it improved?
"Last year's Xsara was very competitive, not only on the traditional
asphalt events like Corsica and Catalonia, but also over the delicate
stages we face in Germany. The team's technical staff has worked hard to
make the car even more efficient and easy to drive to ensure we feel
totally confident. Detail changes have made the car more stable and easier
to drive."

The challenging conditions of the Baumholder ranges and potentially fickle
weather are a special combination. How will you approach this event? What
is your objective?
"I hope the weather will not affect the competition. If conditions are
unsettled, tyre choice will be more important here than elsewhere and it
could turn into a very different rally indeed! Apart from the Mosel Valley
vineyard stages, the roads are often coated in dirt which makes them
slippery and delicate. If that is the case, we will tend to be on the
defensive and we will have to drive very cautiously The Baumholder stages
are also fairly 'Mickey Mouse', with lots of junctions that call for very
hard braking. If it's wet like last year, that's not particularly fun! The
ideal result would be to finish on the podium, but the objective is to
finish in the big points"


Facts and figures:

" This year marks the 23rd running of this rally, the third as a
World Rally Championship qualifier. Its official name this year is 'OMV
ADAC Rallye Deutschland'.
" The event continues to be based in one of Germany's oldest cities,
Trier, which is located 10 km from Luxembourg and 50 km from the French
border.
" The 'Porta Negra" monument, built by the Romans in the 4th Century
B.C., will serve as backdrop to the official start (Thursday August 19th,
20:00) and finish (Sunday August 22nd, 15:30) ceremonies.
" Recce (two runs over each stage) takes place over Wednesday August
18th (07:00 until 21:30) and Thursday August 19th (07:00 until 12:00).
" The true start of the rally will take place in the single service
park which is again located on the shores of the Bostalsee Lake. The
service park will also host parc ferme at the end of Legs 1 and 2, while
the event technically finishes at the final service in-control.
" Shakedown takes place on Thursday August 19th (13:00 until 15:00).
As in 2003, the 3.18 km test stage will run between Sötern and Bosen, two
villages close to the Bostalsee.
" Total length of the three legs is 1,075.58 km, including 411.06 km
divided into 24 special stages (12 different).
" Remote Tyre Fitting Zones (RTFZ) have been programmed in the course
of Legs 2 and 3. Of a duration of 10 minutes each, these mini service parks
permit tyres to be changed as well as work on the car so long as it
complies with certain restrictions: a maximum of two mechanics per car,
using only a jack, ramps, axle-stands, a wheel-brace, a torque wrench and
ordinary water, plus any parts and tools carried in the rally car. The crew
may also work on the car.
" Leg 1 (Friday August 20th): 398.37 km, including 135.02 km divided
into 8 stages. Starts from Bostalsee at 09:00; 'Ruwertal 1'/'Dhrontal
1'/'Moselwein 1'/'Peterberg 1'; Service A (12:57, 20 minutes); 'Ruwertal
2'/'Dhrontal 2'/'Moselwein 2'/'Peterberg 2'; Service B (17:51, 45 minutes).
Cars enter parc ferme (Bostalsee) between 18:36 and 21:30.
" Leg 2 (Saturday August 21st): 432.24 km, including 177.66 km
divided into 9 stages. Starts at 08:32; Service C (08:32, 10 minutes);
'Bosenberg 1'/'Erzweiler 1'/'Panzerplatte Sprint 1'; RTFZ in
Dreiherrenstein (11:23, 10 minutes); 'Panzerplatte Lang 1'; Service D
(12:59, 20 minutes); 'Bosenberg 2 '/'Erzweiler 2'/'Panzerplatte Sprint 2';
RTFZ in Dreiherrenstein (16:22, 10 minutes); 'Panzerplatte Lang 2'; Service
E (17:58, 20 minutes); 'Sankt Wendel Superspecial 1'; Service F (20:16, 45
minutes). Cars enter parc ferme (Bostalsee) between 21:01 and 23:30.
" Leg 3 (Sunday August 22nd): 245.16 km, including 98.38 divided into
7 stages. Starts at 6:32: Service G (06:32, 10 minutes); 'St Wendeler
Land'/'Teufelskopf 1'/'Birkenfelder Land 1'; RTFZ in Bostalsee (09:12, 10
minutes); 'St Wendeler Land 2'/'Teufelskopf 2'/'Birkenfelder Land 2'/'Sankt
Wendel Super-special 2'. Rally finishes at Service H in-control (12:45, 20
minutes). Finishers return to Trier in convoy.
" Stages used in 2003: 'Ruwertal', 'Peterberg', 'Bosenberg',
'Erzweiler', 'Panzerplatte Sprint' and 'Sankt Wendel'. Modified stages:
'Dhrontal', 'Moselwein', 'St Wendeler Land'. 'Panzerplatte Lang' is made up
of roads used in 'Panzerplatte Ost' and 'Panzerplatte West' in 2003. The
'Teufelskopf' and 'Birkenfelder Land' stages are new.
" Tyres: two types of pattern are authorised per team. They were
registered four weeks prior to the start. The individual driver quota
(identified by bar-codes and nominated on Monday August 16th) is 80 tyres
in Germany, 40 of which may be used during the event.
" Sébastien Loeb scored his first World Championship win in Trier in
2002 and won there again in 2003.
" Carlos Sainz finished 8th in 2002 and 6th in 2003.
" Philippe Bugalski (Xsara WRC) won the 2001 Deutschland Rally.
" Bruno Thiry (Xsara Kit Car) finished 3rd in the 2000 event.
" Although Germany's WRC round does not qualify for the country's
national championship, Citroën Germany has entered a C2 Super 1600 (N°64)
for its usual crew, Sven Haaf/Michael Wenzel.
" As in Sweden, Guerlain Chicherit will be present with a view to
gaining experience at the wheel of a Saxo Challenge (N°65). The Citroën
JWRC driver will be partnered by his usual co-driver Matthieu Baumel.