by clicking the arrows at the side of the page, or by using the toolbar.
by clicking anywhere on the page.
by dragging the page around when zoomed in.
by clicking anywhere on the page when zoomed in.
web sites or send emails by clicking on hyperlinks.
Email this page to a friend
Search this issue
Index - jump to page or section
Archive - view past issues
GP Week : Issue 156
35 GPWEEK.com // PARTNERS: Yves Matton was appointed Citroen Racing Team Principal in January, taking over from Olivier Quesnel. For Citroen these are delicate times because so much of the importance of Citroen has come from the success of Sebastien Loeb, whose future is far from defined. Taking charge of a company which already has a quite unique record of success is a hard challenge, but the responsibilities of Matton have been clearly defined. “I have been given two objectives. The first for this year is to win the Manufacturers’ World Rally Championship and the other is to find how to replace Sebastien Loeb when he retires, which at this time we assume will be at the end of next year (2013). The Citroen company’s involvement in rallying, however, is long term. The deal we made with Mikko (Hirvonen) and with Nasser (Al Attiyah) are long term contracts, and the policy of the company is to continue in rallying long term.” Yves is no stranger to the company. He began work with the Citroen Challenge back in 1996, joining Citroen Racing in 2001 as manager of the customer racing department, working with young emerging drivers such as Dani Sordo and Kris Meeke. In 2008 he set up a private competition operation in his home country Belgium called MY Racing, handling Citroen parts supply in the Benelux countries, and recently worked with Simon Jean-Joseph in setting up the Yazeed Al Rajhi team’s 1.6 turbo S2000 Fiesta. GPWEEK: Working with Citroen for Yves is a dream for you ... YVES MATTON: There are not so many opportunities to have this type of job. I have been active in rallying for 20 years and always found the service park atmosphere very enjoyable. It is great, important for me and I am very happy to be where I am now. And to be a Belgian person in charge of this huge French operation is a great honour! My responsibilities extend beyond the world championship team. It takes in customer work, like the Junior Team with (fellow Belgian) Thierry Neuville and Nasser Al Attiyah and working with other customers like the van Merksteijns who are driving the DS3 World Rally Car. Also with private C4s and two-wheel drive cars which run on national championships. We will introduce an R5 next year (2013), and are currently working on it. The customer car department for the moment works with its two-wheel-drive cars and when the R5 comes along, both two-wheel-drive and four-wheel drive. How do you see the FIA’s world rally championship? For sure after the problems with the promoter it is not easy, but the (FIA) team with (WRC Manager) Michele Mouton, (World Rally Championship Commission President) Jarmo Mahonen and (Director of Marketing and Events) Alex Gueschir are doing a great job in a very difficult situation. I am confident that we are going on the good way, working on the base of the world rally championship using ideas coming from everywhere. I hope that we will come to a good solution. About the present state of promotion, I see the TV channel coverage is on the same level as last year, maybe in some countries like France it is better. Very soon it will be very important to define clearly what will be the mission of the next promoter, how the FIA will organise it and what will be the system they will use. Will there be an outside promoter like North One which is in charge of all the job or will they give the job partly to various company? That is the most important point. Is the promoter the only urgent thing? What other things would you like to have improved? Then comes the calendar of world championship events. It is important that the WRC goes to new markets, in growing countries like Brazil, China, Russia and places like that. The FIA knows the problem and they will look but it is not easy. Maybe like in China is not possible at this time to organise a rally, but we could work with the other manufacturers and the FIA to do a road show or something next year, to go into new countries step-by-step. We feel however that we need to keep the traditions of rallying and also apply all the available new facts and all the new technology. We must keep in mind that the WRC started a very long time ago, and keep traditions but also adapt with the new media technologies, to make rallying as popular as we can. The world is not the same place as 15 years ago. We have to adapt to this. Will the arrival next year (2013) of Volkswagen into the sport create changes in the way the championship is run? I will not say they will bring changes. For sure they bring some interesting RALLY >>> INTERVIEW Matton (right) and Loeb – Citroen's new A-Team ... Image: Martin Holmes