Interview with Citroën sports director Yves Matton

Interview with Citroën sports director Yves Matton
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In July has the FIA ​​waved through the new technical regulations for 2017. Satisfied?

M atton: Oh yes! Especially with the process of how they came about. For the first time, everyone involved was involved: the manufacturer, the marketer and the FIA. It wasn't as if everyone was of the same opinion right from the start, there were some wild ideas.

For example?

Matton : Some have dreamed of resurrecting the old Group B, and then of course ideally in the style of an Audi S1. But today we are of the opinion that we do not want to deviate from the current safety standard and that the cars must not cost a fortune. The key points that were important to me are there.

Which would that be?

Matton : First of all, that the cars do not differ too much in terms of their base from the current ones, so that, secondly, they do not become more expensive. Because it was important to us that we keep the budget constant. And finally, that the cars will be much more attractive.

Isn't there a risk of exploding costs with greater aerodynamic freedom because you are constantly testing in the wind tunnel?

Matton : So far, only the basic data have been set. Now it's a matter of clarifying the details. We are currently working on the aerodynamics rules in order to prevent excesses, analogous to the touring car. First of all, as with the WTCC, the wing must fit into a clearly defined box, and you can also set further limit values ​​for the shape. The wings shouldn't be a cost factor, but above all something for the eye.

Since your brand boss Linda Jackson recently announced that she will only play one sports series in the future the rally future in question. Why the focus on just one series? Before, it was always said that Citroën could do both if the budget doesn't increase ...?

Matton: It's all about that to sharpen the profile. Each of the three brands in the PSA Group should have its own identity and ideally just one sports program. That way you can position yourself much more clearly.

With the Dakar program from Peugeot, Citroën in the WTCC and DS in the World Rally ChampionshipYou already have a clear demarcation, don't you?

Matton: Yes, but DS has just announced its entry into Formula E.

If you do continue to rally, can the future car no longer be a DS3?

Matton: 'Right. 2016 will be the last year for the DS3 WRC either way.

There are rumors that Citroën has already started the construction started a new WRC ...

Matton: No. The only thing we've done so far is a few basic calculations on the new one Regulations and which car might be suitable for it.

The sports departments of all brands are now being merged. What are the consequences?

Matton: This only results Benefits. We can work more economically and efficiently. Nonetheless, each brand will be able to create its own program independently. '

Who would have thought that the rival sisters Peugeot and Citroën would ever end up under one roof?

Matton: It's no secret that the PSA Group has gone through difficult times. In the first half of the year we are back in the black for the first time in four years After the problems you just had to rethink. In the end we are all employed by the same company.

Every six months it is rumored that Sébastien Loeb will return to the rally team ...

Matton: I think we can safely rule out the possibility that he will ever race a full season again no further guest start in the WRC planned for the remainder of the 2015 season, and as for 2016, it's too early to talk about it.

With Kris Meeke you have had a new winning driver since Argentina, but things haven't really worked out since then. What's the problem?

Matton: Sometimes he just has to accept that it doesn't always go as fast as he would like it to be. If he doesn't have the perfect feeling for the car, he sometimes has to cut back instead of compensating for the shortcoming with increased commitment.

How likely is it that we Meeke and see Mads Östberg in a Citroën in 2016 too?

Matton: First of all, I have to say that I can't be dissatisfied. We're runner-up in the Manufacturers 'Championship, have won a victory and Mads is fighting for third place in the drivers' championship. But it is still too early to talk about 2016.

Does it hurt that Andreas Mikkelsen at VW prematurelyhas extended several years?

Matton: On the one hand, I understand that very well. If I had been in Jost Capito's place, I would have done the same. But we have to change something in the system for the future. We have too few winning drivers. It would be a possibility if each works team trains a driver on a third works car for two years. When the contract expires, it would have to decide whether it will be promoted to one of the top two cars - or it will be released for the market.

Before driver questions are clarified, Citroën would have to stay in the World Rally Championship for now. Which scenarios would be conceivable?

Matton: If we stay in the WRC, we are planning to hand over two WTCC cars to an interested private team. Should we stay in the World Touring Car Championship, we could sell the rally cars.

And has Sébastien Loeb already expressed interest in taking over the WTCC team?

Matton: To be honest: We haven't spoken a word about it yet.

But there is not much time for weighing up ...

Matton: No. With a view to developing a new rally car, the decision has to be made by the end of this year.

About the person

  • Name: Yves Matton
  • Place of birth: Courtrai, Belgium
  • Birthday: July 25th, 1967
  • Profession: Motorsport Director at Citroën

Hardly if he had his driving license, the Walloon took part in his first rally in 1986, but soon concentrated on his business studies. His main job was to manage various rally teams in Belgium from 1990, before he was brought to the Citroën works team under Guy Fréquelin in 2003. After a short period of self-employment in 2008, he returned to the Citroën WRC team as head of sport in early 2012 and has also been responsible for the French’s involvement in the World Touring Car Championship (WTCC) since 2013.

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