Three-time World Touring Car Champion, Yvan Muller, will join Citroën’s WTCC campaign for 2014 and 2015 as team mate to WRC superstar Sébastien Loeb.
The ten-time Andros Trophy ice racing champion will drive one of the Citroën C-Elysée WTCC cars, built to the FIA’s new 2014 regulations which allows up to 380bhp with 295 lb-ft (400Nm) of torque from its 1.6-litre direct injection turbocharged engine.
Muller was always seen as the ideal choice for Citroën – a native of France’s Alsace region and long-term friend of Loeb, who is also from the same region.
“As a rally fan, I have always followed Citroën and Seb’s victorious seasons in WRC with interest,” said Muller.
“Throughout its history, be it in cross-country rallies or WRC, Citroën Racing has always sought to recruit the best drivers,” said Yves Matton, Managing Director of Citroën Racing, “The arrival of a driver as experienced as Yvan will help us to make rapid progress.”
“He will also be an excellent point of reference for Sébastien Loeb. The two men have known each other for a long time and their mutual respect will create a natural cohesion within the team.”
After his first taste of the new C-Elysée WTCC at the Val de Vienne circuit, Muller was asked what he thought of the new car.
He said, “Compared to what I’ve experienced in recent seasons, the car is lighter, more powerful and more efficient in terms of aerodynamics. It also has wider tyres and bigger brakes.”
“In short, everything is better and this new generation will be a lot faster than the current car. It’s still a touring car, with life made a little bit easier for the driver. My first impressions are that the Citroën C-Elysée WTCC is a good base to work from and I’m looking forward to getting stuck into the development sessions.”
He was also asked for his recollection of when he first met Sébastien Loeb:
“Yes, it was in the late nineties, at an Andros Trophy race in the Vosges. We belonged to the same club and our President came to introduce me to the ‘rising star’. I followed his rise and today I can only admire what he has done in his career. He has been world champion nine times! That is some achievement. My own stats are good, but nowhere near as good as what Seb has achieved.”
Finally, he was asked how he saw their partnership working:
“I’m sure it will work very well. We are big boys with little left to prove and we know what working for a manufacturer is all about. You have to think about the brand above all else, and that’s what I’ve always done. Obviously, I would prefer to end up on top of the podium, but the main goal is for the team to win. Solidarity between teammates is one of the keys to success.”
Muller will join the Citroën test programme later in the year, leading up to the start of the 2014 season.