Yvan Muller does not believe Citroen is favourite for 2014 WTCC
|By Sam Tremayne||Saturday, December 21st 2013, 14:29 GMT|
Yvan Muller insists Citroen should not be viewed as the favourite for the 2014 World Touring Car Championship despite the headstart it has over rivals.
Citroen has already conducted several tests with its C-Elysee, having originally unveiled the car in July.
Honda, the 2013 manufacturers champions, revealed its new-regulation Civic five months later, and will not test before early 2014. The new Lada and Chevrolet machines will be even later.
Despite having that advantage going into the start of the 2014 season, Muller says Citroen's lack of circuit racing experience means it would be foolish to expect too much next year.
"Everyone thinks we are favourites, but for me we are challengers only," he told AUTOSPORT.
"RML [which is producing the new-spec Chevys] has a huge amount of experience in the WTCC. Honda has last year to draw upon. We have nothing.
"Citroen has to learn everything for the first time: how to plan strategies; how to set the car up for different tracks, different conditions; how to handle running in Q1, Q2 and now Q3.
"I'm trying to help as much as I can of course, but absolutely we're not favourites.
"OK we have tested, and I can say this car is faster than [the RML Chevrolet of 2013], but we still don't know where we are. How do we compare to Honda and the others?
"There's a lot to learn and it is a time of uncertainty, but equally it's a very exciting project."
Muller said Chevrolet would still be the car to beat next year, but did concede development could be an issue for the Cruze given the fact RML will not be running a team.
"I'd say [Chevrolet] are favourites, although I'd be even more worried if RML was running," he added.
"You need a good driver for the development - to work with an established car is one thing, but to lead a brand new project is another thing entirely."