Citroen not considering Lefebvre for full 2016 WRC programme

Citroen is not considering Stephane Lefebvre for a full-time World Rally Championship campaign next year, despite exceeding expectations in Australia last weekend

Citroen not considering Lefebvre for full 2016 WRC programme

On his gravel rally debut in a WRC car, Lefebvre finished Rally Australia 13th, but set stage times well inside the top 10 for much of the event.

The reigning Junior WRC champion's hopes of a top-10 finish were dashed when he retired from day one with suspension damage - an impact that left him running in the tricky position of first on the road on day two.

Lefebvre was a last-minute replacement for Mads Ostberg, who had been injured in a recce accident.

Lefebvre and co-driver Stephane Prevot suffered their own recce shunt, but were fit to start, even though they had to use Ostberg and co-driver Jonas Andersson's overalls and helmet.

"He didn't prepare so well for this rally, he had no test and was distracted by the crash in the recce," Citroen's deputy team principal Marek Nawarecki said.

"He had so much to learn, but he has delivered more than we expected on this rally.

"Especially on Saturday, when he drove at the front of the field, he was so impressive and he made no mistakes.

"His retirement on the first day was not his fault, there was a stone in the middle of the line, he couldn't avoid it."

Despite such praise, Nawarecki wouldn't rule Lefebvre into contention for a full-time 2016 seat.

"For this moment, it's a learning process for him," he said.

"It's too early to know his future, but what was important for us was to give him the best possible conditions to learn and that's what we're doing."

Lefebvre remains in the DS 3 WRC for the next round of the series, next month's Tour de Corse.

There is also an outside chance he could drive the World Rally Car - instead of his regular DS 3 R5 in WRC2 - in Spain.

"It would be nice to do Catalunya," said Lefebvre.

"But the focus is on Corsica now. I am very happy with Australia - it was like a dream come true!"

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