Citroen WTCC drivers insist level of success ballast is unfair

Citroen drivers Jose Maria Lopez and Yvan Muller believe the World Touring Car Championship's new-for-2016 success ballast rules have unfairly penalised their team

Citroen WTCC drivers insist level of success ballast is unfair

Ahead of the new season, the upper level of weight penalty a car can carry has been increased from 60 kilograms to 80.

As the reigning champion car, all five Citroen C-Elysees, including the three independent Sebastien Loeb Racing cars, carried the maximum weight during the opening two rounds of the season, while rivals incurred no penalty - although levels will now be reviewed ahead of the championship's visit to the Hungaroring this coming weekend.

Muller had first expressed concerns about safety and Lopez, who shared his team-mate's stance, added that he though the new rules were unfairly weighted against Citroen.

"I don't agree with that," he told Autosport, when asked if he thought ballast levels were fair.

"You are penalising the hard work and effort of people.

"I'm OK with the reversed-grid - even if it's also not fair - but putting so many kilos in... it puts the level down.

"Yvan is absolutely right. It gets a bit complicated to manage the brakes and everything else.

"But it is the rule; if you are on the dancing floor, you need to dance."

Muller reiterated his views after Sunday's two races, suggesting the previous limit was sufficient penalty enough.

"Handicap ballast is one good thing for one bad thing," he said.

"But there is a limit, and I think we have reached that - it's a bit stupid, 80 kilograms.

"I was worried about finishing the race at Paul Ricard [and] I was worried about finishing the race here because 80 kilograms is hard.

"On this kind of circuit [it] is almost two seconds a lap.

"But in the race it's even worse because you push on the tyres, you push on the brakes and there's much more stress on the car.

"It's too far - 60 [kilos] was enough."

RIVALS DISAGREE

While the Citroen pair continued to voice their reservations, rivals doubted those claims - suggesting that the changes had improved the competitiveness of the championship.

"[It's] bullshit because from 60 [kilograms] to 80 is not going to change a lot," said Honda team principal Alessandro Mariani of Muller's safety concerns.

"Of course, if you have an accident it's much more mass but if you accept 60, 80 is not a dramatic difference."

Lada's Hugo Valente agreed: "They keep talking about the 80 kilograms but in reality it's only 20 more than what they had last year.

"Last year they won 21 races out of 24. Come on, give us a chance.

"I get that the people who have worked the hardest to make the better car at the end [deserve to win]; but make it exciting for the fans, for everyone involved.

"I don't see any safety concern or issue; from that sense, I think it's a bit ridiculous."

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