Citroen: WTCC entry long-term effort, not just for Sebastien Loeb

Citroen's entry into the World Touring Car Championship is part of a long-term commitment to the series, according to Citroen Racing team principal Yves Matton

Citroen: WTCC entry long-term effort, not just for Sebastien Loeb

The French firm confirmed its long-awaited move into the WTCC on Tuesday, with brand ambassador Sebastien Loeb part of the driver line-up.

While Loeb's desire to compete in the series was a factor in Citroen's decision, Matton says the new programme makes sense on a number of levels.

"We are not coming into the WTCC for only one year," he told AUTOSPORT.

"I cannot tell you how many years we will be there, but this is an investment for a few years.

"When we looked at what we could do [post-Loeb's World Rally retirement], the conclusion was that WTCC was the most interesting - for Seb but for us also.

"One point is the budget, and the cost of competing; a second is the fact it is a global discipline, going where the brand wants to expand its position - like Russia, China, Brazil and Argentina - and the cars are very close to what we sell everyday.

"It makes the cars more exciting to drive and to see, but also without hurting the budgets involved in competing."

DS3 UNLIKELY

While Citroen is yet to reveal the specifications of its 2014 challenger, AUTOSPORT understands it will not be based on the DS3 or be closely related to the interim model Loeb first tested in February. It will however use the WRC global 1.6-litre engine.

Citroen is understood to be ready to test its new car in the coming weeks, with Matton confident it will have at least two cars on the grid in time for next year's season-opener.

Honda has also indicated to AUTOSPORT it will be ready to have a new car for the start of next year, although SEAT played down the chances of its Leon Cup car being readied within that timescale.

"We will do a soft test during the summer, and our plan is to be ready for the first race next year, to do the full championship," Matton explained.

"For the moment I will say at least two cars. We are looking at the best way to manage it.

"One of our first aims is to fight for the manufacturers' championship; we have to decide whether it is possible with two cars or not, and we will take a decision. We will see if we need to have more cars to have a chance to fight for the title."

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Citroen confirms WTCC entry with Sebastien Loeb in 2014

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