WRC could lose some of its French connection if Citroen goes ahead with threats of exit, and leaves the racing series to join DTM.
Citroen Sport boss Olivier Quesnel has hinted at a possible WRC withdrawal for his French team if things don’t improve drastically over at WRC. Quesnel was referring to the fact that he thinks WRC is not promoted as well as the DTM series, with which he was extremely impressed.
"I went to Hockenheim,” he said, “to look at the DTM race and the promotion of that series is on another planet compared to the WRC.
"Citroen gave me the budget and I have to use it in the best possible way. We have a new car, the C5, which is in the market with the Audi A4 and the Mercedes C-class, so we have to look at things."
Quesnel reckons DTM gives automakers much better value for money than WRC as far as marketing and selling their cars goes. Beyond 2009 the Citroen participation in WRC is up in the air. Quesnel may have a point. Motorsports that are promoted much better than others include F1, NASCAR and DTM, as well as Dakar Series and Le Mans. WRC is seen as a sort of paradox; a series where lots of off-road driving takes place, and yet vehicles used are not off-road SUVs, with the result that often customers get confused by saloon 4WD cars that they themselves can’t drive on the same tracks as the likes of Sebastian Loeb.
Speaking of Loeb, Citroen has to consider the career of their ultra-successful driver, whose contract is up at the end of the 2009 season.
"If we are quite sure the WRC is a good idea then we can make the investment in the new car," said Quesnel. "But we are not here to race for the sake of the race. We are here to sell cars.
"I was happy to be in Jordan, but where were the spectators? We don't sell enough cars there - we need to be in China. If there is no promotion in WRC, it doesn't matter that the costs are becoming less and less."