Yohan Rossel says it will be impossible for him to win this year’s WRC2 title unless further improvements are made to the Citroën C3 Rally2.
Rossel won his first two starts of the season in Monte Carlo and Croatia, but fell off the podium to fourth in Portugal – a rally he won the previous year.
The C3 Rally2 is undergoing a series of upgrades this year, and benefited from an uprated engine and aerodynamics which worked wonders in Croatia.
But on the gravel, 28-year-old Rossel was less enthusiastic about the car’s performance – particularly in low-grip conditions.
“When the grip is high the car is fun and not so bad but when the grip is very down it’s impossible to follow the other guys and I have a little bit no confidence after that and it’s impossible,” Rossel told DirtFish.
“And I think that the championship, after today, it’s impossible to fight for the win.
“I think on the Tarmac the car worked very well,” he added.
“After Monte, we had five days of development and when you see the result in Croatia it’s good.
“But now after just one day of development for Portugal and when you see the other guys, the Škoda, it’s completely different.
“Normally we have a little bit more evolution for this year but I think [to have anything ready] for Sardinia it’s a little bit close.
“But the grip is more high [there] and I think it’s like Friday in Portugal and on Friday I survived issues and I finish the day with 10 [sic 20] seconds behind Solberg, it’s not bad.
“But when the grip is down it’s impossible to drive.”
Rossel doesn’t expect much can be done in time for Sardinia, but believes the rear differential in particular is where work needs to be done.
“I think the most important [thing] is to work on the diff,” he said, “the ramp on the rear, because when I enter the corners the rear is like on ice, and when I put my throttle it’s like insane.
“The plan is to add a lot of development but for the moment I don’t know.”
Rossel currently leads the WRC2 championship, one point ahead of Oliver Solberg and three clear of Gus Greensmith. All three have scored points on three events so far.
Rossel and Solberg will both score in Sardinia too. Greensmith will compete, but hasn’t registered for points.