YVAN MULLER ENTERS THE FINAL STRAIGHT
Four-time World Champion Yvan Muller, who has been an official Citroën driver since midway through 2013, has announced that this season will be his last in the FIA WTCC. Currently lying joint second in the overall standings, the driver of Citroën C-Elysée WTCC No. 68 will be looking to hold on to that position in the last two meetings of the season in Shanghai and Qatar.
Over a professional career spanning more than thirty years, Yvan Muller has built one of the most impressive records in French motor sport, with four FIA World Touring Car Championship titles in 2008, 2010, 2011 and 2013. He holds every WTCC record going, with 29 pole positions, 48 race wins, 125 podium finishes, 38 fastest laps and 2,826 points scored in 244 starts.
After starting out in karting (finishing as World Championship runner-up in 1985 and European Champion in 1986), he naturally progressed to single-seater racing, winning the British Formula 2 Championship in 1992. With no F1 openings, the man from Alsace turned to touring car racing in 1994. French Champion in 1995, he then competed in the Italian, German and British championships, picking up the BTCC title in 2003, before making the switch to the FIA WTCC in 2006.
He also made his name as the best driver on ice, with ten Andros Trophy crowns and several victories in the Chamonix 24-hour race. His wealth of experience across the world includes the 24 Hours of Le Mans, V8 Supercars in Australia, the Dakar Rally and a few rounds of the WRC.
Surprising as it may seem, Yvan Muller had never worked with a French manufacturer before he joined Citroën Racing. In July 2013, when the development of the Citroën C-Elysée WTCC and the organisation of the FIA WTCC team got under way, he provided the benefit of his immense experience and helped lay the foundations for the success that would later be achieved.
Yvan proved a vital member of the new set up, claiming four pole positions and four race wins in 2014, enough to secure him second place in the World Championship, behind José María López and ahead of Sébastien Loeb. He finished second in the driver standings again in 2015, with three pole positions and six race wins to his name.
Yvan has had more than his fair share of bad luck this year, but he is nevertheless currently sitting in second place in the overall standings, level on points with Tiago Monteiro. Having announced that his FIA WTCC career will end after this season, the holder of every record in the competition is determined to go out on a high by securing a championship one-two for Citroën Racing.
WHAT THEY HAD TO SAY
Yvan Muller: “I am not sure that age is the main factor when it comes to ending a career. It’s more a matter of desire and motivation. With all the testing, the simulator sessions, the physical training and the travel to the race venues, a season of professional motor racing requires a level of personal commitment that I am no longer prepared to put in. At the same time, I am at a time of my life where I want to do something else and I am happy to be able to make that decision after eleven seasons of FIA WTCC. I’ve had some great experiences over my career. These three seasons with Citroën Racing have been particularly special, even though I never managed to be World Champion with this team. But I will always be proud of having helped to build our racing programme and develop the Citroën C-Elysée WTCC. I have also met some great people who are passionate about their job and have a fierce competitive spirit. Driving has been part of my daily life for so long that I can’t see myself stopping racing entirely. But I am going to spend more time with my family and developing my team, Yvan Muller Racing. Before that, though, I am going to put everything I’ve got into meeting the team’s goals.”
Yves Matton, Citroën Racing Team Principal: “The whole Citroën Racing team is proud to have Yvan Muller in its ranks. Every time we get involved in a competition, we look to recruit the best drivers. That is why we invited Yvan to join us from the start of our involvement in FIA WTCC. We will not forget his contribution. Coming in from rally driving, we had everything to learn, and he has always been more than happy to offer the team the benefit of all his experience. He is a great competitor and a great guy, who has always put Citroën’s interests first. It is to Yvan’s credit that, after three seasons with us, he has decided to end his career at a point when he is still capable of winning pole positions, races and titles. He will always be part of the Citroën Racing family and we wish him all the best for the next stage of his life, which we will follow with interest.”
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The Citroën brand:
Citroën harnesses creative flair and technology to enhance well-being. Since 1919 Citroën has made a major contribution to putting cars within reach of the general public, providing practical and purposeful answers to the questions arising in each era. Citroën cars today place a premium on design, comfort and useful technology. With 10,000 customer contact points and presence in over 90 countries, Citroën sold 1.2 million vehicles worldwide in 2015. The brand has also amassed eight manufacturers’ titles in the WRC and two Manufacturers’ FIA World Championship titles from the 2014 and 2015 WTCC seasons.