Citroen starts this week's Rally Australia gunning for its ninth straight victory in this year's World Rally Championship, a record the team's technical director Xavier Mestelan-Pinon says is down to the French firm's experience in the sport.
Citroen has won the manufacturers championship six times in the last eight years, and it arrives in Australia with a 91-point advantage over Ford. The factory DS3 WRCs have yet to suffer a reliability-related retirement so far this year.
"This score doesn't really tell the truth about the fight put up by our rivals," said Mestelan-Pinon. "Quite a few rallies have been won by seconds – or even less. We've never come out on top easily and our rivals are never far behind in terms of sheer performance. This is the result of 10 years' experience at the top level in rallying."
Despite its recent record, Australia hasn't been a happy hunting ground for Citroen on the last couple of events. The last Citroen winner here was Francois Duval, who collected his only world rally win driving a factory Xsara WRC in 2005.
Winner of the last round of the championship in Germany, Sebastien Ogier says he feels comfortable on new rounds of the series.
"I'm happy to be back in Australia," said Ogier. "In these conditions, where experience is of less importance, I generally feel more at ease. I hope it'll be the same thing on this round and that we'll have a good scrap."