CITROËN will launch its 2018 FIA World Rally Championship campaign at Rallye Monte-Carlo next week with a new team principal, Pierre Budar.
Budar succeeds Yves Matton, who joins the FIA as Rally Director in place of the recently-retired Jarmo Mahonen.
Budar, who most recently ran Citroën parent company PSA Motorsport’s customer racing department, will take charge of the Citroën Total Abu Dhabi team and its C3 drivers for Monte-Carlo, Kris Meeke and Craig Breen.
“Groupe PSA has given me a unique opportunity to reconcile my passion for motorsport with an engineering career. I never imagined one day running one of the most prestigious competition teams in the world,” said Budar, 53.
He joined PSA in 1989 as an engineer and drove for the Peugeot Talbot Sport team in 1991 in a Group N 309 car.
He worked in France and Asia before setting up the group’s road performance car development department in 2010.
He took on responsibility for the group’s customer competition activities in 2016 and was influential in the development of Citroën’s C3 R5 rally car.
Yves Matton’s new role includes responsibility for the FIA’s rally strategy at all levels. He will work closely with commercial rights holder WRC Promoter.
Matton was team manager at Kronos Racing before joining Citroën Sport in 2002, eventually becoming team manager. He left six years later but returned to Citroën Racing in 2012 and guided the team back into the WRC last season after a 12-month sabbatical.