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  Citroën C3 WRC
 

  Article Image gallery (11) Specifications  
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Country of origin:France
Introduced in:2017
Predecessor:Citroën DS3 WRC
Source:Company press release
Last updated:December 22, 2016
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Click here to download printer friendly versionOne month before the 2017 FIA World Rally Championship gets underway at Rallye Monte Carlo, Citroën Racing officially unveils its C3 WRC in Abu Dhabi. Complying with the new FIA regulations, which sees the introduction of a new generation of World Rally Cars, the C3 WRC heralds the return of Citroën, with eight manufacturers' titles and no fewer than 96 wins to the brand's name. For the 2017 season, the Citroën Total Abu Dhabi WRT will enter between two and four C3 WRCs for its crews; Kris Meeke/Paul Nagle, Craig Breen/Scott Martin, Stéphane Lefebvre/Gabin Moreau and Sheikh Khalid Al Qassimi/Chris Patterson.

Since they first appeared in 1997, World Rally Cars have regularly undergone changes to their definition, in order to manage performance or control costs. The most significant changes were made ahead of the 2011 season with more compact models with 1.6 litre direct injection turbo engines.

The 2017 season sees the introduction of a new generation of cars, designed to be the fastest and most spectacular ever seen on the stages of the World Championship.

In all areas, the Citroën C3 WRC has pushed back the boundaries of what has been done in the past. For example, the power-to-weight ratio of the Citroën Racing engineers' latest creation is 3.1kg/bhp, compared with 3.8 for its predecessor. Since improved efficiency is not only a matter of figures, the dramatic technological changes can also be seen in the wider wings, the substantial aerodynamic features and the four-wheel drive that now comes with a centrally controlled differential.

In the design office, evaluation of the new regulations and the structural design of New Citroën C3 began in April 2015. This work was stepped up and specified once the programme was given the go ahead by senior management at the PSA Group. On 19 November 2015, when the sporting future of Citroën was announced, the C3 WRC already existed virtually speaking, at least, on the CAD workstations.

Very quickly, work began on building the first prototype in the nearby workshops. On 11 April 2016, Kris Meeke drove the car on its first outing at the Versailles-Satory track.

Shortly afterwards, the team set off for the south of France, where the first test session was held on the gravel roads around Chateau Lastours. The car was decorated with a special "camouflage" livery, designed to hide the styling features of New Citroën C3, which had yet to be unveiled at that point.

Development work continued on a variety of surfaces, with around four to five days of testing each month, as the team looked for both reliability and performance. At the end of June, a key stage was reached with the delivery of a second car, dedicated to tarmac testing.

Behind the scenes, work in the design office continued, introducing new upgrades. Several wind tunnel sessions were also held, before the shape of the bodywork was finalised.

Confirmed as a works driver for Citroën Racing until 2018, Kris Meeke conducted the majority of the testing. In each session, his work was corroborated by Craig Breen and Stéphane Lefebvre, who took over driving duties from the Northern Irishman on the final day of the tests.

Altogether, the Citroën C3 WRC completed ten test sessions and a total of 9,500 kilometres.

The final, critical stage before the car's competitive debut, homologation by the FIA, was completed on 13 December 2016.

"As is often the case in motorsport, we worked to a very tight schedule during the design and development of the car. When we began testing, we were pleased to see that the car was well designed. There were no major issues and the drivers said they were delighted with the car's handling. Now that it's time to measure ourselves against the competition, we feel that we have worked very well, but it's impossible to be confident. Making such big changes to the regulations means that everyone has been dealt a new hand, so we are humble against our rivals." Laurent Fregosi, Technical Director.

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  Article Image gallery (11) Specifications