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201622 Apr



Citroen Racing has completed initial testing of the car that will be entered by the brand in the World Rally Championship for the 2017 season. On the gravel roads around the Château de Lastours and then in Fontjoncouse, Kris Meeke has already tested the reliability and performances of this new generation model.


First and foremost, it is worth remembering what a 2017-spec World Rally Car actually is because compared with the models that first appeared in 2011 the change is set to be dramatic, for eyes and ears alike. By becoming 55mm wider, the bodywork enjoys great aerodynamic freedom, with a front bumper fitted with a splitter, prominent air inlets and outlets, a rear diffuser, and so on. It is no accident that comparisons have been made with the legendary Group B cars of the 1980s.


Under the bonnet, the 1.6-litre direct injection turbo engine is now fitted with a 36mm booster flange, like the Citroen C-Elysee WTCC. With some 380bhp under the right-hand pedal, the drivers will be able to savour the power on offer, especially as the minimum regulatory weight has been reduced by 25kg and the four-wheel drive now comes with a central differential that improves traction.


This new generation of World Rally Cars has been designed by the FIA and the manufacturers to give the WRC new impetus. After announcing its return to the category in 2017, Citroen is now determined to play a big part in breathing new life into the WRC, with the aim of winning rallies and adding to its collection of world titles.


The very first outing of the brand’s latest model was held on Saturday, 9 April in Versailles on the small track right next to Citroen Racing’s Satory site. Alexandre Bengue, the team’s test driver, was handed the responsibility of completing the first few miles. The following Monday, Kris Meeke got behind the wheel of the prototype for another shakedown session. As he climbed out of the car at the end of his first run, the Northern Irishman’s wide grin spoke volumes about how much he had enjoyed driving the new car.

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