Citroën reveal their 2017 C3 WRC weapon
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The line-up for 2017 FIA World Rally Championship — which gets underway at Rallye Monte Carlo on January 19 — is now complete with Citroen Racing unveiling its new C3 WRC in Abu Dhabi over night.
Previously seen in concept form at the Paris Motor Show in September, the new WRC contender marks Citroen’s official return to the WRC after a part-time effort in 2016. The car is based on the new C3 hatchback and is unique among the 2017 contenders in having a five-door configuration.
The car complies with the new WRC technical regulations for 2017 which will see the 1.6-litre direct injection turbocharged engines developing about 380-horsepower — an increase of about 60bhp achieved because a larger 36mm inlet air restrictor (previously 33mm) is permitted.
New bodywork regulations allow the cars to be wider (maximum 1875mm) and feature much more sophisticated aerodynamics.
According to specification details announced by the four WRC contender brands — Hyundai, M-Sport (Ford), Toyota and Citroen — the new C3 neatly fits the dimensions of the new generation cars.
The Toyota Yaris WRC is the shortest at 4085mm (Hyundai 4100mm, Citroen 4128mm, Ford 4130m) while all four manufacturers have pumped out the wheel arches to the maximum width of 1875mm.
Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC has the longest wheelbase at 2570mm (Ford 2493mm, Toyota 2511mm, Citroen 2540mm) while all brands are quoting the minimum weight of 1190kg.
The Citroen C3 WRC has to date completed 10 test sessions and a total of 9500km of development work with its homologation by the FIA being completed on December 13. The car will run on Michelin tyres and Total remains as Citroen’s lubricant partner.
Citroen Racing team principal Yves Matton said the 2017 regulations pose new challenges.
‘‘At first glance, you could easily think that this is just a major upgrade to the previous regulations,’’ said Matton.
‘‘But it's much more than that; the increase in engine power, the growing influence of aerodynamics and the return of the centrally controlled differential are the three major changes.
‘‘We have applied our unique expertise on these three points, derived from our previous World Rally Cars and our recent experience in track racing [in the World Touring Car Championship].
‘‘That has helped us to go quicker than we might otherwise have been able and above all, to go further in our thinking.’’
Citroen Racing will run a minimum of two and a maximum of four cars during the 13-round 2017 championship.
Northern Ireland’s Kris Meeke and co-driver Paul Nagle will spearhead the French marque’s campaign with Ireland’s Craig Breen and co-driver Scott Martin and the French crew of Stephane Lefebvre/Gabin Moreau. UAE driver Sheikh Khalid Al Qassimi with co-driver Chris Patterson are also set to compete in the new car at selected 2017 events.
Citroen’s record the World Rally Championship includes eight Manufacturers’ titles, nine Driver’s titles (all achieved by Sebastien Loeb) and 96 event victories.