Published on April 20th, 2016 | by Daniel Sherman Fernandez0
Citroen Racing Completes Initial Testing of Its 2017 WRC Car
Citroën 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.
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 Citroën C-Elysée 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.
Overseen by Laurent Fregosi, Citroën Racing’s new Technical Director, the development team headed for the south of France for the first proper test session. Engineers Alexis Avril (Project Manager) and Didier Clément (Chief Operating Engineer) didn’t go for the easy option in choosing the roads around Château de Lastours and Fontjoncouse as the base for testing. Regularly used by cross-country rally vehicles, the rocky gravel roads provided a demanding environment in which to test the strength of the chassis, the suspension, the gearbox and the bodywork.
To hide the aerodynamic features as much as possible, Citroën Racing’s latest creation was decorated with a special “camouflage” livery, with a red, white and black pattern created by Citroën’s design team. At 9.12am on Thursday, 14 April, Kris Meeke and Paul Nagle began the test programme.
On the fourth day, Kris handed over driving responsibilities to Craig Breen. Tasked with analysing the work done using his own experience and feeling, the talented young Abu Dhabi Total WRT driver turned out to be just as enthusiastic about the potential and performances of this new generation World Rally Car.
Back in Versailles, the team now has to go through and analyse the gigabytes of data acquired and prepare the changes that will be made in time for the next test session.