MEEKE TESTS CITROEN C3 IN FINLAND
Britain’s Kris Meeke and Irishman Craig Breen drove Citroen’s C3 WRC in Finland last week at the French firm’s latest – and fastest – test of its 2017 machine yet.
Meeke drove the car for three days in Finland, with Breen taking the controls for the fourth day.
The team has now completed at least 12 days of running with the new car and team head Yves Matton says the progress made reflects the work Citroen has done behind the scenes on the new car and the firm’s experience at rallying’s highest level.
“We have not had any major issues with the car from when we started testing,” Matton told MN. “There have been some things which we have worked on, some small parts, but nothing has stopped us [for an extended period]. I’m happy for this because if we did have to stop then it could make a problem for the timeframe we are working to. The timing is already tight, but we are still, more or less, on target.”
The car was pictured being towed back to service on one occasion and Meeke was understood to have caused minor suspension damage when he clipped a rock. Otherwise, the car was regularly running 10-15-mile loops.
The test, which was between Kuhmoinen and Jamsa on stages like the Hassi test, which features regularly on Rally Finland, was to find out where the car was aerodynamically and online footage and pictures showed the front of the C3 lifting on the higher speed jumps.
Matton admitted the aerodynamics of the car would evolve significantly ahead of its first outing in Monte Carlo next January.
“It will be easy to see the changes we make to the car,” Matton said, “from the outside, it will be different. I won’t say a radical change, but the idea is not yet finalised how [the aerodynamics] will look.”
Project manager for the 2017 World Rally Car Alexis Avril said the team was putting its racing experience to good use, with elements of the WTCC C-elysee being deployed.
Avril said: “We have made great strides in our understanding of the flow principles and aerodynamic performance since 2013 and the debut of the WTCC programme. As the disciplines are different, not everything was transferable.”
The first asphalt running of the car could be as soon as next month. The team moves back to France for its fourth session, but Matton wouldn’t be drawn on the location.
The C3 WRC ran for the first time in France in April. The second test, last month, took it to southern Portugal and roads previously used on the Algarve-based Rally of Portugal.