Motor Sport News - - Headline News - Pho­tos: mck­lein-im­age­ By David Evans

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.

Meeke and Breen tested in Fin­land ‘Test 3’ is still first it­er­a­tion of new- for-2017 Citroen C3 WRC

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