The Citroen rally team has dominated the rally world since 2004 winning both drivers and constructors championships for more than 7 years. The secret was divided into 2 parts; Sebastian Loeb and the car that used to be Xara and then became C4.

The 2011 is a step into the unknown in world rallying. The World Rally Championship will see the biggest changes in car specs since the introduction of the 2.0L engines in the late 90s. Citroen officials firmly believe that they have the right weapon to extent their domination. Sebastian Loeb. They are cautious about the car though.

In 2011 Citroen will shift from C4 to DS3 their new amazing road car. The DS3 WRC still holds a high level off secrecy but many things could be known it. The car has been started from a blank sheet in Citroen’s operations and the gearbox was designed with SADEV. On the other hand the box and the seats were custom designed within the Citroen’s rally operation.

Although the car was tested at the end of 2009 the new 1.6 turbo engine was first tested in the summer of 2010. Citroen official Xavier Destelan believes that results are not insured, and nobody will know who has the best car before the end of 2011. He also believes that different cars will perform differently on different kinds of rally, so on snow someone will be better than the one good on asphalt and so on. Things are still unclear.

So is the DS3 WRC a world beater? Is it better than the C4?

Usually rally teams try to build the best car for the regulations so comparisons are somehow not accurate but never the less, the differences are spotted like this. The C4 had more power in long straights but the difference is not that dramatic since the loss of power will only be around 10%.

The new car will be more precise though. It will be much faster in technical rallies and its reduced wheelbase will make it tricky on weight distribution but it will give more center weight and more reactivity. After testing the car Loeb believes that the car has a lot of potential and it feels like the Xara when he first tested it, unlike the stiff C4 as he described it in an interview with car magazine UK. Loeb is also not that convinced with the switch to no clutch manual gearboxes claiming that instead of decreasing the costs it will increase them because they will be more vulnerable to problems and they will demand more resources to develop.

TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS

CHASSIS
Structure Reinforced body with weleded, multi-point roll cage
Bodywork Steel and composite fibre

ENGINE

Type Citroen Racing – 1.6-litre turbocharged direct injection engine
Bore x stroke 82×75.5mm
Capacity 1,598cc
Maximum power 300bhp at 6,000rpm
Maximum torque 350Nm at 3,250rpm
Specific output 188bhp/litre
Ditribution Double overhead camshaft valve train driven by timing belt
4 valves per cylinder
Fuel feed Direct injection controlled by Magneti Marelli SRP-HP unit

CLUTCH

Type Cerametallic twin-disk

TRANSMISSION
Type Four-wheel drive
Gearbox Sadev six-speed sequential
Control Manual
Differential Front and rear mechanical, auto-locking

BRAKES
Front Ventilated disks, 355mm (tarmac) and 300mm (gravel)
Water-cooled 4-piston callipers (tarmac)
Rear Ventilated disks, 300mm
4-piston callipers
Distribution Adjustable from cockpit
Handbrake Hydraulic control

SUSPENSION

Front McPherson type
Rear McPherson type
Shock absorbers Citroen Racing four-way adjustable shock absorbers
(low- and high-speed compression and rebound)

STEERING
Type Hydraulic power-assisted steering

WHEELS

Tarmac 8×18’’ wheels
Gravel and snow 7×15’’ wheels

DIMENSIONS, WEIGHT AND CAPACITIES
Length 3,948mm
Width 1,820mm
Wheel base 2,461mm
Track 1,618mm (front and rear)
Fuel tank 75 litres
Weight 1,200kg with driver pairing (regulations)

So will it be again the class of the field or will Ford get the upper hand this time around?

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