THE CITROËN C3 R5 CAUSES A STIR AT THE RALLYE DU VAR
Taking part as one of the zero cars at the Rallye du Var, the final round of the French Championship, the Citroën C3 R5 was the centre of attention in the south of France last weekend.
On board, Yoann Bonato and Benjamin Boulloud took advantage of the three legs to continue development testing of the car.
Following test sessions held on both tarmac and gravel, the Citroën C3 R5 made its first public appearance as one of the zero cars at the Rallye du Var. Having already been crowned French Rally Champions after winning four events in their DS 3 R5, Yoann Bonato and Benjamin Boulloud celebrated their title by christening Citroën Racing's new customer racing product.
On the start podium, by the side of the roads on the stages or in the service park, the Citroën C3 R5 was the centre of attention, an instant hit with the crowds won over by its innovative livery. Rally specialists – preparation engineers, drivers, co-drivers and journalists – were above all eager to provide details of Citroën Racing's new product offering in the R5 category.
From a technical point of view, the C3 R5 was fitted for the first time with a manual gearshift, imposed by a recent change in the regulations. This new feature was given the thumbs up by Yoann, who completed all 14 stages without any issues whatsoever.
After this successful appearance, the work of the engineers and development drivers will continue with further test sessions, intended to work both on reliability and performance, before the car undergoes homologation with the FIA.
Yves Matton, Citroën Racing Team Principal: "After a fine season in the French Championship, it made sense for Yoann Bonato to drive the C3 R5 on its first public outing. I think it is fair to say that swapping the 'camouflage’ livery for a decoration that emphasised the beautiful design of the car sparked a wave of enthusiasm among the fans! Many potential customers also expressed interest in the product. These three days of full-scale testing helped us to confirm and build on what had learned in the last few development sessions. We have reached another important milestone and the technical team will keep working in the same direction to ensure we provide our customers with a highly accomplished product."
Pierre Budar, Development Director, Customer Racing Vehicles: "Apart from the interest sparked among the fans and the world of motorsport, this appearance at the Rallye du Var was very pleasing from a technical point of view. We had no reliability problems at all and were able to work in a relaxed manner on various set-ups, adapting the car to roads that were smooth in places and very uneven in others. The changing conditions and the specific racing situations enabled us to test and even approve several points with certainty. The first impression of the car's performance compared with the other models in the R5 category is also positive."
Yoann Bonato: "We had no pressure from a competitive point of view, but we really enjoyed ourselves in the Citroën C3 R5 this weekend. It is already a very accomplished product and the varied profile of the roads on the Rallye du Var meant we could try out different set-ups. The car reacted consistently to the changes made, which is a very important point on a customer racing product. I'm very proud to have been chosen by Citroën Racing to drive the car this weekend and I can't wait to get back to testing the C3 R5!"