Citroen Rallye des Cardabelles preview

Citroen DS3 R3: Next up, gravel... In a cloud of dust, the Citroen DS3 R3 will take the start of the Rallye des Cardabelles next weekend for its very first outing on gravel. Coming off the back of two wins on asphalt, the car will continue its...

Citroen DS3 R3: Next up, gravel...

In a cloud of dust, the Citroen DS3 R3 will take the start of the Rallye des Cardabelles next weekend for its very first outing on gravel. Coming off the back of two wins on asphalt, the car will continue its high-speed demonstration run on a new surface while aiming for class victory.

The Rallye des Cardabelles is the fourth round of the French Gravel Championship and a firm favourite with all the crews. The route, which takes in the picturesque countryside around Millau in the south of France, offers crews 160 competitive kilometres of challenging flat-out stages that are a big test for any car. This rally will form a key point in the evolution of the Citroen DS3 R3, which actually started out its development on gravel. In order to accomplish this latest mission, Citroen can rely on the experience of Marc Amourette and his co-driver Gwenola Marie, who currently sit at the top of the two-wheel drive standings in the French Championship. The consistency and reliability of the French crew, who usually drive the C2 S1600 or the C2-R2 MAX, is sure to showcase the new car's qualities on the demanding gravel in the south of France.

Alexis Avril, the chief engineer in charge of the Citroen DS3 R3 project, said: "We're entering a new phase in the progression of the DS3 R3 and the whole team cannot wait to demonstrate the car's potential on this new surface in competitive conditions. The DS3 will be equipped with the gravel kit that will soon be sold by Citroen's parts department. Our overall goal on this event is to measure ourselves against the established opposition and to confirm all the work we have carried out during the development of the car, where we concentrated in particular on chassis and suspension. The terrain, which is well known for being fast and sometimes rough, will be ideal for highlighting the solidity and strength of the car. On top of all that, we would also like to ensure that the car is reliable and competitive, whatever the surface."

Those who love rallying and seeing cars get sideways can head to Millau, from 9-10 October, for the 27th Rallye des Cardabelles, where 160 competitors are expected to battle all weekend long.

Three questions to... Marc Amourette

You'll be giving the Citroen DS3 R3 its debut on gravel. How are you going to approach the rally?

"I'm just going to approach it in the same way that I approach every rally, firstly by concentrating on my pace notes, which are very important on a gravel event. The opening stage will allow me to get to grips with the car and see where I am compared to everyone else; then I'm hoping to increase my pace with every kilometre."

You'll have some idea of what to expect as you've contested the Rallye des Cardabelles before. Can you describe the characteristics of the event?

"The Rallye des Cardabelles is an unusual event that contains a bit of everything. The roads are constantly evolving, as they are different on each run. Generally speaking the stages are fast with both uphill and downhill sections and the levels of grip are constantly changing. Sometimes the roads are slippery and at other times they are rough. In conclusion, it's the perfect rally for the Citroen DS3 R3 to show what it can do on gravel."

You're currently leading the two-wheel drive trophy in the French Championship with the C2-R2 MAX. Do you think that the Citroen DS3 R3 can aim for victory in Millau?

"After taking part in some tests with the DS3 R3 a few weeks ago, I have to say that I was absolutely astounded by its potential and level of sheer performance. It's simply the fastest two-wheel drive car that I have ever had the chance to drive up to now. The chassis and the suspension give the DS3 incredible road holding and the gearbox is astonishingly easy to manage. I'm convinced that this car is able not only to win its class but also to get into the top 10 overall. Since the test, I've been really impatient to get back behind the steering wheel and start doing battle with the clock!"

-source: citroen

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Series Other rally
Teams Citroën World Rally Team