The Citroen DS3 R3 prepares for another starring role After a remarkable debut in Northern Ireland, where the Citroen DS3 R3 won Group R and clinched a superb fifth place overall on the Ulster Rally, the new car is on another mission. This time,...
The Citroen DS3 R3 prepares for another starring role
After a remarkable debut in Northern Ireland, where the Citroen DS3 R3 won Group R and clinched a superb fifth place overall on the Ulster Rally, the new car is on another mission. This time, the crew of Kris Meeke and Paul Nagle will be attempting to conquer France on the 62nd Rallye du Mont Blanc next weekend, round five of the French Championship.
With all eyes on Citroen's new baby, the Irish champions will set off on a journey through 14 mountain special stages, totalling 206 competitive kilometres. The Rallye du Mont Blanc is characterised by a breathtaking series of climbs and descents, in the heart of skiing territory near Morzine, which takes in spectacular countryside featuring lakes, forests and majestic peaks. The rally is well known for being tough on cars, and particularly brakes, but it could not present a bigger contrast to the twisty roads of Ulster. Variable weather and a wide range of temperatures are also expected to be a key factor over the weekend. The Citroen DS3 R3 is all set to face another new challenge thanks to this technical and demanding rally, with a tough route and extremely high level of competition.
Jean-Francois Lienere, in charge of Citroen Racing's customer competition programmes, commented: "On its second event, the DS3 R3 will have to get to grips with a very different sort of terrain to the conditions encountered in Ireland. We now step up to the next level by going head-to-head against some extremely accomplished French rivals. The 10,000 kilometres we covered in testing allowed us to tackle all sorts of different surfaces, but there's no substitute for competition when it comes to seeing what our new car is capable of. Kris Meeke, who knows this rally after contesting it last year, will be aiming to use all of his testing and driving experience to fine-tune the car's set-up throughout the event."
Three questions to... Kris Meeke
This will be your second time at the Rallye du Mont Blanc. What do you think of the event?
"A few years ago I went skiing in Morzine and when I saw the roads there I really wanted to come and do the rally. Last year I finally got the chance to compete on the Rallye du Mont Blanc and that experience confirmed to me just what a fantastic event it was. The scenery is absolutely stunning and I particularly enjoyed the Joux Plane stage. This is quite a specialised rally where you're at the mercy of the changeable weather for a lot of the time, which can really alter things."
The DS3 R3 claimed a really good result on the fast and bumpy roads of the Ulster Rally recently. You'll be driving it on a completely different type of event: how are you going to approach this rally?
"The tests that I carried out with the DS3 R3 were actually on roads that were quite similar to the sort of stages that we will find around Morzine. We're going to start off with a good base set-up that we just plan to fine-tune as the event goes on. I know that the car behaves extremely well on this sort of surface and I'm simply planning to pick up my pace gradually over the course of the rally. The car has already proved to be quick and competitive. We're here to underline that performance and we're going to be doing our very best to achieve this objective."
You took part in the development programme of the DS3 R3: what are the biggest strengths of the car?
"The DS3 R3 is a real technology showcase. It's a new generation of car that incorporates all sorts of interesting technical innovations that have never been seen before on a car destined for customer competition. I'm thinking in particular of the semi-automatic sequential control gearbox and the turbo engine, which offers up incredible torque even though the car is always very easy and enjoyable to drive. Now we just need to see how the Citroen DS3 R3 goes compared to its rivals on this new terrain. I'm sure it's going to be pretty astonishing. "