The DS3 R3 conquers France!
Once more, the DS3 R3 was the star of the show when Citroen Racing's new baby headed off to France and the specialised roads of the Rallye du Mont Blanc for only its second competitive outing. The event was a resounding success: the DS3 R3 was the quickest two-wheel drive car, claiming Group R victory, and it also finished a brilliant 11th overall.
All eyes were on the DS3 R3 at the mountain roads around Morzine in the southeast of France this weekend. The new car was the subject of intense discussion, but it had to face several more powerful rivals who were equally determined to make their mark. Nonetheless, the DS3 was able to once again underline its performance and prove its versatility on stages that were completely different to the conditions experienced on its recent debut in Ireland.
The 62nd running of the rally benefited from glorious sunshine that lit up the spectacular alpine scenery around Mont Blanc. With the crew of Kris Meeke/Paul Nagle at the wheel, the DS3 R3 laid down a marker by setting fastest time in the class on the 12-kilometre Montriond le Lac stage. Building up its pace gradually, the DS3 R3 lay third in Group R at the end of the first morning's loop of stages. In the afternoon the crew stepped up a gear and strung together several fastest stage times. By the end of day one, the car was leading the two-wheel drive category: a position it was to maintain all the way to the finish.
On Saturday, Meeke continued in a similar vein setting increasingly rapid stage times to extend the gap to his rivals, while gaining places in the overall classification. The DS3 R3 set its ninth fastest stage time on the fearsome Samoens-Joux Plane stage before concluding a perfect rally that placed the crew on the top step of the Group R podium.
Frederic Bertrand, in charge of Citroen Racing's customer competition department, said: "The DS3 R3 has been born well, taking two wins from its first two events. Kris drove a fantastic rally. He showed that the car was competitive and reliable, even though our rivals were once again of the highest standard on this fifth round of the French Rally Championship. We made some changes to the suspension set-up and the brakes, so we're looking forward to see how the DS3 R3 performs on gravel, as well as on Italian asphalt at the Sanremo Rally."