The Citroen DS3 R3 continues its programme As expected, the 52nd Rally Sanremo was fast and furious. The 114 competing crews did battle on tricky and narrow roads under changeable weather conditions. The two DS3 R3s that were entered proved to...
The Citroen DS3 R3 continues its programme
As expected, the 52nd Rally Sanremo was fast and furious. The 114 competing crews did battle on tricky and narrow roads under changeable weather conditions. The two DS3 R3s that were entered proved to be competitive on territory that was completely different from the previous rallies they had known.
The competitors took the start last Friday to embark on 220 competitive kilometres of action in the heart of the Italian province of Liguria. From the very opening stages, the two DS3 R3s, driven by Elwis Chentre and the young Matthieu Arzeno, were among the frontrunners setting competitive times that allowed the Italian driver to slot into second place in class. "It's the first time that I'm driving the Citroen DS3 R3 in competitive conditions and I already feel very comfortable," he said. "It's a very efficient car and very easy to drive."
The weather, which had been extremely menacing up to the end of the first loop of stages, then stepped in to complicate things so competitors embarked on the second loop in wet conditions. Mathieu Arzeno's DS3 R3 shone in the rain. He moved up to second place in the overall two- wheel drive category, while the second Citroen rounded off the top five.
Things changed when Mathieu Arzeno picked up a 50-second penalty for checking out of service late, due to accidentally setting off the in-car fire extinguisher. He was more motivated than ever to make up the time lost, and his DS3 R3 set the fourth-fastest time in class on the fearsome 44- kilometre `Ronde' night stage, where reliability and endurance were the keys to success.
The second day on Saturday, consisting of two 30-kilometre loops of stages, took place in bright sunshine. Mathieu Arzeno's DS R3 set another fastest stage time, allowing the French crew to move back up the leaderboard and regain fourth place in the two-wheel drive category before an electrical problem on a road section forced their retirement.
The Citroen DS3 R3 driven by the Italian Elwis Chentre no longer had a chance of victory, having lost nine minutes on the opening day. Nonetheless, the car staged an excellent fightback and made the finish after climbing back up the overall classification.
Jean-Francois Lienere, in charge of Citroen Racing's customer competition programme, commented: "After two Group R victories in Ireland and France, we can draw two conclusions from our trip to Italy. First of all, the Citroen DS3 R3 has proved to be competitive on yet another type of road. Secondly, we still need to continue our work to refine the car. "
The Citroen DS3 R3's next outing will be on the Rallye des Cardabelles in France from 09-10 October. There, Citroen's new challenger will face gravel for the first time in the hands of Marc Amourette.