Sebastien Loeb claimed his third victory on the high-speed FIA World Rally Championship round last week, 6.1s ahead of local hero and new-for-2012-team-mate Mikko Hirvonen.
Speaking to the British newspaper Motorsport News, Mestelan-Pinon explained: “We have a big change on the shock absorber and the damper. This is the first time in 11 years we had such a change - the first time a Citroen World Rally Car has run like this. Before, the Xsara, C4 and the DS3 ran in a different way.”
“This big change is the reservoir for the oil in the damper was at the top of the damper, but now it’s at the bottom,” he continued. “We have been working on this for one year and I have to say that it is thanks to Mikko that we come up with things like this, he comes with a different approach and a different idea. For us, this was a brand new design - something Citroen Racing has done itself.”
While neither Hirvonen nor Loeb would be drawn on exactly how the new damper design had improved the handling of the DS3 WRC, both praised the efforts of the French team, which also unleashed a new rear wishbone design on the gravel counter.
“Usually in Finland it is Citroen behind Ford by one second on each stage, just behind - but this time it was the opposite. So, yes, we are very happy,” added Mestelan-Pinon, who confirmed a version of the damper for asphalt use was being developed.