Citroën turned the spotlight on its C3 World Rally Car’s suspension during testing for this week’s WRC encounter in Corsica in a bid to eradicate the problems encountered at the season-opening Rallye Monte-Carlo.
It struggled on wintery asphalt in the French Alps on its return with the new C3 after a year’s absence. The suspension was pinpointed as the root of the troubles, and set-up became the focus of four days’ testing on the island.
The Che Guevara Energy Drink Tour de Corse (6 - 9 April) is the first time back on sealed surface roads since Monte-Carlo and technical director Laurent Fregosi was buoyed by the test.
“One of the things we learned from Rallye Monte-Carlo was the need to work on the suspension. During the four days of testing scheduled in Corsica, we therefore focused on this point, without overlooking the other key areas, such as the differential mapping or the mix of tyres.
“At the end of the sessions, when we compared the initial set-up and the one defined during the week, the drivers highlighted the progress we had made. We now need to turn that progress into competitive results,” said Fregosi.
Team principal Yves Matton acknowledged the importance of Citroën’s home event, in which three C3s have been entered for the first time. Kris Meeke, who ended a miserable start to 2017 with victory in Mexico last month, will be joined by Craig Breen and Stéphane Lefebvre.
“This means we can adopt a calmer approach to our race management and our young drivers will have a bit more freedom to define their strategy,” he said.
“After contesting last year’s rally, Kris and Craig will be able to use their experience since the itinerary is almost identical. Kris showed his potential on this surface and I think that he’ll be able to challenge at the front."
Meeke was guarded about his chances. “For me, this rally is the ultimate challenge on Tarmac. I can’t say I come into the rally full of confidence, but I’m very pleased with the work done in testing. We have a good car, with consistent handling. In the rally itself, we’ll see if we are close to our full potential,” he said.