The head of Citroën Racing believes the sight and sound of the next-generation World Rally Cars will go down well with fans when they enter competition in 2017.
Yves Matton gave his verdict after watching the first test of his team's all-new car in France last week. Built to the FIA's latest regulations, the C3-based car is wider, lighter, more powerful and wears more aerodynamic devices than the current DS 3 WRC.
After a trouble-free four days with Kris Meeke and Craig Breen at the wheel, Matton felt the car was a worthy successor to the current breed of vehicles which first appeared in 2011.
“It is very much in line with what we had imagined when we talked about the new regulations, which were devised to make the cars more spectacular," he explained.
"All the factors we had wanted to improve – the noise, impression of speed and aggressive design – are already in evidence, even though this was only the car’s very first test outing! I think rally fans are going to like the new generation of WRCs.”
Citroën Racing has taken a year away from the WRC this year as it focuses on the development of the new car and Matton paid tribute to his team for keeping the build on track.
“This test is one of the major stages in a project of this size. The lead-times established for the design phase were very tight. Thanks to its expertise and experience, the team has done a fantastic job to design a car based on the new regulations," he said.
"Having seen our World Rally Car begin road testing on schedule and complete runs without experiencing any major problems, we can take our time in confirming the upcoming milestones. Once again, what the men and women at Citroën Racing have achieved is quite exceptional.”
Matton also acknowledged the contribution his World Touring Car Championship team would have in shaping the rally car.
"Our WTCC programme will be a bonus, because it will enable us to have a different approach. Before, we had virtually no real experience in aerodynamics. It is now a field in which we have genuine expertise.
"Similarly, we have an engine that has been running for more than two years with a similar power level and lifespan to those stipulated in the WRC specifications. All of this will be beneficial for the rest of the development phase and when it comes to running the car,” he said.