Tuesday | 31 May 2016

New Citroën leaves drivers grinning

Citroën Racing boss Yves Matton says his squad's 2017-spec World Rally Car is so good that test drivers have been left with grins 'like bananas'.

Based on the yet-to-be launched C3 road car, the new WRC machine has been driven by Kris Meeke, Craig Breen and Stéphane Lefebvre so far, as Citroën Racing prepares for its Championship return next year.

And after tests in a variety of conditions in France and Portugal, Matton told wrc.com that he was delighted by the drivers' initial reactions.

"When they are trying the car then for sure they have a banana smile because the car is incredible," he said.  

"The main point is that it has much more power, but of course power without control is nothing. It seems the balance of the new car and the feeling that they are able to have is really great.

"I think if they have the banana now, it's because when the car will be further developed really it will be a toy for them to drive - that's the feeling I have".

With just eight months until the car's planned WRC debut at Rallye Monte-Carlo, Matton admitted timings were tight, but that the positive start had taken some of the pressure off.

"Over two test sessions and eight days of running we have had no major problems and we have been able to do kilometre after kilometre, that's the most important thing," he said.

"If we compare with the past, we are starting this car a little bit later than we have with our other cars, so there is a little bit more pressure. We knew that if we had a major problem at the beginning then it could make it difficult to be ready at a good level.

"Now for the moment everything is working well and from the tests it seems that we are working on a good base."

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