Var debut for Citroën's C3 R5
Citroën's new WRC 2 rally car will make its first public appearance later this month at the Rallye du Var (24-26 November).
The C3 R5 will be driven on the final round of the French Championship by Yoann Bonato who has already sewn up this year's French title in a DS 3 R5. The new car's debut will be as the road-opening zero car since it will not yet have been homologated for competition by the FIA.
The prototype has been involved in a series of tests, both on asphalt and gravel, since September and has racked up more than 4,000km with Stéphane Lefebvre, Craig Breen and Bonato at the wheel. The prototype is now close to the model which will go on sale in the first half of 2018 and will be eligible for the WRC 2 Championship after that.
"It seemed to make perfect sense to ask Yoann to drive the C3 R5 on its first public outing at the Rallye du Var. It will put the spotlight on an excellent driver, who has actively participated in the development of our new customer racing product," Citroën Racing Team Principal Yves Matton explained.
"The Rallye du Var gives us the opportunity to show the car to anyone who is really interested; it will also enable the technical team to assess the maturity of the development in different conditions to those you get in a test session."
Bonato began his association with Citroën in the 2002 Saxo Challenge, and has driven a DS 3 R5 in the last two WRC 2 seasons.
"Right from the word go, I was surprised to find such a clean, efficient and drivable car," said Bonato when talking about the promise of the C3 R5.
"It's difficult to compare the car with the previous generation, because everything is really different. Use of the chassis, the engine, ergonomics: you really get the feeling you have moved up a category.
"At the Rallye du Var, my aim will be to pursue the development work done so far and provide the team with as much feedback as possible, but also to enjoy driving on these fantastic roads."
The Rallye du Var kicks off on Friday, 24 November and is due to conclude at midday on Sunday, after 14 asphalt stages over a total competitive distance of 183km.
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