The Red Army is rolling again. Citroën Racing has revealed a facelifted C3 Rally2 for the start of next season – and it’s shown in the iconic red-and-white which delivered the French marque a decade of World Rally Championship dominance.
Led by its recently crowned WRC2 champion driver Mads Østberg, Citroën has completed close to 10,000 miles of testing to bring its revised R5 car to market for early next month in time for the Monte Carlo Rally.
Jean-François Grandclaudon, technical director on the C3 Rally2 project, said: “Since its introduction in 2017, we have worked constantly and racked up a lot of miles on the road, enabling us to offer our customers an increasingly fast car, suited to all types of driver and with controlled running costs.
“This season, even more work was done with our two development drivers, Mads Østberg on gravel and Yoann Bonato on Tarmac. Over the last two years, the car has changed a lot, especially with a number of components that have not needed homologation and our efforts have now paid off with national and world titles claimed this year in major championships.”
Despite those changes, Grandclaudon insists it’s evolution not revolution for the C3 Rally2, nee C3 R5.
He added: “There is no need for a revolution on the C3 Rally2 in 2021. We are going to build on the excellent foundation we have, which is both robust and quick, to try and improve it where we can.
“Although development is a never-ending process, we are excited at the prospect of seeing the performances of our customers in the car with these upgrades.”
A two-year development process began with the homologation of a new rear subframe to improve stability and feeling under braking and a rear suspension arm redesigned to further increase reliability, as well as to work on the gravel dampers to fine-tune the balance of the car.
A year on and Citroën Racing switched its attention to the Tarmac-specification car, working on the dampers and the car’s ability to deliver more traction in low-grip.
For the coming year, seven further upgrades are planned in the first quarter. Early January will deliver new engine software homologation to improve launch and lift phases. Further quarter one upgrades will include a new front apron with revised aerodynamics, a new front differential rail providing a wider range of settings and an adjustable brake distribution pedal offering drivers greater comfort, as well as new engine brackets, rear toe brackets and exhaust manifolds, in order increase their service life.
As well as all that, the C3 Rally2 is a car which now has more visual purpose about it. It’s just, well, it’s just prettier. Maybe it’s the red and white…