Citroen in race against time to develop all-new WRC C3 for 2017

Citroen has no spare margin with development of its 2017 C3 World Rally Car and will face a race against time to be ready for next year's Monte Carlo Rally

Citroen in race against time to develop all-new WRC C3 for 2017

The French firm is set to begin testing its new car next week.

While some components have been run on a DS 3 WRC previously and Citroen has data from the 36mm-restricted 1.6-litre engine aboard its C-Elysee World Touring Car Championship entry, this is the first time the parts have all run together.

Team principal Yves Matton admitted there was little scope for delays if the car did not work straight out of the box.

"Some parts could take a month [to re-engineer], but some could take six months," he told Autosport.

"The parts which could take the longest are in the engine, but I am confident for this - we have a good background.

"The data we find from WTCC is useful, but this is a completely new engine for the rally car. Everything in this car is completely new.

"We did some hybrid solutions with the DS 3 last year, but everything has been adapted.

"We have some new technologies and some new ideas with the new car."

While Matton insisted there was no danger of Citroen missing next year's Monte, he said development might have to continue through the early 2017 rallies if there were any setbacks in testing.

"It could be very tight," he said. "If everything is working as we are planning it then we will be ready for Monte Carlo, but there is not much margin."

Citroen's record with new cars is impressive: the C4 WRC won on its debut in 2007, the DS 3 WRC was winning from its second event in 2011 and the Xsara was only four WRC rounds old when Jesus Puras won the 2001 Tour of Corsica.

The team has withdrawn its factory team from the 2016 WRC season to focus on its new car, with the satellite PH Sport squad contesting a part-season with the current DS 3 and a driver line-up led by works man Kris Meeke.

This week's issue of our sister publication Motorsport News - in shops on Wednesday - includes much more on the latest developments in the build-up to the WRC's new era in 2017 as the next-generation cars emerge

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