Citroen set for vital pre-Sweden WRC test

Group Rallying Editor
@davidevansrally

Citroen will carry out a four-day test this week in the hopes of taming its winter-spec C3 WRC in time for Rally Sweden.

The French team has scheduled the test after suffering badly on the WRC’s winter rally last season.

The 2017 Rally Sweden was one of Citroen’s lowlights as both Kris Meeke and Craig Breen struggled to keep the C3 WRC on the road.

Breen finished fifth, almost three minutes off the pace while Meeke ran as high as third before going off the road in Vargasen and ending the event 12th.

Neither driver was able to find any confidence with the car, which was prone to snap-oversteer on the entry to corners.

This week is the team’s first test in Swedish conditions since last year.

Citroen technical director Christophe Besse is confident advances made with the C3’s set-up in low-grip conditions – specifically in the transmission and suspension – will help with next week’s second WRC round of the season.

Besse told Motorsport News: “We improved the gravel car, so we should have a car that’s better on snow. But [this week] we need to find the good set-up for this car which is completely different from last year’s car on snow.”

Asked if he was confident four days testing would be enough to dial the C3 WRC in, Besse replied: “I’m sure it will not be enough, but it’s always a compromise if you put every thought on one rally it’s not a good thing.

“We have to be reasonable, it’s one rally on this surface, so we give four days and then we work more on gravel. But we hope we will be able to do our best in these four days, we need to be efficient and do a better job than last year.”

Besse is confident Citroen can iron out car issues. Pic: Mcklein-imagedatabase.com

Breen reiterated Besse’s point about the car’s hike in speed on dirt, adding: “The car improved a lot on gravel, so we can just hope that it’s the same on the snow.

“At Rally GB last year the conditions were really tricky and the car was working well, but Sweden’s a different ball game – we’ll just have to wait and see.”

Meeke and Breen get one and a half day’s testing each, with the fourth day set aside for Mads Ostberg, who joins the team for what is currently a one-off appearance in a third C3 WRC.

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