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In the end it all worked out, even if it was unexpectedly expensive on the debut event for Citroen’s new C3 R5 rally car.
Martin Holmes reports …
Citroen’s C3 R5 car of semi-official driver, Yoann Bonato, was finally cleared by the scrutineers and confirmed 10th overall and second in WRC2 many hours after the end of the Tour de Corse.
By this stage Citroen Racing had received a Euros 10,000 fine for homologation procedure infringements.
And this was only after worrying brake problems led to the crash of their works R5 entry driven by Stephane Lefebvre.
Pierre Budar, Citroen Racing Team Principal, explained they will enter at least seven WRC2 championship events with Lefebvre.
“Yoann Bonato is here for the Tour de Corse, we may see him again for other WRC2 rallies, but he's not involved in our programme. He will have his own programme in the French championship.
“On this rally Alexandre Bengue was driving an R5 as the zero car. It was one of our development test cars. It was a car we have been using on tests since October (2017).
“The target is to show the performance and the reliability of this car, because this kind of R5 programme is made for customer racing activities.”
The R5 rally car market is now beginning to explode. How does Budar think the C3 R5 compares with the other cars in the field?
“Our target is to be at the top in the fight among the different R5 models, on tarmac and gravel. This year we don't have any reward programmes or a challenge because this is the first year for the C3 R5.
“We don't have enough cars available to do such a challenge, but may think about it.
“You may have noticed that we have a Peugeot 208 R2 challenge and we are going to promote the winner of this challenge in a C3 R5 next year.”
And are there any ongoing plans for a back-to-back R5 version Peugeot R5?
“Our product planning is based on the C3 R5 as a new model. We are going to develop the market of this car and maybe think about a new Peugeot R5 later on.”
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