The new Citroën DS3 Regional Rally Car (RRC) will make its competitive debut this weekend on the Rallye International du Valais in Switzerland, with eight-time Belgian Rally Champion Pieter Tsjoen at the wheel.
Under the FIA’s technical rules, RRC cars are low-tech, low-cost variants of their WRC siblings whose power from the 1.6-litre turbo engine is moderated by a smaller restrictor (30mm instead of 34mm)r, together with a standardised flywheel and a more basic aero kit in line with that of Super 2000.
Tsjoen’s progress will doubtless be eagerly watched, particularly as he will face stiff competition from no fewer than 12 Peugeot 207 S2000s and three Škoda Fabia S2000s.
Citroën Racing is about to launch a range of customer cars as it attempts to make up for a potential budgetary shortfall in 2013. Following a difficult year for parent group PSA and the expected closure of several factories within the Peugeot-Citroën empire, the team has been forced to find significantly greater external funding, and a profitable customer car business is a must.
This in turn will pitch Citroën’s racing department into a heated sales battle between M-Sport (Ford), Peugeot Sport and Škoda Motorsport among others.