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by Tim Beissmann

Citroen has unveiled a rally-bred version of its up-market DS3 small car for Sebastian Loeb wannabes: the Citroen Racing DS3 R3.

The DS3 R3 has been designed to meet the FIA’s new Group R3T regulations. As a result the DS3 R3 looks similar to the standard production hatch but features a welded, multi-point roll cage with more than 45 metres of steel tubing to improve chassis resilience and safety for the driver pairing.

It will be marketed by Citroen Racing as a built-it-yourself kit car as well as a ready-to-race factory-assembled rally car.

Under the bonnet, the 1.6-litre engine uses a high pressure turbo and specific racing parts, including air filter, camshaft, connecting rods, pistons, flywheel and exhaust. All this leads to 157kW of power and 350Nm of torque (up 47kW/110Nm from the road-going vehicle).

Like the C4 WRC, the DS3 R3 features a six-speed transmission with semi-automatic sequential control and composite fibre steering wheel-mounted paddles. The clutch pedal is used only at take off, with the twin-disc clutch controlled automatically during subsequent changes.

Since its first outing at the end of August in 2009, Citroen Racing has completed more than 10,000km in development testing, split evenly across different road surfaces.

Citroen says the suspension is suited to all road surfaces, from smooth tarmac to rough gravel.

The French manufacturer is yet to announce pricing for the Citroen Racing DS3 R3, simply revealing it will be available for “an affordable price” before its rallying debut at the end of 2010.




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