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by Tim Beissmann

Citroen Australia has hinted that the Citroen DS3 Racing hot hatch to be unveiled at next month’s Geneva Motor Show could be heading down under.

Citroen Australia general manager, Miles Williams, said Australian availability will be announced when the DS3 is launched locally.

“The Citroen DS3 Racing represents an outstanding concentration of behind-the-wheel thrills with an artful blend of performance and efficiency. It provides a clear indication of what we can expect when the DS3 arrives in Australia in August,” he said.

The boldly styled French racer packs 147kW and 275Nm of torque from its 1.6-litre turbocharged engine which was developed by the same engineers who helped Sebastian Loeb and his C4 to seven World Rally Championship titles.

The turbo was specially tuned to achieve a 30 percent power increase over the standard BMW-PSA Prince engine. Torque is also up almost 15 percent, while the engine control unit was tweaked and the exhaust fitted with a new tail pipe and muffler to enhance its sporting nature.

Citroen has made the steering more precise with specific mapping and added new tyres.

The DS3 Racing’s chassis has been reworked, the suspension lowered, track widened, springs stiffened, shock-absorbers re-rated, brakes enlarged and the ESP system reprogrammed for a more spirited, sporting drive.

But it’s hard to notice all of this thanks to those outrageous 18in orange alloys, a new Citroen racing livery that continues to the side mirrors, roof and rear spoiler and interior highlights.

Carbon on the front bumper, lower-body trim, wing extensions and side mouldings also continues into the cabin on the centre console, door armrests and instrument cluster hood, while the gearstick and dashboard receive the orange treatment.

The DS3 Racing will be launched in Europe with a limited series of 1000 units in the second half of 2010 following its Geneva Motor Show debut on March 2.