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Citroen launches C3 R5 rally car. Image by Citroen.

Citroen launches C3 R5 rally car
New Citroen rally car is aimed at independent teams
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What's all this about?

This multi-coloured, jacked-up Citroen C3 is the French firm's new R5 rally car. It shares similarities with the fearsome C3 WRC, but is intended to provide an affordable solution for private teams and drivers at national and international level.

Affordable? Rallying? Surely not...

It's all relative, and while an R5 car will still set you back a fair amount of wedge, it's much cheaper than the bespoke World Rally Cars, thanks to the use of many production-based parts in its construction. Don't be fooled though; R5 cars are still impressive bits of kit.

Impressive how?

How does all-wheel drive, a sequential gearbox, and 280hp from a 1.6-litre turbocharged engine sound? Also, multiple bodywork revisions are allowed, as well as pukka suspension and brakes. These are capable machines, make no mistake.

Who else builds one?

Citroen has already had a foray into the class with its DS3 R5, although that car and the closely-related Peugeot 208 R5 have not had the success that the PSA Group might have hoped. The category is currently dominated by Skoda Fabias and Ford Fiestas, while the new Hyundai i20 R5 has showed promise. Rumour has it that Volkswagen has a Polo R5 in the offing, too...

Will the C3 R5 be competitive?

It's hard to tell right now, although the right ingredients are there. Factory drivers Craig Breen and Stephane Lefebvre will be involved in the testing programme, while suppliers like Sadev and Reiger are proven experts in their respective areas (transmissions and suspension). Citroen Racing will be hoping that the C3 WRC's disappointing 2017 season is not a portent for the R5 car. Lest we forget, the French outfit dominated the sport during the Sebastien Loeb era, and they'll want to start winning again. Here's hoping that they can.

Maurice Malone - 4 Sep 2017

2018 Citroen C3 R5 rally car. Image by Citroen.2018 Citroen C3 R5 rally car. Image by Citroen.      - Citroen road tests
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