02 July 2010

DS3 goes rallying

Citroen creates racing version of its shark-finned hot hatch. Do you fancy yourself as a MiniSeb?

Citroen DS3 R3

Citroen, in case you hadn't noticed, is doing rather well in the WRC at the moment. Six consecutive drivers' titles, thanks to some bloke called Seb Loeb. Tidy.

Trouble is, the French firm has never really been able to bridge the gap between its rally success and road cars. But the new DS3 - particularly the DS3 R hot hatch, expected to arrive late this year - has started to make the connection, and this little monster should help no end.

This is the DS3 R3, a dinky race car ready to compete in the FIA's R3T category against cars such as Abarth's headlighty 500. We are thoroughly enamoured.

The R3 is powered by the same 1.6-litre turbo petrol engine found in the DS3 R, but with new oily bits including camshaft, pistons and flywheel to boost power to 210bhp and a healthy 258lb ft of torque.

Like the road car, it remains front wheel drive, with a six-speed semi-automatic sequential box taking care of transmission duties.

Because you're quite likely to spend a lot of time hanging upside down from your race harnesses having bunged your R3 into a ditch, it gets a full roll cage constructed, we're told, from over 45 metres of steel tubing. That's a lot of tubing.

The DS3 R3 is available to customers who fancy themselves as a future MiniSeb, though Citroen has yet to announce prices.

So, this or the 500 R3T? No, you can't have both...

Sam Philip

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