The Citroën C3 WRC World Rally Championship car has begun testing, giving the best indication yet of how the production version of the firm’s best-selling supermini will look when an all-new road car goes on sale later this year.
The C3 WRC was shaken down by Britain's Kris Meeke in Château-de-Lastours and Fontjoncouse, France, and will undergo testing throughout 2016 ahead of running in the 2017 World Rally Championship. Next season’s cars are being built to new rules, and will be the fastest ever seen in the WRC.
A close look at the official pictures of the rally car confirm that the new Citroën C3 road car will take significant styling cues from the Citroën C4 Cactus, particularly around the front-end design, with the rally team’s disguise scarcely disguising the lines around the upper body, bumper and headlamps. The C4 Cactus has been a significant sales success for Citroën since launching in 2014, with its quirky styling and distinctive look polarising audiences but winning more buyers.
Of the WRC test, Meeke said: “The car looks fantastic and much more sexy with the new FIA regulations. I am pretty sure that the spectacle will be amazing for all the fans. I think we are entering an exciting new era of the FIA World Rally Championship.”
The new Citroen C3 road car is expected to be unveiled at this year’s Paris motor show. Insiders have already confirmed that the car will feature Citroën’s distinctive Airbump design on the side, as well as major on comfort, space and technology rather than sportiness, a route taken by many of Citroën’s rivals. Powertrains are expected to come from updated versions of the existing line-up of petrols and diesels.