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Xavier Mestelan-Pinon, Citroen - Q&A
27 May 2013
Citroen technical director Xavier Mestelan-Pinon chats ahead of the Acropolis Rally of Greece, the sixth round in the 2013 World Rally Championship...
From a technical point of view, what have you learned from the last few rallies?
Although this is the third year we have been running the Citroen DS3 WRC, the car changes at virtually every rally. Since the end of last season, we have secured homologation for new parts from the FIA. These parts concern both the engine, with the cylinder head, the intake manifold and the turbo wastegate, and the chassis, with the pivots and the steering rack. And yet it is to the set-up that the most sensitive changes have been made. We start with requests from the drivers, especially from Mikko Hirvonen. He has yet to reap the rewards for the work he has put in, but the direction we have taken has also been appreciated by Dani Sordo and Sebastien Loeb.
Do you expect to keep working on this in the coming months?
We are primarily focussed on the Acropolis Rally. We expect the conditions to be similar to those we had in Portugal. We scheduled two days of testing just before the rally to confirm the validity of our work. We also have a few cards up our sleeves for the tarmac rounds. Citroën Racing remains committed to an approach based on constantly reviewing and analysing what we do. For example, if we look at Mikko's puncture in Argentina. That led to part of the rear wing becoming damaged, meaning that some water got into the car when it went through a watersplash. That was what caused the electrical problems which resulted in the car having to stop for several minutes. Although all of this occurred as a result of an abnormal situation, it's up to us to work on ensuring that it doesn't happen again. If we are going to win the title, then our cars must be completely reliable in all circumstances.
You presented a mock-up of the Citroen DS3 R5 in Portugal. Can you tell us a bit more about this new product?
Citroen Racing is continuing to roll out models based on the DS3. With R1, R3, RRC and WRC, we already have a solid line-up, but the new R5 regulations mean that we can now offer a more affordable product than the RRC. The winner of the Citroen Top Driver series, which is being held as part of the WRC-3, will be given a full programme in a DS3 R5, competing in the WRC-2 in 2014. Development work is continuing and initial road testing is scheduled to begin at the start of the summer.
Interview kindly provided by the Citroen Total Abu Dhabi WRT
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