Citroen Racing chief Yves Matton says the new-specification World Rally Championship machine has left Kris Meeke, Craig Breen and Stephane Lefebvre with 'a banana smile'.

Based upon the to be launched C3 road car, the WRC challenger will make its competitive debut at next year's Rallye Monte Carlo for the 2017 regulations revamp which have been introduced for faster and more striking machines.

Citroen has opted to take a year out of WRC as a manufacturer entry to focus its efforts on its 2017 car and is running a rigorous testing schedule of a variety of surfaces in France and Portugal.

Matton says all three drivers have given glowing report with the added power and response from the new C3 and says the testing schedule is on track ahead of next year.

"When they are trying the car then for sure they have a banana smile because the car is incredible," Matton told "The main point is that it has much more power, but of course power without control is nothing. It seems the balance of the new car and the feeling that they are able to have is really great.

"I think if they have the banana now, it's because when the car will be further developed really it will be a toy for them to drive - that's the feeling I have. Over two test sessions and eight days of running we have had no major problems and we have been able to do kilometre after kilometre, that's the most important thing.

"If we compare with the past, we are starting this car a little bit later than we have with our other cars, so there is a little bit more pressure. We knew that if we had a major problem at the beginning then it could make it difficult to be ready at a good level.

"Now for the moment everything is working well and from the tests it seems that we are working on a good base."

Meeke claimed victory in the current Citroen DS3 WRC car last week at Rally de Portugal having previously challenged for the win at Rallye Monte Carlo and Rally Sweden before being denied by crashes.



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