Driving The Ds3 Rally

Back in the surrmer I had a few Icps in wlial is lite DS3 Racing's closest rnotorsport cousin, the DS3 R3 rally car. It uses the same engine and has almost identical power, though a host of modifications boost torque to 2581b ft. Amongst other goodies, it gets a paddle-cperated six-speed sequential gearbox (with a flat-shift system),a hydraulic handbrake and, more importantly, hydraulic power-assisted steering. Dealing wr.h all the impacts are three-way adjustable dampers by French frm BOS, while a ZF limited-slip diff in the front axle takes care of traction.

If you've never driven a race- or rally-prepared front-wheel-drive car then put it cn your list of things to do. It's extraordinary, because they are incredibly tail-happy and stability of the chassis in direction changes but the front end needs to find more purchase and the steering needs more weight and feel.

If you look purely at power, then the DS3 Racing has Renault's Clio 200 as a competitor, but in terms of price and dynamics, the Clio wins hands down. With the Citroen costing £23,100-over six grand move than the Cup-chassis'd Clio — the more obvious rival for it is the £21,875 MiniJCW. Both have aesthetics that have been worked on hard, but each has quite a different flavour to its driving experience. It will be interesting to see whether it's Citroen or Mini that comes out on top when they go head-to-head on the road, and on the WRC stages, in 2011.

Henry Catchpole eVO RATING

+ Entertaining in the bends, looks the part -Struggles for traction, light steering, price

ENTERTAININGLY OUT OF LINE'

ßalaasa: ilsrÄtop & Faiimmy. Maputos© tor AJ

OS3 fU lias been built to the FIA's Group R3T regulations. Left: stripped interior features roll-cage ard Recaro seats feel like they pivot around a point directly between the front wheels, the back instantly picking up a wheel and sliding around behind. You set it up to slide nto a turn and arrive at the apex already pointing down the next straight, controlling the attitude of the rear with your left foot and the brake pedal. Have a look at the video cn evo.co.uk.

As you can imagine, the R3 is huge fun and rt has so far been very successful on the stages, but in my opinion as a rung on the ladder to the WRC it is far too expensive for most budding Sordos: a complete car with tarmac and gravel kits will set you back almost £90,000. HC

Top right: Citroen Racing seats offer plenty of lateral support. Above: engine has an extra SObhp over the DS3 1.6 THP. Right and below: carbonfibre can be found inside too. Below right: white with grey is the other colour choice

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