A new high-profile European rally car, the Citroen DS3 R3, has been confirmed for the APRC’s Pacific Cup with events in New Zealand, New Caledonia and finishing on the Sunshine Coast, Australia with the International Rally of Queensland..
The 200 kmh, two-wheel drive Citroen, with the same production origins as the four-wheel drive car used by eight-time world champion Sebastien Loeb in the FIA World Rally Championship, will be driven by New Caledonia-based veteran Jean-Louis Leyraud.
The Citroen, two new Belgian-sourced Skoda Fabia S2000s, uprated versions of the dominant Proton Satria Neo S2000s from Malaysia and other significant entries from India, Japan, Malaysia and New Zealand flag a sharp jump in the level of competition for the FIA Asia Pacific Rally Championship.
Jean-Louis Leyraud, who has driven mostly Subarus in past, says his Citroen is the best rally car he’s owned during a long career.
“This a brand-new car that I bought in France in November 2011. The car arrived in New Caledonia in mid-January and I have already done 200 km of testing,” he said.
“This car goes to 200 kmh and is very light and small. The suspension is a new technology coming from the WRC, the gearbox is a six-speed sequential semi-automatic with the paddle shift at the steering wheel, which is very fast to shift. The engine is a 1600 turbo with a lot of torque and develops 220 horsepower.
“It’s very easy to drive and very fast. I would like to be in the top three for two-wheel drive cars ”.