Rally Mexico: 3 questions to Xavier Mestelan-Pinon

Technical director, Citroën Racing

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By Olivier Ferret

25 February 2011 - 07:10
Rally Mexico: 3 questions to Xavier (...)

How do you feel about the fact that there were no Citroën DS3 WRCs on the podium in Rally Sweden?

“We shouldn’t jump to hasty conclusions when analyzing the results of the rally. When the conditions were comparable for all the crews, our cars were at least as quick as those of our rivals. In terms of figures, the DS3 WRCs set ten fastest times out a possible twenty-two. There’s only one rally on snow with studded tyres during the season. We had a long debrief after the event, and I think we’ve found some interesting paths to explore in the future.”

Have you developed the Citroën DS3 WRC more for gravel?

“The World Rally Championship has always been mainly run in gravel events. Even, if it’s not a question of sacrificing snow or asphalt, it was very important to be able to count on a car that’s competitive on gravel right from the start of the season. Mexico begins a string of seven events on this surface. We’ve done a lot of testing on different types of gravel from the really rough stuff to the smoother, faster sections. We’re continuing to work on the car’s handling with the new Michelin tyres.”

One of the main characteristics of Rally Mexico is that it takes place 2000 metres above sea level. Do you have to prepare the cars specifically to compensate for the lack of air?

“We’ve got a lot of experience of Rally Mexico which we’ve won with the Xsara and the C4. To be quick on this type of terrain, you have to have a good suspension setup and brakes that last. Concerning the altitude you have to adjust the gear box ratios and play around with the engine mapping. It’s the result of work in testing as the engine is no different from the one we had in Sweden. “

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