Three weeks after the first outing, Citroën Racing continued development of its 2017 World Rally Car in the south of Portugal ahead of next weekend's WRC counter. Faced with a variety of weather conditions, Kris Meeke and Stéphane Lefebvre racked up the miles during four days of testing.
The team were treated to rain, hail, fog and even occasional sunshine during the four day test as they worked on the new car.
“We were actually quite pleased to have these variable conditions because they meant we could test different set-ups and assess how the bodywork stood up to being loaded with mud,” explained Laurent Fregosi, Citroën Racing’s Technical Director. “During the tests, we have several objectives. Obviously, we want to check the reliability of the various components. The mileage done by each part is noted down to make sure it tallies with the specifications. But our work is also focussed on looking for performance and driver comfort.”
After graduating in Engineering at INSA Lyon, Laurent Fregosi joined Citroën Racing in 1995, when the ZX Grand Raid dominated the Dakar Rally. He has therefore worked on every rally programme since the Xsara Kit-Car. Appointed Chief Engineer, Chassis, in 2005, Laurent took over from Xavier Mestelan-Pinon at the start of the year.
“Although we have already completed two test sessions, we’ve only just begun the journey. Analysing the data and driver feedback helps us to develop the technical definition whilst selecting the most efficient solutions. As the same time, we are also preparing a second car, which will be shortly used for testing on tarmac. This iterative way of working – which affects all areas, from the chassis to the engine, including the transmission and the aerodynamics – will continue until we need to obtain homologation of the car for the 2017 Rallye Monte-Carlo. That point seems so far away, and yet it’ll be here before we know it!”