Citroën Xsara WRC history and technical infos

Citroën has been involved in many types of racing for quite a few years. Numerous wins have been scored in rallying and off-road events such as the Paris-Dakar endurance race. As a company Citroën has brought several innovations in the automotive world among which one can note front wheel drive cars and the chevron gear that is represented on the company logo.

It was some 20 years ago, in May 1976, that Citroën and Peugeot, both French manufacturers, joined their fates in a joint venture in order to better face worldwide competition. This move has had a relatively bad influence in the racing departments of both companies. For one they could not compete directly against each other. In order to avoid direct confrontation both companies chose to emphasize their effort different fields of competition. Peugeot initially concentrated on F1 racing while Citroën was active in off-road (Baja) racing and rallycross. Then Peugeot put more emphasis on rallying, when its F1 business showed signs of failure in 1995 , and mostly concentrated in winning the French title, in a 2lt kit-car the 306, a task that was successfully accomplished. In 1998 Peugeot expressed worldwide rallying ambitions and aimed at the WRC title with the 206WRC and new successes where achieved in 2000 and 2001. The Peugeot move to leave the French rallying scene was duly exploited by Citroën which presented the Xsara 2lt kit-car in 1998 that allowed them to win 2 successive French titles. Peugeot’s successes in WRC nourished similar ambitions at Citroën. In late 1999 the company presented the press with its own WRC class car the Xsara WRC.

Amazingly the new car had very few parts in common with either its predecessor, the Xsara kit-car, or its sister, the 206 WRC. Citroën made it a point of honor to built their car from scratch and in many ways chose the right direction. Citroën Sport boss, Guy Fréquelin, an ex-rally driver himself and ex-French champion at it, is a very serious, organized, patient and competent man. The man has faced many negative answers by Citroën executives regarding his WRC project and has had the patience to wait for the right moment and convince the right people to make it a reality. Even after the press was presented the Xsara WRC prototype company officials announced that they would not fund the project. It took a lot of effort and perseverance to convince them but Guy and his team did it.

Citroën Xsara T4 WRC cutaway



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