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  Citroën Xsara T4 WRC
 

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Country of origin:France
Produced in:2003
Author:Wouter Melissen
Last updated:Before December 1st, 2004
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Click here to download printer friendly versionTraditionally French makes have faired really well in rallying. With cars like the Alpine A110, the Renault 5 Maxi, Peugeot 205T16 and most recently the Peugeot 206 WRC, the French were always top contenders. After winning the Rally Monte Carlo in the 1960s with the DS, Citroen concentrated mostly on desert rallies like Paris - Dakar, and with success. In the late 1990s Citroen returned to rallying, first with a front wheel drive kit-car but in 1999 a proper World Rally Car was introduced.

Amazingly the Xsara T4 shares very little parts with either the Peugeot 206 WRC (Peugeot and Citroen together form PSA) or the Xsara kit-car it replaced. Citroen's team manager Guy Frequelin was determined to design and build a unique car rather than relying on big brother Peugeot. Mechanically the Xsara T4 shares very little with the road-going Xsara.

Citroen chose to test the Xsara T4 for two seasons and only campaigned it in a limited number of rallies in 2001 and 2002. From the get-go the speed was there, especially on tarmac the Xsara proved a top contender. Unfortunately it was let down by poor reliability on many occasions. In the 2002 Rally Monte Carlo, Citroen's young ace Sebastian Loeb, crossed the finish line first, but he was given a one-minute penalty, handing the victory to Tommi Makkinen. In the same season Loeb did score his first World Rally victory.

For 2003 Citroen signed two ex-World Champions, Colin McRae and Carlos Sainz, to underline their intentions for their first full WRC season. Both were team-mates in 2002 at Ford and together with Loeb they make up the strongest driver line-up of the field. The first rally of the season, the Rally Monte Carlo, showed that the line-up doesn't look good on paper only, with Citroen filling the first three places at the end of the rally. This more than made up for the penalty the Citroen team received the year before, especially with Loeb taking top honours.

Ironically, Citroen's biggest adversary seems to be its big-brother Peugeot.

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  Article Image gallery (17) Specifications User Comments (6)