First it was Bryan Bouffier, now it is Kris Meeke’s turn to show off Citroen’s latest rally car, the DS3 R3.
Intercontinental Challenge champion Meeke, disappointed with a fourth-place finish on the Barum Rally, will tackle the Rallye Mont-Blanc in the south of France this weekend at the wheel of the new front-wheel-drive clubmans’ specification DS3.
The 210bhp car, which is powered by a 1.6-litre turbocharged engine, made an impressive world debut on Rally NI earlier this month, with Frenchman Bouffier taking fifth overall.
Meeke, a qualified engineer, has played an integral part in the development programme for the DS3 R3.
But it will be a two-fold mission for him this weekend.
Apart from the continuing development of the DS3, it will give him the opportunity to re-acclimatise to Alpine roads and conditions ahead of the next IRC round, the Rally Sanremo, which takes place just across the Italian border in three week’s time.
He contested Rallye Mont-Blanc last year in a Peugeot 207 S2000 and was lying in the top three overall until his car’s water pump failed. He went on to win in Sanremo.
“Some of the roads where we have tested the DS3 are quite similar to those we will encounter near Morzine,” commented Meeke.
“It’s quite a specialised rally where you’re at the mercy of the changeable weather for a lot of the time, which can really shake things up.”
He will be joined in the line-up by Barum Rally hero Bouffier who reverts to his S2000 Peugeot for the French championship round which features Draperstown’s Irish and UK Citroen C2R2 champion Marty McCormack.
McCormack is trying to make it a Citroen Trophy hat-trick and is currently lying second in the French series.
Rallye Mont-Blanc gets under way on Friday morning.