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The Citroën DS3 R3 will enjoy its final event of the 2010 season at the 56th Rallye du Var, the last round of the French Rally Championship. With four victories behind it already, as well as a third place overall on the Rallye du Valais; the DS3 R3 is ready to end the year on a high.

The Rallye du Var constitutes a new challenge for the DS3 R3, with 232 kilometres of stages over a demanding and varied route that push man and machinery to the limit.

Sébastien Ogier, co-driven as usual by Julien Ingrassia, will be behind the wheel for this final outing. “The itinerary is very changeable,” he said. “We’re going to come across all sorts of surfaces and different amounts of grip. The Col de Canadel, for example, has relatively smooth asphalt, but the Collobrières stage is characterised by narrow and bumpy roads with plenty of grip. Meanwhile, the downhill section of Roquebrune is often dirty and slippery. We’re obviously in winter now, so rain could play a part as well.”

Nonetheless, the talented Frenchman is in a strong position to put the Citroën DS3 R3 through its paces on these challenging mountain roads. A second car will also take to the start, crewed by Mathieu Arzeno/Renaud Jamoul.

Frédéric Bertrand, who is in charge of Citroën Racing’s customer competition department, said: “We’re heading for the final straight in the car’s development now. We can draw an extremely positive conclusion so far as the programme has resulted in four Group R victories as well as an overall podium on a European Championship round. The Rallye du Var will be a great occasion for the Citroën DS3 R3 to show once more that it lives up to our high expectations. Sébastien Ogier/Julien Ingrassia and Mathieu Arzeno/ Renaud Jamoul will be aiming to use all their experience on this demanding event, which features more than 130 crews on the entry list.”

The action gets underway on Friday 26th November, with the rally start scheduled for 1341 off the ramp in Sainte Maxime.

Three questions for… Sébastien Ogier

You’ve helped to develop the DS3 R3. What are the biggest strengths of the car?
“The DS3 R3 has a lot of strong points. It’s got an impressive amount of torque but also a fully automated gearbox that is really easy to use, with the changes taking half the time that they would with a conventional mechanical system. The handling of the car is also very balanced, which makes it easy to adapt to a wide variety of different driving styles.”

This will be the first time that you compete on the Rallye du Var. How are you going to approach the event?
“I’m really keen to get started on this rally, which has always proved to be very popular with everyone who competes on it. The stages are very nice and quite technical, running through some absolutely spectacular countryside. I think the biggest difficulty will be the weather, which might be unpredictable because of the time of year. But I know that my first time at the Rallye du Var, with the DS3 R3, is going to be a great experience.”

You are very familiar with all of Citroën’s rally cars, from the C2 S1600 to the C4 WRC. In what ways does the DS3 R3 break new ground?
“It’s a very novel car, as it’s a halfway house between the C2 and C4 in terms of technology. The turbo and the paddle shift are reminiscent of the C4 WRC, but the DS3 is still a compact front-wheel drive car like the C2. It’s a great combination, which means that the car is a lot of fun to drive.”

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