With less than a month to go before the 2017 World Rally Championship season kicks off in Monte Carlo, Citroën has unveiled its C3 WRC contender. Like others for this year, the Citroën rally car conforms to 2017’s less restrictive regulations, which allows the use of a larger, 36 mm intake restrictor – up from 33 mm – along with a more aggressive aerodynamics package, as evidenced in pictures here.

The five-door Citroën C3 body forms the basis of the WRC car, though in this application the rear doors have been welded to the body, and the rally car sports wider tracks, both front and rear. Power comes from a 1.6 litre, turbocharged four-cylinder engine producing 380 hp and 400 Nm of torque, using a machined block.

The revised-for-2017 regulations also allow the use of a centrally-controlled hydraulic differential, which gives drivers on-the-go control of torque split between the front and rear axles.

“In 2017 we want to win rallies in normal conditions, by beating our competitors. And then in 2018, our goal is to bring home at least one of the world titles,” said team boss Yves Matton. “When I read certain comments, I note that a lot of people are expecting the C3 WRC to be fast right from the word go. So we certainly have pressure on our shoulders,” he added.

The C3 WRC will be driven by Kris Meeke, who played a leading role in the rally car’s development, along with Craig Breen and Stéphane Lefebvre. “As is often the case in motorsport, we worked to a very tight schedule during the design and development of the car,” according to Laurent Fregosi, Citroën’s WRC technical director as told to Autocar.

“When we began testing, there were no major issues and the drivers said they were delighted with the car’s handling. Now that it’s time to measure ourselves against the competition, we feel that we have worked very well but it’s impossible to be confident,” Fregosi added.