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Citroen, Hyundai keen to excel in rally chase

Revved Up: Citroen will vie for outright honors in the FIA world rally championship next year with its four-wheel drive six-speed Xsara coupe.

Citroen and Hyundai will take on the existing factory teams in their quest for world rally championship honors

18 Jun 1999

CITROEN has unveiled the four-wheel drive, six-speed Xsara coupe which it will use to contest the FIA world rally championship next year.

The 232kW road rocket will take on the might of factory teams from Mitsubishi, Subaru, Toyota and Ford in its quest for outright honors in the pinnacle of rallying.

Citroen recently became the first car-maker to win a world rally championship event with a Formula Two front-wheel drive car, first in Spain and then in Corsica.

It hopes to achieve similar success in the outright category with its four-wheel drive Xsara.

Power is delivered to all four wheels by a six-speed sequential gearbox and three active differentials.

For tarmac rallies it is equipped with massive 8x18-inch wheels shod with chunky Michelin tyres.

Braking is provided by massive cross-drilled ventilated discs at all four corners with six pistons at the front and four at the rear.

With a kerb weight of just 1230kg, it should offer prodigious levels of performance and handling.

Meanwhile, South Korean manufacturer Hyundai is also preparing a contender with which to contest the world rally title.

What may surprise some enthusiasts is the four-wheel drive rally weapon is based not on the Coupe but the bargain basement Excel.

Hyundai has encountered some success in the Formula Two category with the Coupe and the car-maker will use this experience in developing its contender for the outright title.

At any rate, it will be a valuable image-building exercise for Hyundai as the Excel - known as the Accent in overseas markets - is the company's bread-and-butter car.

The Excel will gain its fair share of exposure on the world rallying arena, which draws a particularly large audience in Europe.

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