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"Au revoir to the CitroŽn Rallye Raid"

CitroŽn's competitors will undoubtedly heave a sigh of relief at the news that 1997 is the last year the CitroŽn Rallye Raid will compete in the World Cup as CitroŽn Sport turns its attention to winning races with the new Xsara and Saxo Kit Cars.

The Rallye Raid , since its introduction in 1990, has won no fewer than 36 of the 42 races in which it has been entered. Racing across some of the most inhospitable territory in the world, it has achieved four victories in the Paris - Dakar Rally and two wins in the Paris - Moscow - Beijing Rally thereby ensuring its place in the record books as one of the most successful cars in Cross Country rallying history.
 


Capable of accelerating from a standstill to 100 kph/60 mph in less than five seconds, the 160 mph, seven speed Rallye Raid recently raced across the desert in the United Arab Emirates, covering thousands of miles with no visual landmarks but stayed on course thanks to the aid of an on-board satellite navigation system in incredibly high temperatures.

The Rallye Raid won all seven stages of the FIA Cross Country World Championship in 1997, collecting the Manufacturer's, Driver's and Co-driver's titles and is the fifth year that CitroŽn has triumphed in the Championship.

The Xsara Coupť Groupe A Kit Car has been announced. Powered by a 2,0 litre 16 valve engine developing 280 bhp and a six speed sequential gearbox, this car will be entered into the 1998 Rallye Monte-Carlo and will spearhead the factory's attempt to win the French Rally Championship.


CitroŽn Spain is entering a Xsara Kit Car in the Spanish Championship.

CitroŽn Belgium in association with Loca Rallye are entering a Saxo Kit Car driven by Pascal Gaban in the Belgian Championship.

CitroŽn Portugal will take part in ten Portugese Championship Rallies with a Saxo Kit Car.

Two Xsara Kit Cars and one Saxo Kit Car will defend the marque's colours in all eleven rounds of the French Rally Championship.

Sylvain Poulard, driver with CitroŽn Ouest Compťtition and twice French Rallycross Champion will be aiming for a third title. 

Marc Amourette, winner of the 1997 Saxo Rallycross Championship will be competing in the French Rallycross Championship in a Saxo Kit Car loaned to him by CitroŽn Sport Tourism Division.

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The Saxo Cup Rally and Ice and Rallycross promotional formulae are set to continue in 1998. The Saxo Kit Car Trophy replaces the ZX Trophy.

The Saxo Kit Car sells for FF250 000 and offers 200 bhp and a six speed gearbox. It is aimed at young drivers seeking a cost effective entrance into rallying. A Saxo Kit Car, driven by Patrick Magaud and Michel Perin stormed to first place in the 1300 to 1600 cc class at the beginning of May 1997 in the Corsican Rally.

© 1997 Julian Marsh