AUTOSPORT Awards: Citroen DS3 WRC wins Rally Car of the Year
|By Sam Tremayne||Sunday, December 2nd 2012, 22:58 GMT|
Citroen's DS3 WRC has been named Rally Car of the Year at the AUTOSPORT Awards in London.
The French machine, which carried Sebastien Loeb to a record ninth straight World Rally Championship title this year, dismissed WRC rivals Ford and Mini to win the award.
It is the fourth time in the last five years that a Citroen creation has won the prize; the only exception coming last year when the Mini WRC scooped the award.
Citroen World Rally Team manager Yves Matton accepted the award from eight-time Le Mans 24 Hours winner Tom Kristensen.
"For sure it has been a great era with a great driver, but we also have a great team," Matton said.
"It will be pretty different [without Loeb] but he will be there next year and he will still help us I hope."
Click here for AUTOSPORT's 2012 World Rally Championship season review
Asked whether Robert Kubica could have a future at the team following impressive outings in the Rally di Como and Rallye du Var, Matton added: "Kubica for sure showed he is able to do a great job, we will have discussions..."
Though Citroen's affiliation with rallying stretches back far further, its current stint in the WRC on a factory basis began in 1998 using the Formula 2 class Xsara kit car on asphalt events.
The policy continued in 1999, with Philippe Bugalski earning Citroen victories in Catalunya and Corsica. The team then introduced the Xsara T4 WRC in selected events in 2001 - the same year in which Loeb made his debut in a WRC car, finishing second.
Citroen's first full season came in 2003, and it brought instant success as it won the manufacturers' championship and Loeb finished runner-up to Petter Solberg.
The Frenchman would go one better in 2004, storming to his first drivers' title. Citroen once again won the manufacturers' crown, laying down the foundation for nine years of unparalleled success.
This year Citroen signed Mikko Hirvonen to partner Loeb. Loeb was not to be denied, cruising to a record ninth straight title and winning nine times along the way. With Hirvonen finishing runner-up, Citroen also locked out the manufacturers' championship in emphatic fashion.