A few days after their success in New-Zealand, Citroën and Sébastien Loeb headed for California to take part in the « 2012 Summer X-Games » in Los Angeles. An excellent opportunity to discover the brand new DS3 « XL »!
American reference competition in terms of extreme sports, the X-Games welcomed for the first time the French car maker, Rally France-Alsace 2012’s official partner, and its favorite driver. It’s by driving a Citroën DS3 that Sébastien Loeb took the departure to confront Rallycross’ best drivers, among whom Marcus Grönholm and Travis Pastrana.
However, numerous modifications have been brought to the usual car used in WRC. Based on a car built by Hansen Motorsport, the seven-time World Rally Championship-winning team has developed, with 545hp under the hood, an acceleration that isn’t far off that of an F1 car, covering 0 to 100kph in 2.4 seconds. Hence, the denomination « DS3 XL ». Compared with a standard rally car, the lack of co-driver and spare wheels means the engineers were required to rework the weight distribution. As a consequence, the water radiator has been moved into the boot, while cooling vents in the rear wings were added. An alteration designed to achieve improved performance at the start, which is the most crucial phase in Rallycross.
As it happened, after a perfect start, Sébastien Loeb moved to the front and immediately built up a small lead. The race was interrupted, however, on lap two due to collision which blocked the track. Frustration was beginning to show among the drivers, several of whom then jumped the restart. The final was therefore started for the third time and the Citroën driver – calm and collected as ever – rocketed out front for the ‘holeshot’ again. After quickly establishing a lead of a few seconds over Ken Block, Sébastien Loeb could relax at the front when the American was hit by a puncture. He coasted to victory, winning a well-deserved gold medal. No doubt that he will be as motivated to repeat such a performance for all his fans during the next Rally France-Alsace!