Behind the wheel of the rally-spec Citroen C4 

If you had 600bhp you’d probably want some seriously smooth tarmac, and some decent run-off. A nice straight runway for example. But for rallycross drivers they not only get 600bhp and 900lb ft of torque, they also have to get it all down on smooth hard stuff and then very rough slippery stuff. Switching between surfaces is a challenge in itself, before you add in a horde of super-competitive drivers who don’t mind having a close look at your door handle.

Welcome to the world of rallycross. And, frankly, you’d be very welcome to it if it meant more than spectating. But that wasn’t enough for our man Matt Prior, he had to get behind the wheel.

The wheel in question was attached to the Citroen C4 that is normally driven by Nathan Heathcote in the British Rallycross Championship. The team is run by Liam and Pat Doran, big, big names in rallycross. With that much horsepower powering through the six-speed sequential gearbox to all four wheels, it’s a real beast of a thing.

So, where to test it? The sensible place seemed to be Lydden Hill in Kent, which not only hosts two rounds of this year’s British Rallycross Championship, it also hosts a round of the World Rallycross Championship.

You’ll get a rough idea if you watch the video of how hard it is to drive one of these cars fast, particularly when your windscreen is full of dust from the car in front. It’s fast, furious and frankly bonkers. 

 

 

Which is why rallycross is really on a roll these days, with big crowds, huge speeds and excitement and the sort of connection between drivers and fans – who are close to the action – that you just won’t see in Formula One or some other racing series these days. Buckle up and press Play. Try not to spill your tea.

Graham Scott is a writer for AutoCar.

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