Citroen C3 WRC concept shows why we love rally cars

And hot hatches. Look out Ford Fiesta ST.

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Citroën Racing is returning to the FIA World Rally Championship from its year-long hiatus with a new car, which the automaker revealed in concept guise Tuesday. The Citroën Racing C3 WRC concept will be on display at the Paris Motor Show and it's very close to what the 2017 WRC entry will look like. It could also pave the way for a future Citroën hot hatch.

The C3 WRC concept is based off the new C3 hatchback. The vehicle, in typical rally fashion, is larger than the standard road car at roughly 6.2 feet wide and 13.6 feet long. Compared to last year's WRC car, the concept is two inches longer, which is the result of a front splitter and an enormous rear wing that meets the championship's less restrictive aerodynamic requirements. That makes the rally car nearly as long and just as wide as a Land Rover Range Rover Evoque.

The concept features a 1.6-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine that puts out 380 horsepower. The rally vehicle is approximately four times as powerful as Citroën's most potent road-going C3 and packs 80 more horsepower than the 2015 rally car. The engine has less weight to push around, as the vehicle drops roughly 55 pounds from the previous rally car. While Citroën hasn't transferred its success in rallying to its road cars, that could change with the C3 WRC concept, which could be used as inspiration for a Ford Fiesta ST rival. The competition model is expected to make its WRC debut at the Monte Carly Rally in January 2017.

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