From Chris Biewer [ 25/09/2001 ].
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The Frankfurt Motorshow is one of the biggest motor shows worldwide. The exhibition finished last Sunday (23rd September) and there was a huge selection of new road cars, prototypes and motorsport vehicles on show. Wrc-online is to present to you in a series of articles, what was presented by our WRC manufacturers. As well, there were some other makes with interesting cars and prototypes with more or less relevance to the WRC. Here we have a look at a selection of these now, starting with the “wrong end” from a WRC point of view
Toyota celebrates 2 potential reasons for the cancellation of their WRC engagement a couple of years ago. They launched here their new Corolla, putting effectively the product their WRCar was based on out off date. As well, Toyota’s new for 2002 F1 car is on display, now in full sponsorship layout.
Toyota's F1 car
MG Rover in contrast is a manufacturer who is enthusiastic about returning into several motorsport formulas. However while they can not display their new MG ZS touring car nor the MG ZR Super 1600 rally car, they present a rather nice and convincing high performance road car: an MG ZT XPower with a 4.6 V8 engine producing some 385BHP!
Talking of Super 1600 rally cars, for some reason neither VW nor Vauxhall/Opel show their supposed Super 1600 rally projects, nor anything connected to rallying, for some reason. At least Vauxhall/Opel gives a taste of the “Signum”, which apparently is very much on the lines the future Vectra and Omega will be on - hmm, not sure about that.
But indeed, there is one new Super 1600 car it seemed to turn rather quiet about and people started forgetting about: The Suzuki Ignis! Here it is in all its pride! Interestingly Suzuki claims they have been very successful with it in the first 2 rounds of the new Super 1600 series. Then they name one of these being the Canberra Rally?! Either Suzuki or we are confused but at least we now have proof of the car’s existence and maybe we will see it in action at some point.
Suzuki Ignis Super 1600
Citroen offers a rather interesting show. It is announced that Citroen has started a small partnership with Saarland county tuning firm “Carlsson”. Interestingly the name indeed is connected to former Mercedes and Mazda WRC works driver Ingvar Carlsson and the first result of that partnership is a luxury performance version of the Citroen C5 estate with modified interior and a modified 3.0 V6 engine.
Citroen-Carlsson C5 Estate
Another highlight at Citroen is the launch of the new C3. Similar name to the C5 but - so the critics say - far more typical Citroen style! The C3 is the replacement of the current Saxo in next spring and it should be interesting to see if there will be a C3 Super 1600 car maybe for 2003?
A rather unusual looking thing is a prototype Citroen that was also present. It is a van or MPV type vehicle with an extended glass roof creating a variable boot and open top. The vehicle contains loads of future gimmicks. More interestingly for the motorsport minded audience: Since fly-by-wire operated accelerators have already made their way into Peugeot and Citroen road cars, on this van everything is fly-by-wire, even the steering wheel. As a result of this the steering wheel with accelerator, brake, clutch, gears and all dials could be mounted on a rail, the car has 3 seats in the front and as you please within seconds you can convert the car between right/left hand drive or even the driver sitting in the middle.
Than of course there was a Xsara WRC on display, the very car that won Rallye Deutschland and still in that very layout with the start numbers etc..
Citroen Xsara WRC
Last (but not least?) we discovered the previously discussed Lada rally car. It is a 2000cc front wheel drive car called the “21110” and is successfully used in the Russian rally and touring car scene. With features like the wings and a sidepipe exhaust, it doesn’t really look as silly as one might have expected from Lada.
Lada's Rally Car