Peugeot tests new 307 car

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src=' ' class='caption'> Peugeot have been testing their new 307 WRC car ahead of the 2004 season opener, the Rally of Monte Carlo, which begins on January 23rd.

Updated: February 25, 2007 10:05 IST
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San Remo:

The Rally of Monte Carlo kicks off the 2004 WRC season on January 23rd. The teams have been putting the final touches to their preparations - among them Peugeot, who are launching a brand new car, the 307 WRC, to succeed the phenomenally successful 206. The 206 won a hat-trick of manufacturer's titles between 2000 and 2002, and also gave Marcus Gronholm two drivers' crowns over that period. Testing ground Freddy Loix and co-driver Sven Smeets have been giving the 307 some throttle on the asphalt roads around San Remo in Italy over the past few days. Loix, of Belgium, Finns Gronholm and Harri Rovanpera and Frenchman Gilles Panizzi will be Peugeot's full-time drivers over the coming year, with Briton Richard Burns absent for the season whilst he receives treatment for a brain tumor. Both Loix and Gronholm have tested the 307 to good effect - though Loix says that the team still have a little way to go to be ready for Monte Carlo. "We've been working quite a lot the last few months, and we have been doing a lot of testing on tarmac - but also on snow for Sweden and Monte Carlo. We are not there yet, but it's looking good," said Loix Hopes for victory Peugeot lost both the drivers' and manufacturers' titles last season to Subaru's Petter Solberg and Citroen respectively. But the French team have spent the last year developing the 307 car and have pushed it to rally standard faster than expected in the hope that it can provide the key to championship victory in the coming season. "It's a completely different car in the way that the 307 has a little bit longer wheel base - so it's also much more progressive, and it's also a completely new engine, new transmission. So it's a completely new car," added Loix. Individually, too, 2004 looks to be a hugely exciting year for Loix. The 33-year-old Belgian - one of the most popular drivers on the circuit – moved to Peugeot from Hyundai last year. He is hoping the switch will finally give him the chance to prove his ability. (AP)

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