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The DS in Motor Sport Part One

The DS may seem like an unlikely rally car - it was too big, too heavy, not fast enough, too complicated, unreliable - or so logic would imply. Conventional logic does not always apply to Citroëns however and the DS and ID proved to be formidable opponents - especially when the going got rough. They excelled on poor terrain, beating much more powerful competition and thereby proving that the vehicle was robust and reliable. Drivers seemed divided in their choice between manual and hydraulic cars - many claimed the hydraulic shift was faster than the manual. 

The DS' first outing was in the Monte Carlo Rally in January 1956 when a car driven by Courtes & Court de Payan achieved a first in its class. 

In 1959, an ID 19 driven by Paul Coltelloni won the Monte Carlo. Coltelloni also won the European Rally Championship that same year. 

Click here for more pictures of Coltelloni's car.

1960 saw Dussert & Rouet win the Critérium Neige et Glace in a DS 19, Trautmann & Verrier won the Tulip Rally in an ID 19 and later that year they won the Tour de Belgique, again in an ID 19. Trautmann & Ogier won the Critérium de Cervennes in an ID 19 while Claudine Vanson & Ginette Derolland won the ladies team prize in an ID 19. Vanson also went on to win the Coupe des Dames du Tour de Corse and the French women's championship. 

1961 was the beginning of the Grandes Années for Citroën in rallying - Bianchi & Harris winning the Liège - Sofia - Liège Marathon in a DS 19 and then being one of only 2 cars (the other also being a DS 19 driven by Trautmann & Ogier) to finish the Tour de Corse under blizzard conditions. Again, Claudine Vanson won the Coupe des Dames and the new Championne de France in her ID 19 while René Trautmann won the European Rally Trophy. A future star in the Citroën rally world, Robert Neyret, made his debut in an ID 19, winning in his class in the Acropolis Rally. 

1962 saw Citroën repeat its success with Toivonen winning the Scandinavian Rally Championship, their cars winning places of honour in the Routes du Nord, Critérium Neige et Glace, Critérium International Alpin, Acropolis Rally, Coupe des Alpes, German Rally, Critérium des Cévennes and the Liège - Sofia - Liège Marathon. Claudine Bouchet won the French Ladies Championship. 

1963 was the year that Citroën totally dominated rallying -  the Monte Carlo - 2nd place - Toivonen, 4th place - Bianchi & Ogier, 5th place - Neyret & Terramorsi, 7th place - De Lageneste & Dugenestoux, 10th place - Verrier & Alexandre. Citroën, with five placings in the top ten won the Constructor's Cup needless to say. Not content with that, the invincible Citroëns went on to win in the Rallye Lyon - Charbonnières, the Liège - Sofia - Liège Marathon, the Coupe des Alpes, Routes du Nord, Tour de Corse and Rallye du Mont Blanc. Lucien Bianchi was the Belgian Rally Champion while Trautmann won the French Championship. Claudine Bouchet won the French Ladies Championship for the 4th time.

1964 saw the DS reign supreme in the Liège - Sofia - Liège Marathon, Critérium Neige et Glace, and the Acropolis Rally. Once again, Lucien Bianchi won the Belgian Rally Championship and Claudine Bouchet won the French Ladies Championship. 

1965 was the year when Citroën took to rallying outside Europe - in the East African Safari, out of 85 vehicles at the start only 16 finished; 5 of which were Citroën DS 19s.

The 1966 Monte Carlo was won by Toivonen & Mikander in a DS 21 and Lucette Pointet won the Ladies Cup. 

Also in a DS 21, Lucien Bianchi won the Critérium Neige et Glace, the Coupe des Alpes and the Tour de Corse. 

In 1967 Neyret and Terramorsi won the Monte Carlo in a DS 21.

The moral winner of the 1968 London to Sydney Marathon was Lucien Bianchi in his DS 21. After 15,000km across Europe, Asia and Australia, he was a day ahead of Andrew Cowan in a Hillman Hunter; 50 km/30 miles outside Sydney he was involved in a collision and wrote the car off. His victory had already been announced. Cowan went on to win.

1969 was the year Neyret & Terramorsi won the notoriously difficult Rallye du Maroc in a shortened DS Coupé ahead of the DS 21s of Verrier & Murac and Ogier & Veron. The Constructors Cup was won by Citroën. The Portuguese TAP rally was won by Romoazinho & Jocames in a DS 21.

In 1970, Neyret & Terramorsi won the Rallye du Maroc ahead of Consten & Todt, also in a DS 21. Verrier in a DS 21 Injection won the Ronde Hivernale de Chamonix ahead of Neyret

1971 saw the DS up against its more powerful stablemate, the SM. Driven by Deschasseaux & Plassard, the SM won the Rallye du Maroc with the DS 21s of Consten & Motte and Neyret & Terramorsi being beaten into 3rd and 4th places respectively. The driving force behind Citroën's Service Compétitons since 1960, René Cotton died in July and was succeeded as Director by his wife Marlène.

Despite the loss of one of his wheels, Waldegaard in a DS 21 Coupé achieved 2nd place in the Ronde Hivernale de Chamonix in 1972. Neyret & Terramorsi were placed joint second with Ponelle & De Serpos (both in DS 21s) in the Rallye du Maroc. In the Portugese Rally, the TAP DS unfortunately failed to finish - the official reason was an electrical problem though it has been suggested that the real problem was suspension-related. 

In 1973, Citroën won the Constructors Cup for the 3rd time when the new DS 23s driven by Neyret & Terramorsi, Bochnicek & Kermayer and Ponnelle & De Serpos were placed 2nd, 3rd and 4th respectively in Rallye du Maroc. 

Also in 1973 the DS 21 of Romaozhino & Bernardo was placed 1st in the Tourism Class and 3rd overall in the TAP rally. The Tourism Class of the Acropolis Rally was won by Bochnicek & Kermayer in a DS 23.

Due to its parlous financial state, Citroën reduced its involvement in motor sport in 1974 but the Australian team of Welinski, Tubman & Reddiex won the World Cup Wembley to Munich rally in a DS 23. 

The DS's final victory was in 1975 when Deschasseaux & Plassard were placed 4th overall in the Rallye du Maroc and 1st in the Tourism Class. The CX was to take up the mantle the same year in the Rallye Côte d'Ivoire - Côte d'Azur - but that's another story.

The Citroën DS Coupés
© 1996 - 1998 Julian Marsh