Citroën Visa Trophée / Chrono / Mille Pistes (Group B)

Published on: Jan 18, 2016 @ 16:43
Originally Published in: 2014 (old website)
(C) Jay Auger - website owner & author
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Launched in 1981 under prototype rules (Group 5), the Visa Trophée was to be Citroën Compétitions‘ bid in rallying competition to help promote the image of the Visa as being a tough and reliable car aimed towards the female market. In 1982, when Group B was implemented to replace Group 4, Citroën was the very first manufacturer to homologate their machine in the new category.


HISTORY (summary)


While the fire-breathing Group B/12 supercars gathered most of the attention and are responsible for the legendary fame behind Group B, they actually are but a very small portion of the cars that got homologated over the Golden Era‘s history. In fact, some lesser Group B classes actually were of lower performance than Group A cars. It is a common oversight to forget the more humble B9-10-11 classes that provided the low-powered, cheap to buy, entry level cars with the same liberties for improvement as the B/12 “top dogs”.

The Visa Trophée was designed specifically for the entry-level rally car market such as privateers and dealership teams. Based on the production Visa GT, the cars were built by French firm Heuliez, and subsequently shipped to Citroën Competitions to be prepped as rally cars. Per the Group B engine displacement regulations, the Visa Trophée would compete in the lowest B/9 class for engines under 1300 cc. In France, the car was also heavily marketed towards women in hopes of luring them into the world of competitive rallying.


By the end of 1982, Citroën updated the Visa rally car with the “Chrono” evolution (ET). It sported a larger displacement engine (1360 cc) and minor exterior changes, shifting the car into the B/10 class. Only 20 of these cars were built to satisfy evolution homologation; 12 were reserved for Citroën Competitions, the remaining 8 were offered to the most successful privateers who had run Visa Trophées in the previous year of the French Rally Championship.


Encouraged by their good results with the front-wheel drive rally Visas, Citroën Competitions wanted to up the ante with yet another more evolved version. At the time, Citroën was very busy developing their top tier Group B contender, the BX 4TC, so they entrusted the primary development of the future Visa entry-level rally car via a design contest between various engineering firms.

Visa 1000 Pistes – technical view

Between 1981 and 1983, multiple prototype variations of the Visa were built and tested (click on the link for more details on those). Citroën set out their chosen prototypes to the 1983 Mille Pistes Rally for final review. The winner ended up being prototype #202 code-named “4×4 M”: a four-wheel drive design of the firm Denis Mathiot Compétition (DMC).  It is note to mention that, in the event, the car was able to beat the 205 Turbo 16 in “clubman-spec” (PTS kit) that was entered by Peugeot in the same prototype category.

To celebrate the achievement, the Visa winner was renamed the “Mille-Pistes”. 200 cars were subsequently produced to officially homologate the car into Group B (B/10) on March 1st of 1984. In recompense, Mathiot (DMC) would get the contract of building the twenty evolution (ET) cars at Citroën.

The Visa Mille Pistes had a bit of a hard time competing in tarmac rallies since the car’s basic four-wheel drive system didn’t include a centre differential. However, it felt much more at home on slippery surfaces and was the definitive car to beat in its class.

All Visa Group B cars were not included into the infamous 1986 Group B ban, which was only for the B/11 & B/12 classes, and were allowed to continue on competing up until the expiration of their respective homologation. The Mille Pistes in particular often would give the finest crop of Group A cars a run for their money early on.

***This article is only a quick excerpt / please come back later for page expansion***


(Visa Trophée = T / Visa Chrono = C / Visa Mille Pistes = M)

  • B/9 (T)
  • B/10 (C-M)
Homologation number:

Years active
  • 1981~83 (T)
  • 1982~84 (C)
  • 1984~89 (M)
 Homologation start:

  • January 1st 1982 (T)
  • October 1st 1982 (C)
  • March 1st 1984 (M)

Homologation end:

  • December 31st 1987 (T,C)
  • December 31st 1989 (M)
Type I-4, SOHC 8v, gas front, transverse
  • 1219~1299 cc (T)
  • 1360 cc (C)
  • 1434 cc (M)
 WRC: no change (all)
Compression ratio
  • 10.1:1 (T-C)
  • 10.8:1 (M)
Output power – torque
  • 115 HP @ 6800 rpm (T)
  • 140 HP @ 6500 rpm (C)
  • 145 HP @ 6500 rpm (M)
  • 90 lb-ft @ 4400 rpm (T)
  • 97 lb-ft @ 4500 rpm (C)
  • 110 lb-ft @ 5500 rpm (M)
Materials block: aluminium (M) cylinder head: aluminium (M)
  • Normal / Natural
  • 2 x 35mm Solex PHH carburettors (T-C)
  • 2 x Weber 45 DCOE carburettors (M)
Ignition N/A
Cooling system water-cooled
Lubrication system N/A N/A
  • front-wheel drive (T-C)
  • four-wheel drive (M)
  • 5-speed manual (T-C)
  • BV5 type 5-speed (M)
Gearbox ratios N/A N/A
Differential ratios N/A
  • N/A (T-C)
  • Cast aluminium housings with 20% self locking rear differential (M)
Clutch N/A
Type Visa GT steel monocoque chassis with roll cage, widened wheel arches, polycarbonate side and rear windows
Front suspension struts, coil springs
Rear suspension struts, coil springs, independent (M)
Steering system N/A N/A
  • N/A (T-C)
  • 4-wheel disc brake system (M)
Dual-circuit (M)
length: 3690 mm (145.3 in) width: 1530 mm (60.2 in) height: 1410 mm (55.5 in)
wheelbase: 2436 mm (95.9 in) front track: 1330 mm (51.2 in) rear track: 1320 mm (52.0 in)
Rims – tires
  • N/A
  • N/A
Dry/Unladen Weight
  • 750 kg (1655 lb) (T-C)
  • 810 kg (1785 lb) (M)
Weight/power N/A
Fuel tank 55 litres (M)



Built in late 1981, the Visa Thophée was produced at 200 examples to satisfy the Group B regulations and was the very first car officially homologated into the new category (# B-200). All of the road cars were built by Carrosserie Heuliez.

homologation run of the Visa Trophée

Sporting a 1219 cc engine and light weight polymer panels, the Visa Trophée was a small, peppy car perfect for blazing away in the French countryside.


Presented to the public in the spring of 1982, the Chrono sported a larger 1360 cc engine, upscale dashboard, lightweight wheels, riveted extended wheel arches, sportier bodywork, and special graphics. Only 20 of these cars were actually built with the new engine to satisfy the “evolution” Group B homologation requirement. However, Citroën would offer the appearance package to the public with the “Chrono II” series. A total of 3810 of these specially-trimmed cars were produced over a two year period.


The Mille Pistes, originally engineered by Denis Mathiot Compétitions, was Citroën’s first attempt at a four-wheel drive rally homologation vehicle. As were the other rally-inspired Visas it was based on the GT chassis but was much modified underneath the skin.

A limited production of 200 cars was made to homologate the car for Group B competition. It can be easily differentiated from the other Visa models by the “X”  in between the “Citroën chevrons” on the front grille.

The car was quite difficult to handle in tight spaces since it didn’t sport a centre differential. As such, a button was placed on the dashboard to disconnect the read axle and allow for easier parking manoeuvres. This made the Mille Pistes not quite the ideal city car but it could humble more powerful and sportier cars on the dusty back roads.


Please CLICK HERE for the specifications of these cars.



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 Group B – The rise and fall of rallying’s wildest cars (English)

Gruppe B Gruppe B – Aufstieg und Fall der Rallye-Monster (German)

(C) Article by Jay Auger – website owner, main author & chief editor

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